Throughout the college basketball season, you have seen plenty of action in the major conferences. In the first couple of rounds of the NCAA tournament, make sure you do not miss the smaller schools.
While there are plenty of mid-majors who will make decent runs in the Big Dance, the Round of 64 could be the last chance for you to see a player like South Dakota State's Nate Wolters or Iona's Lamont Jones.
A few squads will certainly surprise people when they realize how talented they really are. Here are the best non-power conference teams with information on how to watch them.
No. 1 Gonzaga
First Game: March 21 at 4:10 p.m. ET vs. No. 16 Southern
When Gonzaga was selected as the No. 1 seed in the West region, there were a lot of people questioning the committee's decision. Sure, the Bulldogs built up a 31-2 record, but who did they beat?
In reality, Gonzaga has a bunch of good wins including a 5-0 mark against the Big 12. That conference's co-regular season champions, Kansas State, lost by 16 on a neutral floor against Mark Few's squad.
Kelly Olynyk is one of the best players in the country, averaging 17.5 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. He also made 34.6 percent of his three-point shots this year, not bad for a seven-footer.
With Elias Harris and Kevin Pangos providing help inside and out, this team should go far in the NCAA tournament.
No. 3 New Mexico
First Game: March 21 at 9:50 p.m. ET vs. No. 14 Harvard
The Mountain West conference raised its profile this season with some big non-conference wins and ended up getting five of its nine teams into the NCAA tournament.
Now it is time for the entire conference to prove its merit on a national stage.
New Mexico proved throughout the season that it is the best team in the conference, winning both the regular season and tournament titles. The success is based on a smothering defense that prevents even good teams from getting easy shots off.
Offensively, the Lobos have had some inconsistency, but Kendall Williams does a good job running the show as the leader in points and assists per game.
With a relatively open region, this team could have a nice run to the Elite Eight or Final Four.
No. 4 Saint Louis
First Game: March 21 at 2:10 p.m. ET vs. No. 13 New Mexico State
Most people who want to talk about the strength of the Atlantic 10 this season discuss either VCU or Butler. While these two teams have had success in the NCAA tournament in the past, Saint Louis is the class of the conference.
The Billikens have beaten those two teams a combined five times as part of a streak of 15 wins in the last 16 games.
This is a very veteran squad with good balance offensively. Five players average at least nine points per game, and Jordair Jett is not far behind at 9.1 per game.
Of course, a bracket that could feature games against Oklahoma State and possibly Louisville will make advancing very difficult. However, this is a team that could definitely surprise people over the next couple of weeks.
No. 5 VCU
First Game: March 21 at 9:45 p.m. ET vs. No. 12 Akron
With the exception of top-overall seed Louisville, no one runs a better full-court press than VCU.
The Rams lead the nation in forced turnovers, and that theme is certain to continue in the NCAA tournament against groups that have never seen this type of pressure before.
In the first round, VCU is fortunate to face a team without its starting point guard. Akron's Alex Abreu was suspended after being arrested for drugs, according to Jeff Borzello of CBS Sports.
Things will get tougher in the next round, which will likely be against Michigan and then possibly Kansas. However, Shaka Smart has led his team to the Final Four as a No. 11 seed in the past. Do not be surprised if he can do it again as a No. 5 seed.
2013 NCAA Tournament Second Round (Round of 64) Dates, Times, TV Schedule
Notes: Times and networks subject to trade/change. All times are approximate, Eastern Standard and P.M., unless otherwise noted. Information on matchups via The Washington Post
|Mar. 21||(14) Valparaiso vs. (3) Michigan St.||12:15||CBS|
|Mar. 21||(11) Bucknell vs. (6) Butler||12:40||truTV|
|Mar. 21||(9) Wichita St. vs. (8) Pittsburgh||1:40||TBS|
|Mar. 21||(13) New Mexico St. vs. (4) Saint Louis||2:10||TNT|
|Mar. 21||(6) Memphis vs. (11) MTSU/SMU||2:45||CBS|
|Mar. 21||(14) Davidson vs. (3) Marquette||3:10||truTV|
|Mar. 21||(16) Southern vs. (1) Gonzaga||4:10||TBS|
|Mar. 21||(12) Oregon vs. (5) Oklahoma St.||4:40||TNT|
|Mar. 21||(16) NC A&T/Lib. vs. (1) Louisville||6:50||TBS|
|Mar. 21||(13) South Dakota St. vs (4) Michigan||7:15||CBS|
|Mar. 21||(11) Belmont vs. (6) Arizona||7:20||TNT|
|Mar. 21||(12) California vs. (5) UNLV||7:27||truTV|
|Mar. 21||(9) Missouri vs. (8) Colorado St.||9:20||TBS|
|Mar. 21||(12) Akron vs. (5) VCU||9:45||CBS|
|Mar. 21||(14) Harvard vs. (3) New Mexico||9:50||TNT|
|Mar. 21||(13) Montana vs. (4) Syracuse||9:57||truTV|
|Mar. 22||(15) Albany (NY) vs. (2) Duke||12:15||CBS|
|Mar. 22||(12) Ole Miss vs. (5) Wisconsin||12:40||truTV|
|Mar. 22||(9) Temple vs. (8) North Carolina St.||1:40||TBS|
|Mar. 22||(15) Pacific vs. (2) Miami (FL)||2:10||TNT|
|Mar. 22||(10) Cincinnati vs. (7) Creighton||2:45||CBS|
|Mar. 22||(13) BSU/La Salle vs. (4) Kansas St.||3:10||truTV|
|Mar. 22||(16) LIU-Brooklyn/JMU vs. (1) Indiana||4:10||TBS|
|Mar. 22||(10) Colorado vs. (7) Illinois||4:45||TNT|
|Mar. 22||(15) Florida Gulf Coast vs. (2) Georgetown||6:50||TBS|
|Mar. 22||(15) Iona vs. (2) Ohio State||7:15||CBS|
|Mar. 22||(9) Villanova vs. (8) North Carolina||7:20||TNT|
|Mar. 22||(14) Northwestern St. vs. (3) Florida||7:27||truTV|
|Mar. 22||(10) Oklahoma vs. (7) San Diego St.||9:20||TBS|
|Mar. 22||(10) Iowa State vs. (7) Notre Dame||9:45||CBS|
|Mar. 22||(16) W. Kentucky vs. (1) Kansas||9:50||TNT|
|Mar. 22||(11) Minnesota vs. (6) UCLA||9:57||truTV|
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