NCAA Brackets 2013: Early Matchups That Are Much More Even Than They Appear
Every year in the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship, there are head scratching upsets that ruin everyone's bracket.
This year will be no different.
There are quite a few games where the favorite will slip up and allow their underdog opponent to make the game a little too close for comfort.
No. 13 Montana (25-6) vs. No. 4 Syracuse (26-9)
Everyone knows how good Syracuse has been historically. In a second round matchup against the Big Sky Conference champion Montana Grizzlies, most people assume the Orange will prevail handily.
Last season, the Wisconsin Badgers nearly ousted the Orange in the Sweet Sixteen, largely because of their incredible shooting. Though they came up just short, losing 64-63, their 58.3 percent shooting nearly stole the game for them.
The Grizzlies are a great shooting team, ranking 23rd in the country in field goal percentage, and 19th in the country in three-point field goal percentage. They have also played against seven or eight teams this year that run a zone defense, so they have a game plan to attack Syracuse's defense. If they are successful, Syracuse might be sent packing very early this year.
No. 14 Northwestern State (23-8) vs. No. 3 Florida (26-7)
Gators fans are probably pretty comfortable in their team's ability to beat the Southland Conference champions, the Northwestern State Demons.
There are several reasons to feel that this matchup will be closer than it seems. One is the fact that Northwestern State has been so great on offense. They are the highest scoring team in the nation, averaging 81.0 points per game. Granted, that is in a weaker conference, but it shows they can put up points.
The most recent team to beat Florida, Ole Miss, was another team that could put up points. The Rebels ranked seventh in the nation in points scored, and went on to upset the Gators in the SEC Championship game, 66-63.
The Gators have also had well documented trouble in close games. Florida is a shocking 0-6 in games decided by six or fewer points. The fact that Northwestern State has been beaten by more than ten points just three times this season means they can keep things tight and makes Florida's inability to win close games that much more disconcerting.
No. 11 Minnesota (20-12) vs. No. 6 UCLA (25-9)
The best thing that the UCLA Bruins have going for them is their offense.
Without second-leading scorer Jordan Adams, who is out for the season, that advantages suddenly changes. They still have leading scorer Shabazz Muhammad, as well as other offensive weapons, but that might not be enough versus the Minnesota defense, which is playing well right now.
In their past five games, the Gophers have held opponents to 51 or fewer points three times. Along with their fantastic rebounding, which ranked 17th in the country over the season, the Gophers have a nice advantage. They should be able to keep the Bruins within their reach, and at the end pull of a nice upset.
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