NCAA Brackets 2013: Underdogs That Will Advance to Sweet 16

Michael DulkaContributor IMarch 20, 2013

March 16, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Oregon Ducks center Tony Woods (55) shoots against the UCLA Bruins during the first half of the championship game of the Pac 12 tournament at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Filling out NCAA Brackets in 2013 is a tougher task than in previous seasons. The amount of parity in college basketball has made it extremely difficult to make picks in the later rounds of the tournament. 

Entering the tournament, there aren't many teams that are locks to make the Sweet 16. 

In a year filled with major upsets and top teams falling weekly, there will definitely be underdogs that advance to the Regional Semifinals. 


No. 12 Oregon Ducks

The Ducks receiving a No. 12 seed is highly questionable after they won the Pac-12 tournament. Not only did they earn glory in the conference postseason, they were in prime position, before two losses, to win the regular-season crown as well. While the Pac-12 is a weak league, the Ducks were severely underrated by the selection committee. 

With Oklahoma State in the round of 64 and a possible matchup against St. Louis looming in the next round, the Ducks certainly have their work cut out for them.

Their overall level of experience should give them a leg up. Head coach Dana Altman has a career record of 481-279 with eight NCAA tournament appearances. He will certain have his team ready to go. Four of Oregon's top-five scorers are seniors: E.J. Singler, Carlos Emory, Tony Woods and Arsalan Kazemi. Contributing an average of 57.5 percent of Oregon's scoring output per game, those guys will help to keep the team composed.


No. 11 Belmont Bruins

The Bruins got a good matchup in the first round, playing against the Arizona Wildcats. They are a good three-point shooting team and Arizona struggled all year to defend the deep ball.

Senior guard Ian Clark leads the charge, shooting a remarkable 46.3 percent from downtown. Averaging 18.1 points per game, Clark has the potential to take over games and be one of the best stories in the tournament. In eight games this season, Clark has hit five or more three-pointers. 

The biggest issue for the Bruins is their lack of size. With only one player over 6'7", the Bruins need to shoot lights out to counter their diminutive nature. Luckily, they have the shooters to do so. 


No. 7 Creighton Bluejays

To get into the Sweet 16, the Creighton Bluejays will have to beat Cincinnati and the vaunted Duke Blue Devils. It's a tough task for the Missouri Valley champs, but if they can continue their impressive shooting, they have a great chance to do so. 

Entering the tournament, the Bluejays lead the nation in field-goal percentage, shooting 50.8 percent from the floor.

In the Missouri Valley championship, the Bluejays torched Wichita State, knocking down 11-of-24 shots from three-point land. Junior forward Ethan Wragge was extremely productive off the bench, hitting 5-of-9 threes for 15 points in just 16 minutes of action. 

It will take that kind of shooting performance to knock down two strong opponents, but the Bluejays have proven they are capable of getting incredibly hot. 


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