NCAA Brackets 2013: Updated Predictions for Biggest Early-Round Disappointments
Now that the field of 64 is officially set, the NCAA tournament can get to the good stuff.
With Wednesday's results having come and gone, the focus for the Big Dance can shift to the upsets that make the tournament the spectacle that it is. The entertainment of the tourney doesn't necessarily come from watching all of the big teams romping through the competition en route to the Final Four.
The drama and fun is a result of seeing the higher seeds and favorites all felled in the early rounds. It's going to be hard for the tournament to match the unpredictability of the regular season but fans can be guaranteed to see plenty of upsets.
When looking at possible contenders for a run to the later rounds, you can count the following three teams out.
The Arizona Wildcats have every reason to feel the selection committee did them no favors this year.
Arizona's first game is against a Belmont Bruins team that shot 49.4 percent from the field. That was good enough for fourth in the country. The Bruins also averaged 77.2 points a game, which was 15th. Belmont also has Ian Clark, who was a scintillating 46.3 percent from behind the three-point line.
That's not good for a Wildcats team that allowed its opponents to shoot 41.5 percent from the field and 33.0 percent from three-point range.
Should the Wildcats get past Belmont, they would likely be facing a very good New Mexico team.
Steve Alford has that team playing solid defense and getting to the line quite frequently. The Lobos made the fifth-most free throws in the country while also attempting the seventh-most. Many are predicting big things from New Mexico, and it's easy to see why. Unfortunately, that comes at the cost of Arizona, who deserved to be dealt a much better hand in this year's seeding.
The adage defense wins championships is not only applicable to football.
Defense has been a major problem for the Michigan Wolverines. The team is allowing the opposition to shoot 41.9 percent from the field, which 131st in the nation.
Offense won't be a major problem considering the Wolverines can rely on scorers like Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. If Michigan can't stop the opposing team, though, Burke and Hardaway's performances could all be for naught.
A poor defense would play right into the hands of the South Dakota State Jackrabbits, who rely heavily on Nate Wolters. He's a fantastic shooter who could really hurt the Wolverines. An upset there is very unlikely, but Michigan would be equally ill-equipped to possibly handle Shaka Smart and his fast-paced Virginia Commonwealth Rams.
John Beilein is really gonna have to get his players to perform on the defensive end of the floor if they're going to make a deep run. If the season has been any indicator, the Wolverines just don't have it in them.
Much of the Florida Gators offense comes from Kenny Boynton. That's not a problem when he's shooting well; however, it's a major problem when he puts up a high volume of bad shots. He's only averaging 39.5 percent from the the field.
The problem was never more evident than in the SEC tournament loss to the Ole Miss Rebels.
Boynton started very well in the first half, as did much of the Gators en route to a 38-26 lead at the half. Florida went cold in the second half, and much was down to Boyton's poor shot selection. The Gators only finished 22-of-59 from the floor, including 11-of-31 from behind the arc.
Florida has had a very good defense all season, and that will be a huge boost in the tournament. It won't mean anything if the Gators don't make the most of their possessions. The UCLA Bruins or Minnesota Golden Gophers would both be tough opposition.
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