NCAA Tournament 2013: Low Seeds Who Should Not Be Taken Lightly

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IMarch 27, 2013

PHILADELPHIA, PA - MARCH 24:  Eric McKnight #12 of the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles celebrates in the second half while taking on the San Diego State Aztecs during the third round of the 2013 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Wells Fargo Center on March 24, 2013 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

March Madness.

It wouldn't be called March Madness if it wasn't mad.

Four of the 16 teams in the Sweet 16 this year are seeded ninth or lower. That includes No. 15 seed Florida Gulf Coast. Each one of these teams has pulled off some memorable victories in the 2013 NCAA tournament, shocking No. 1 and No. 2 seeds in the process.

Here's a look at the low seeds who should not be taken lightly in the Sweet 16 and beyond this year.

All stats via and

Florida Gulf Coast (15)

After defeating No. 2 seed Georgetown and No. 7 seed San Diego State, Florida Gulf Coast became the first No. 15 seed to make it to the Sweet 16 in NCAA tournament history. That alone screams "team of destiny."

But to say something magical occurred for the Eagles would actually be doing a disservice to them. 

Despite playing in the mediocre Atlanta Sun Conference, we can no longer ignore the fact that the Eagles rank 49th in the country in field-goal percentage. They shot 43 percent against a Hoyas team allowing opponents to shoot only 38 percent this season, and they shot a whopping 56 percent against San Diego State in the round of 32.

FGCU does it as a team, too. Sherwood Brown, Bernard Thompson and Chase Fieler all averaged double digits in scoring during the regular season, and five Eagles scored in double digits against San Diego State.

The Eagles are also holding opponents to 40.1 percent shooting in their last three games. They rank 49th in the nation in opponents' turnover rate.

FGCU may face a formidable powerhouse in Florida in the Sweet 16, but nothing would surprise me about this team at this point.


Oregon (12)

Oregon is one of those teams that got hot at just the right time. After the loss to Utah on March 9, the Ducks defeated Washington, Utah and UCLA to win the Pac-12 championship.

And despite ranking 97th in the country in field-goal percentage during the regular season, the Ducks shot 48 percent against UCLA in the Pac-12 championship game and 53 percent against defensive-minded Saint Louis in the round of 32.

Beyond that, Oregon held Oklahoma State and Saint Louis to 40 percent shooting and 38 percent shooting respectively in the NCAA tournament.

The big thing for the Ducks against No. 1 seed Louisville in the Sweet 16 will be limiting their turnovers (ranked 265th in the nation in turnover rate).


Wichita State (9)

Wichita State has gotten to the Sweet 16 by blowing out Pittsburgh and shocking No. 1 seed Gonzaga.

In both games, the Shockers were efficient offensively, whether they were knocking down shots or getting to the free-throw line. For example, while they shot 50 percent in the victory over Gonzaga, they only shot 39 percent against Pittsburgh. But the main reason they scored 73 points against the Panthers was because they shot 41 free throws (making 33 of them).

Also, the Shockers have held opponents to 39.7 percent shooting this season (ranked 38th). That includes holding opponents to 37.3 percent shooting in their last three games.

Yet another case of playing in a mediocre conference meaning nothing.

No disrespect to No. 13 seed La Salle, but I see the Shockers breezing to the Elite Eight.


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