The possibility of sleeper teams upsetting some of the top teams in the country is what makes March mad, and the 2014 NCAA tournament bracket has set up several sleeper teams with opportunities to knock off quality squads.
Those games are often the most compelling ones of the tournament. You don't want to be the person who misses out on the action, right?
I figured you didn't. Stick to the following schedule to ensure you don't miss even a second of the 2014 NCAA tournament. It's sure to be a good one.
Sleepers to Watch
Despite a seven-game losing streak to end January and begin February, the Oklahoma State Cowboys are a dangerous team. Marcus Smart and Markel Brown both average over 17 points per game, and while Smart leads the offense, Brown uses his fantastic athleticism to make plays and shoot from deep.
When both are playing well, Oklahoma State has a tandem that is hard to contain.
It's impossible to forget about Phil Forte III and Le'Bryan Nash. Nash is a legitimate NBA prospect, and Forte is lights out from deep. Holly Rowe points out an interesting relationship between Forte and Smart, via her Twitter account:
The Cowboys will need to get past Gonzaga in the round of 64 and presumably Arizona in the round of 32 to really make noise. Arizona is one of the best defensive teams in the country, and if any team can limit Oklahoma State's shooters, its the Wildcats.
That being said, I like the Cowboys to make the Final Four. I think they'll get past Arizona and ruin a ton of brackets in the process.
Stephen F. Austin State University
The Stephen F. Austin State University Lumberjacks have won 28-straight games, a winning streak that trails only Wichita State.
The Lumberjacks run a balanced, unselfish offense. While they don't get a ton of recognition, this team can score and distribute. They ranked 45th with 75.6 points per game, and their 16.6 assists per game placed them eighth. Such an unselfish team has the potential for an upset or two in the NCAA tournament.
They'll take on No. 5 VCU in the round of 64. The fact that the Lumberjacks didn't face a ranked opponent once this season might worry some, but this team is efficient enough offensively and solid enough defensively to give VCU problems. Sometimes 12 seeds are the talk of the round of 64, and I wouldn't be surprised if Stephen F. Austin upset VCU.
Desmond Haymon and Jacob Parker are the guys to watch for the Lumberjacks. Together they averaged 28.5 points per game this season. Parker was the more efficient one, entering the tournament with a 54.3 field-goal percentage.
The Lumberjacks will need both upperclassmen to get past VCU.
Harvard is certainly adept at putting the ball in the basket. Five players on the team average double digits in points, and Brandyn Curry checks in at 9.3 per game. Led by Wesley Saunders, the Crimson can score when they need to.
Harvard's defense has also been a strength, as the Crimson ranks 13th in the NCAA in points allowed (60.5) and is ninth in the country in scoring margin (+13.1). Opponents have shot just 40.7 percent from the field and 32 percent from three-point range, both the lowest totals under seventh-year head coach Tommy Amaker.
It's this blend of offense and defense that make the Crimson special. Harvard has the ability to limit shooters and defend well against the other team's best players. Limiting the efforts of opposing stars is usually a formula for success in a tournament where top players often dictate the outcome of close games.
As a No. 12 seed, Harvard will face No. 5 Cincinnati in the round of 64. If the Crimson can get past Cincy, a Sweet 16 berth isn't out of the question.