5 Most Likely Double-Digit Seeds to Make Sweet 16 of NCAA Tournament

Matt SchneidmanContributor IIIMarch 22, 2014

North Dakota State's Taylor Braun celebrates after Thursday's overtime win against Oklahoma
North Dakota State's Taylor Braun celebrates after Thursday's overtime win against OklahomaAssociated Press

An astonishing seven double-digit seeds advanced to the round of 32 on Thursday and Friday.

After a four-point play, a David triumphing over a Goliath and a last-second missed layup, the likes of Stephen F. Austin, Mercer and Dayton lived to play another day.

In one of the most hectic first two days of the NCAA tournament in history, first-round victories have all these teams thinking, "Why can't we be this year's Cinderella?"

And it's a valid question, so here are the five double-digit seeds most likely to win again and make the Sweet 16.


5. Dayton

Unfortunately for the Flyers, it seems like Syracuse is peaking at the right time.

Last year, the Orange stuttered at the end of the regular season and then proceeded to make a Final Four run. After a first-round clobbering of Western Michigan, many think they could be primed for the same.

Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

Trevor Cooney scored 18 points, hitting four three-pointers—the first time he has hit at least four treys since his 33-point outing against Notre Dame on Feb. 2. With Cooney hitting, Syracuse is a much more dangerous team.

But Devin Oliver and Dyshawn Pierre will push the pace and try to make Syracuse speed up its naturally slow tempo. After an upset of Aaron Craft and Ohio State, Dayton has the potential to continue on the upset trail, but it seems somewhat unlikely.


4. Stanford

A Joel Embiid-less Kansas struggled to pull away from 15th-seeded Eastern Kentucky, but Andrew Wiggins and Co. ultimately found a way to get the job done.

Mar 21, 2014; St. Louis, MO, USA;  Stanford Cardinal forward Josh Huestis (24) celebrates at the end of the game against the New Mexico Lobos during the 2nd round of the 2014 NCAA Men's Basketball Championship at Scottrade Center. Stanford defeated New Me
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Stanford will face the Jayhawks in the round of 32, and Chasson Randle looked like he has what it takes to match up with Wiggins. Randle scored 23 points on 7-of-15 shooting en route to the Cardinal's close win against New Mexico.

This is presumably the last chance for the field to take advantage of Kansas without Embiid. Stanford plays three forwards, while Kansas plays three guards, so this will play to the advantage of the Cardinal.


3. Stephen F. Austin

Because why not?

If Desmond Haymon can hit a four-point play with under five seconds left to send a game to overtime, then what can't the Lumberjacks do?

Denis Poroy/Associated Press

Yes, UCLA is extremely talented at the guard position, but Tony Parker and the Wear brothers are the weakness of the Bruins' starting lineup.

Lumberjack forward Jacob Parker gave the most impressive performance in the upset of VCU, scoring 22 points on 9-of-14 shooting.

If he gets going like he did on Friday, then the glass slipper may stay intact for the Lumberjacks for one more round.


2. Tennessee

Tennessee absolutely thrashed Massachusetts.

Jarnell Stokes and Jeronne Maymon dominated down low, combining for 25 rebounds compared to 16 from UMass's three starting forwards.

RALEIGH, NC - MARCH 21:  Jeronne Maymon #34, Antonio Barton #2 and Josh Richardson #1 of the Tennessee Volunteers celebrate on the bench in the second half while taking on the Massachusetts Minutemen in the second round of the 2014 NCAA Men's Basketball T
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Mercer's standout duo of Daniel Coursey and Jakob Gollon may be meeting their match in this one after having their way against Duke in the first round against a struggling Rodney Hood and Amile Jefferson.

Add in the dynamic Jordan McRae and Tennessee is simply a more athletic team that Mercer will have trouble keeping up with.

Although Mercer had three guards in double figures, the Cinderella run may end before it really even starts.


1. North Dakota State

The Bison have won 15 of their last 16, including the first-round overtime triumph over fifth-seeded Oklahoma.

North Dakota State's best player, Taylor Braun, was held to 11 points on 3-of-11 shooting, and the team still found a way to get the job done.

Fortunately, Lawrence Alexander scored 28, while grabbing eight rebounds and dishing out four assists. This type of all-around play is typically expected from Braun, but if the Bison can get contributions like that from others, they may be hard to beat.

Elaine Thompson/Associated Press

San Diego State lies in the way, and the Aztecs nearly buckled against New Mexico State in the first round, eeking out a four-point overtime win.

Xavier Thames, as usual, had to provide the majority of the scoring, and although forward Josh Davis logged a double-double, NDSU's Marshall Bjorklund can match up with Davis physically and skill-wise.

Expect the Bison to be this year's Cinderella.