NCAA Brackets 2014: Matchups with Biggest Upset Potential

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NCAA Brackets 2014: Matchups with Biggest Upset Potential
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There have been a whole bunch of NCAA tournament brackets busted through the first three days of March Madness and thanks to some potent matchups in the rest of the bracket, there’s plenty of potential for a few more.

Teams like North Dakota State and Stephen F. Austin pulled off stunning wins in their first games of the tournament, but they might have a little more magic left in them.

Below you can find all the bracket info you need, as well as a spotlight on some of the remaining matchups ripe for big upsets.

 

All Your Bracket Essentials:

 

Bleacher Report

(12) North Dakota State vs. (4) San Diego State

Steve Dykes/Getty Images

The Bison managed to pull off the upset over the Oklahoma Sooners and the Aztecs might be next on the list.

San Diego State is an imposing team, especially on the defensive side of the ball—they rank second in the country in points allowed per game, as per NCAA.com.

But North Dakota State has the type of grinding, methodical offense that could help them outlast the Aztecs’ pressure.

"There's nothing about us pretty," North Dakota State coach Saul Phillips told USA Today’s George Schroeder. "Come on, let's be honest. We're the great unwashed. Here we are. That's why it's fun."

Yet, for all of Phillips’ self-deprecation, the Bison are actually pretty efficient offensively—they rank 44th in the nation in points per game with 76.5.

They’re also pretty good on the defensive side of the ball. After all, they did just effectively contain Oklahoma’s eighth-ranked offense, holding them to six points fewer than their season average.

The Bison have the ability to grind out this game against the Aztecs. San Diego State is talented, but they should certainly be on upset watch.

 

(12) Stephen F. Austin vs. (4) UCLA 

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sport

In another 12-4 matchup, the underdog looks like it’s got a good shot at winning.

UCLA is an excellent offensive team, averaging 81.8 points per game and shooting 39 percent from beyond the arc, but Stephen F. Austin is another squad that can grind out wins with defense.

They’re tied for 25th in the nation in points allowed per game, and they could force the high-flying Bruins into playing their slower style.

The Lumberjacks are particularly good at half-court defense, as USA Today’s Eric Prisbell explains.

(Head coach Brad) Underwood knew the potential of this team after it suffered a 10-point defeat at Texas on Nov. 15. What the Lumberjacks lack in size, they make up for in defensive tenacity. They’ve ranked second nationally in turnover percentage, but they don’t disrupt offenses with a full-court press. Instead, they play suffocating half-court defense, trying to stick to the men they cover like a second skin. 

They wore down VCU with their pressure, forcing the Rams into committing 11 turnovers, which comes as no surprise given their ranking as No. 32 overall in steals.

UCLA can absolutely shoot the lights out at times, but the Lumberjacks’ pressure can’t be overlooked. 

Much like the Bison, Stephen F. Austin isn’t afraid to wear down opponents with an unconventional style.

If both of these teams can play the way they want and make their higher-seeded opponents uncomfortable, they can score a big pair of upsets.

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