The NCAA Tournament is legendary for its first round upsets and seeing an underdog team earn their 15 minutes of fame.
This year will be no different, as the tournament field was set yesterday. The winners of the four play-in games will decide the last four spots.
It’s practically a given that a lower-seeded first round team will turn a few heads en route to a deep run in the tournament.
Here are 10 sleeper teams that may make some serious noise this week.
Princeton went on a 23-3 run starting in late November.
They just capped off an epic victory over Harvard in the Ivy League Championship.
After a six-year absence from the tournament, Princeton will look to make the most of their opportunity.
However, they will match up against Kentucky in the first round of the East bracket.
This would be a huge upset if the Tigers can pull it off.
The Richmond Spiders earned an automatic bid to the tournament with a win over to Dayton to capture the Atlantic-10 championship.
At 27-7, Richmond enters as No. 12 seed and will take on Vanderbilt Thursday in the first round of the Southwest bracket.
Richmond won 11 of their last 12 games and come into the tournament hot. Though many of the games were decided down the stretch, it shows Richmond has the capability to close late, which will be vital in the tournament.
Justin Harper and Kevin Anderson shoot the three-ball well and must continue if Richmond will make any noise.
The Final Four sensation from 2006, George Mason, earned a tournament bid, even though they didn’t win the CAA title.
The Patriots finished 26-6 in the regular season. Playing in the CAA has allowed them to fly under the radar.
George Mason will take on No. 9 seed Villanova in the first round of the East bracket. Villanova has struggled mightily down the stretch this season after their terrific start.
If the Patriots can get by Villanova, a tougher test in the form of Ohio State would be up next.
Can George Mason experience another miracle run? We’ll find out this week.
Xavier finished first in the Atlantic-10 but lost to Dayton in the semifinals of the conference tournament.
They finished 24-7 overall and 15-1 in conference.
Despite their early exit from their conference tournament, Xavier earned a No. 6 seed and will take on Marquette in the first round of the East bracket.
Junior guard Tu Holloway can take over a game singlehandedly, and the Musketeers will need him to keep producing to make a tournament run.
Georgia finished 21-11 overall but only 9-7 in conference. Granted, the SEC is a tough conference, but Georgia still dropped a few big conference games.
The Bulldogs have a ton of athleticism, which could be the defining factor in a tournament run.
The No. 10 seeded Bulldogs will play the No. 7 Washington Huskies in the first round of the East bracket.
Guards Travis Leslie and Gerald Robinson got hot at the right time and will look to carry Georgia deep into the tournament.
Usually when we fill out our brackets, Michigan State winds up in the Elite Eight, if not the Final Four.
However, this year, Tom Izzo’s squad’s erratic play in the middle of the season cast them aside as a National Championship contender.
The NCAA Tournament may spark the Spartans to out it altogether when they need to. They’ll play No. 7 seed UCLA in the first round of the Southeast bracket.
Izzo has been there before, so this is the perfect opportunity for him to inspire his players for a deep tournament run.
The St. John’s Red Storm are heading back to their first NCAA Tournament since 2002.
Under first-year head coach Steve Lavin, St. John’s defeated some of the nation’s top teams including Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, UCONN and a blowout over Duke.
Seniors Dwight Hardy and Justin Brownlee have been clutch all season, and the Johnnies will hope they can continue their strong play.
After an early exit in the Big East tournament, the Red Storm will set out to prove that this season was no fluke.
The No. 6 seeded Red Storm take on Gonzaga in the first round of the Southeast bracket.
In addition to St. John’s, Georgetown joins 10 other Big East teams in the NCAA tournament.
In one of the nation’s top conferences, the Hoyas only managed a 10-8 record.
However, Georgetown is poised for a tournament run. The No. 6 seeded Hoyas take on the winner of the USC/VCU play-in game.
Austin Freeman must continue his strong season to give the Hoyas a chance.
With the focus on some other Big East, Georgetown had flown under the radar but has a chance to prove their true worth this week in the Southeast bracket.
Florida State finished the regular season 21-10. However, an injury to All-ACC third teamer Chris Singleton hurt the Seminoles down the stretch and in the ACC Tournament.
If Singleton is deemed healthy enough to play, the Seminoles can be a dangerous team heading in to the tournament.
Though only a No. 10 seed in the Southeast bracket, a return from Singleton can provide an energy boost.
The Seminoles will take on No. 7 Texas A&M in the first round. Even if the Seminoles upset the Aggies, they will likely have to play Notre Dame in the second round.
The great thing about the tournament is that any team can beat any team on any given day. Florida State will look to live out that philosophy this week.
As a No. 2 seed, San Diego State is the hybrid of this list. The Aztecs finished 32-2 on the year and defeated Jimmer Fredette and BYU in the Mountain West championship game.
So why are they a sleeper?
Despite their huge season, the Aztecs have been thrown to the back burner when it comes to teams vying for a National Championship. We always here about Duke, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Kansas and Ohio State, but who’s talking about San Diego State.
The Aztecs will take on Northern Colorado in the first round of the West bracket.
If they can stay hot, a trip to the Elite Eight could be in the Aztecs’ near future.