March Madness: Five Sleeper Cinderella Teams To Watch
The NCAA Tournament is as popular as it is, thanks in large part to the upsets that take place on a yearly basis. Every year, power conference teams are taken down by mid-major programs hungry to prove that they belong on the biggest stage in college basketball.
This year’s edition of March Madness will be no exception, as these dark horse teams have a genuine shot at pulling one or more upsets in the tournament.
Vermont won the America East and earned a 13-seed, losing just one game in conference play this season. The Catamounts are an elite passing and shooting team, led by Ben Shungu and Ryan Davis, who can score both at the rim and from the perimeter.
The question for the Catamounts is whether or not they can do what they do against competition outside of one of the nation’s worst conferences.
The Vermont Catamounts face Arkansas in the first round of the tournament, where they are a five-point underdog. If they can sneak past the Razorbacks, they could easily move into the second weekend of the tournament.
South Dakota State Jackrabbits
South Dakota State has one of the most efficient offenses in college basketball, and they have won 21 straight games going into the NCAA Tournament.
While they have been criticized for putting up big offensive numbers in the Summit League, it is important to remember that the Summit League produced a Sweet 16 team last season in Oral Roberts.
The Jackrabbits have the type of offense that is more than capable of beating Providence in the first round to continue the Summit League’s recent run of dominance.
Chattanooga enjoyed the best moment of conference championship week when they hit a buzzer-beater from just inside of halfcourt to win their league and earn a bid into the NCAA Tournament.
The Mocs face Illinois in the first round of the tournament, which is no easy assignment, but Chattanooga could very well pull off the upset as a 13-seed here. Malachi Smith averages over 20 points per game and will be a tough cover even for a Big Ten opponent.
Loyola Chicago Ramblers
Loyola Chicago has proven already that it is more than capable of making deep runs in the NCAA Tournament. While this year’s edition of the Ramblers is not quite Final Four quality, they could easily make it to the second weekend of the tournament as a 10-seed.
The Ramblers have one of the best defenses in college basketball, allowing just over 61 points per game, which they will need against EJ Liddell and the Ohio State Buckeyes in the first round of the tournament .
San Francisco Dons
San Francisco is another 10-seed that is capable of doing big things in the NCAA Tournament this year. They face Murray State in the first round, in a battle of mid-major powerhouses, which could go either way.
If the Dons win that game, though, they could put a scare into Kentucky in the second round based on their ability to defend the three-point line.
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