From a competitive standpoint, most 15th seeds are only marginally better than the 16th seeds that make the NCAA Tournament every year. However, these disrespected programs have actually pulled off tremendous upsets from time to time, suggesting that these lesser-known programs possess the competitiveness and talent needed to topple some of the elite programs in the country. Although it may be a rare occurrence and mostly unwise to pick one of these teams to pull off a shocking upset come tournament play, the evidence is clearly there to support the possibility of this situation occurring, however unlikely it might be. Considering the amount of parity that has existed in college basketball this season, the chances of a 15th seed pulling off a dramatic victory is much more likely to occur than in years past.
1. Montana Grizzlies
Although the Grizzlies have been a bit inconsistent in terms of establishing a competitive identity, they have persevered through these issues more often than not as they are currently 13-2 in the Big Sky Conference. Garnering eight steals per game, the Grizzlies have an underrated defense that has the potential to surprise a cocky two seed if they can fight hard down the stretch of their schedule and make the tournament.
1. Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks
While the Lumberjacks may be second to Nicholls in the Southland Conference, the Lumberjacks boast a much more impressive overall record and possess a highly prolific offense as well. Scoring 83.2 points per game while shooting 49.7% from the field, the Lumberjacks once again have the capable shooters and a gifted defense (11 SPG) to scare and potentially take down any program they face in the tournament.
1. Bucknell Bison
Well on their way to winning the Patriot Conference handily (currently have a four-game lead), the Bisons appear to be on the verge of making their second straight NCAA Tournament. Scoring over 80 points per game, the Bison are a high volume shooting program that lives and dies by their streaky shot making abilities. However, when they are on their game from a shooting perspective, they are incredibly capable of outscoring any opponent they have to face.
1. Northern Kentucky Norse
Adept at both playing defense (65.3 PAPG) and unselfishly passing the basketball to their open playmakers (16.6 APG), the Norse are one of the more intriguing and dynamic 15th seeds that could potentially make it to the NCAA Tournament. Better still, the Norse are an efficient scoring unit as they are averaging 78.4 points per game while making 48.1% of their shots from the field. The odds are stacked against them, but the Norse have the ideal makeup of an upset contender that can win in more ways than one.