This is where it gets interesting. As anyone who participates in the intense yet highly entertaining event known as March Madness knows, upsets occur in abundance and, more often than not, are particularly prevalent when a 12th seed takes on the 5th seed. In some instances, it is not uncommon to witness three of the four twelve seeds move onto the second round as they are usually highly underrated yet incredibly successful programs in their respective conferences. Without the name recognition and notable schedule, these teams are almost always doomed to being under-seeded despite their consistency throughout the course of the regular season. However, the March Madness committee’s bias actually benefits this postseason event as it allows these disrespected programs to emphatically defeat their opponents who are at times incredibly overrated. If you have been paying any type of attention to the college basketball landscape, these four teams will undoubtedly have peaked your interest in terms of their competitive potential at some point this season.
1. Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders
Although they may not always be consistent on offense or defense, the Blue Raiders possess the ideal intangibles of a program that can dig deep and win in a multitude of ways. While they only average 75.1 points per game, the Blue Raiders are incredibly accurate from the free throw line (75.4 FT%), an advantage that will serve them well in tournament play if their underrated defense can perform at a high level (65.3 PAPG).
1. New Mexico State Aggies
Exceptional at attacking the glass (40.9 RPG) and stifling their opponents defensively (63 PAPG), the Aggies have the grit and stamina to wear down their opponent consistently. Although they struggle mightily when it comes to taking high percentage shots from the field, the Aggies are a program that has stood by its methodical yet intimidating identity, which has been to their benefit more often than not this season.
1. Loyola-Chicago Ramblers
While their offense is extremely anemic and inconsistent (73.6 PPG), the Ramblers are actually fairly capable of moving the ball around to their open shooters (15.8 APG). When they do decide to shoot the ball, their accuracy is surprisingly elite as they hit 51.4% of their shots from the field. Coupled with their exceptional defense (63.4 PAPG), the Ramblers have the versatile and cerebral athletes to shock and overcome their respective opponent in the tournament.
1. Syracuse Orange
Although it has been a grueling exercise for the Orange when it comes to scoring the basketball (68 PPG), they are actually highly effective at both rebounding the basketball (37.7 RPG) and playing defense, particularly when it comes to guarding the perimeter (63.8 PAPG). While their one-dimensional nature could result in them losing quickly in the tournament, their disciplined defense has the potential to take this program far if they can avoid turning over the ball carelessly (13 TPG).