English
Menu
Matchups

OddsShark Top Sportsbooks

Three Bracket-Busting Teams To Watch This March Madness

We hear the same generic terms thrown around every year during the NCAAB tournament. With little to no context, terms like “Cinderella” and “bracket-buster” don’t amount to much. But, where would we be in sports without clichés?

With that in mind, here are three teams that will likely bust a few brackets. To qualify, these teams need to fill the lower seeds in the bracket, anywhere from the ninth to 16th seed. They must be outside a major conference. And they must be relatively little known to the general public.

I don’t necessarily endorse any of these teams making long runs during March Madness but I do believe they are plenty capable of winning at least one game. Just enough to completely screw you in the office pool.

Nevada Wolf Pack

The Mountain West champions have a lot of things going for them entering the NCAAB tournament. First, they have plenty of size. Of the seven Nevada players to average 10 or more minutes per game, five stand at least 6’6”. That size means that Nevada should be able to hold its own in the paint no matter the opponent, evidenced by the Wolf Pack’s 38.9 total rebounds per game.

Second, the Wolf Pack can shoot the three. Nevada hits 9.2 treys per game while shooting 38.5 percent from deep, ranking 31st and 33rd in the nation respectively. These have combined to make the Wolf Pack one of the most efficient offenses in the nation. Everyone knows that the 3-pointer is becoming more and more critical to the game of basketball, so any team that shoots as well as Nevada is dangerous.

There will be people who point to Nevada’s lack of depth — every player in the starting lineup averages at least 30 minutes per game while nobody on the bench tallies 15. However, teams like Duke have proven this season that depth is overrated. That’s not to say Nevada won’t need contributions from the bench but as long as the starting five can hold its own, then this team will be fine.

First-Round Matchup: vs Iowa State

Florida Gulf Coast Eagles

Dunk City pretty much dominated the A-Sun conference and though it was impressive, it was the Eagles’ non-conference games that should make Florida Gulf Coast backers excited. FGCU took Baylor to the limit in Waco, should have beaten Michigan State in East Lansing and has a convincing win over another impressive mid-major in UT-Arlington. Florida Gulf Coast is as battle-tested as any mid-major in the nation.

The Eagles also have a glut of experience and talent in the frontcourt. The upperclassman trio of Demetris Morant, Marc-Eddy Norelia and Antravious Simmons are all big and experienced. Morant makes the headlines for his shooting performance this season — the senior shot 75.7 percent from the floor — but all three bigs make the shots down low.

Despite their offensive ability and size, FGCU hasn’t been the best at rebounding. Nationally, the Eagles rank pretty much in the middle of the pack in every rebounding statistic. Maybe this is because they shot 48.7 percent, the 12th best in the nation, but the big three will need to attack the glass to ensure a decent showing for the Eagles.

First-Round Matchup: vs Florida State

UNC Wilmington Seahawks

UNC Wilmington is the ultimate boom-or-bust team in this tourney. First let’s look at the positives. The Seahawks almost never turn the ball over, as they rank first in the nation in team turnovers per offensive possession (11.9%) and are third in the country in turnover-to-assist ratio (1.597). Intangibly, this Seahawks team is largely the same one that just barely lost to Duke last season, which means they will be incredibly motivated.

Now to the biggest negative. This team is small. Of the seven players who average double-digit minutes, only two are above 6’3” and the backcourt features several players who are generously listed at 6’0”. This has meant that UNC Wilmington has struggled to rebound, aside from 6’7” Devontae Cacok. Simply put, the Seahawks will be in great shape if they play a shooting team but they could be in trouble facing a big, dominant paint team.

One more thing to make note of is the status of coach Kevin Keatts. There is no doubt the 44-year-old is one of the hottest coaching prospects in the nation and this could very well be his last year with the Seahawks. If a major program doesn’t poach him, I’d be very shocked. Keatts, and his players, will be determined to get UNC Wilmington a March Madness win before his potential exit.

First-Round Matchup: vs Virginia

Comments