The National College Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament is one of the most magical times of the year. Upsets are common, and predicting every game correctly is close to impossible. Excitement for college basketball is at its highest each year during March, and many people are rooting for a cinderella run. Could a cinderella run happen this year? It is possible, but it would take top-seeded teams to lose. Which ones could lose? Take a look at the most overrated teams in the tournament.
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The Bears are a No. 1 seed in this year’s tournament, but they are the worst out of the four. They should cruise past the Norfolk State Spartans in the Round of 64, but their schedule becomes challenging after. In the Round of 32, they would face the No. 8 seeded North Carolina Tar Heels or No. 9 seeded Marquette Golden Eagles. Both squads have experience against top teams and could pose a challenge.
The Tar Heels recently took down the Duke Blue Devils, a top team in the country, showing they can hang with talented teams, and the Golden Eagles have played numerous games against ranked opponents. In games against ranked teams, the Golden Eagles are 6-6. Their experience against top teams will be advantageous if they face the Bears.
The No. 4 seeded Friars played well during the season but have a difficult situation in the tournament. In the Round of 64, they face the South Dakota State Jackrabbits, who pose a threat to most opponents. The Jackrabbits can shoot senselessly and made 44.9 percent of threes this season. Their offensive talent makes them a significant threat to the Friars in the Round of 64.
If the Friars win, the road becomes more challenging in the Round of 32, where they could face the No. 5 seeded Iowa Hawkeyes. The Hawkeyes come into the tournament as one of the hottest teams in college basketball after winning the Big Ten tournament. The Friars could also face the No. 12 seeded Richmond Spiders, who carry momentum after winning the Atlantic 10 tournament. Either way, the Friars have a challenging set of potential matchups, which put them at risk of an upset early on.
Saint Mary’s Gaels
The Gaels are seeded No. 5 in the tournament but could be upset early on. If the Indiana Hoosiers make it out of their first four matchup, they could threaten top teams, including the Gaels. The Hoosiers recently beat the Illinois Fighting Illini and played close games against the Purdue Boilermakers and the Hawkeyes. The Hoosiers are ranked 36th in Ken Pomeroy’s (KenPom) College Basketball Ratings, lower than the Gaels but higher than a typical No. 12 seed.
If the Gaels win in the Round of 64, they will face another problematic opponent in the Round of 32. They will play the winner of the No. 4 seed University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Bruins, and Akron Zips. The Bruins would probably be favored to win over the Gaels as they are seeded higher, but the Zips could give them trouble too. The Zips are an excellent defensive team and hold opponents to 62.8 points per game. Their most notable opponent, the Ohio State Buckeyes, only beat them by one point. The Round of 32 will be challenging for the Gaels if they make it there.
The No. 6 seeded Longhorns are talented, but they have not performed on the big stage this season. They are 3-8 against top 25 opponents and are coming to the tournament on a three-game losing streak. Momentum is vital to success in March, and the Longhorns do not have it. Additionally, they are meeting tough matchups in the early rounds.
In the Round of 64, they face the No. 11 seeded Virginia Tech Hokies, who carry heavy momentum to the tournament, unlike the Longhorns. The Hokies are ranked 23rd in KenPom, which is high for an 11 seed, making them a threat to upset. If the Longhorns beat the Hokies, they could face the Purdue Boilermakers in the Round of 32, who can beat any team in the country. Jaden Ivey, Zach Edey, and the rest of the Boilermakers would probably be favorites to beat the Longhorns. Difficult early matchups make it hard to see the Longhorns past the Round of 32.
Colorado State Rams
The No. 6 seeded Rams are a common pick to be upset in the Round of 64. They face a No. 11 seeded Michigan Wolverines team who is inexperienced. However, the presence of Hunter Dickinson in the post will always make them a threat. If the Rams can beat the Wolverines, they would probably face the No. 3 seeded Tennessee Volunteers, who are excellent on both ends of the floor. With difficult matchups in the first two rounds, the Rams may not make it far in the tournament.
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