March Madness: Five Sleeper Teamsby Charlie Parent March 16, 2022 0 comments
The Madness of March is here. Upsets will be had, names will be made, and teams will break out. With that being said, here, we will analyze five teams (5th seed and lower) who are set up for runs to the final four. Think of this as a guide to who can be last year’s UCLA. The Bruins came in as an 11-seed but made an improbable run all the way to the final four. While there’s no guarantee anyone seeded lower than five will make it, however, these are the most probable.
Make sure to check out all of our other March Madness content.
The biggest concern with the Huskies is their inability to shoot the basketball. But, their region doesn’t feature any great shooting teams either. UConn is a matchup nightmare and a popular pick to at least make the Sweet 16. Obviously, the big game for them would be in the Sweet 16 against Gonzaga. The Zags drawing UConn could be the worst thing for Mark Few’s club as Gonzaga has struggled with physicality all season. UConn has serious potential to upset Gonzaga and come out champions of the West region.
Marquette can play with any team in the nation. They are 6-6 against top 25 programs, including a two-game sweep over Villanova. The Golden Eagles have one of the best resumes in the country and should be able to take down North Carolina right off the bat. After that, Marquette will need to beat Baylor, which sounds like a daunting task, but this is the team to do it. If Marquette clears Baylor, they move into a very favorable Sweet 16 game until a challenging Elite 8 matchup, presumably against Kentucky or Purdue. Here, they will have their toughest task, but again, the experience, pace, and ball movement set up the Golden Eagles with a big chance to win.
South Dakota State
Let’s make some things clear. We aren’t necessarily saying the Jackrabbits will go to the final four as a 13 seed, though they can make a serious run. South Dakota State is statistically the best offensive team in the country. Up until their conference championship game, this was a squad that led the nation in field goal percentage. Furthermore, South Dakota State has a very nice path to make a run. They start out with a four-seeded Providence who has shown endless flaws of late. Then, they’ll take on Iowa, which is a hot team but can get shut down easily. After that, the Jackrabbits would presumably face Kansas. If their offense clicks, they could win that game and put them one out from the final four.
You never know what will happen when the Alabama basketball team takes the floor. Will they pull off a big-time win? Get blown out? Lose to teams they shouldn’t? All of these questions happen on a nightly basis for the Tide. If Alabama is at its best, it will be extremely hard to stop this team. The Tide have wins over Gonzaga, Houston, Baylor, Arkansas, and Tennesee. We know they can beat the top teams, so a run makes sense if the right Alabama shows up on the right night.
San Diego State
We’ve stuck with a lot of offensive themes thus far; now we’ll mix it up. San Diego State has the second-highest adjusted defense in the country, according to KenPom statistics. They know how to wall it in to not allow drives while getting out to shooters with control. This is a group that is completely in sync on defense and could follow the theme of defensive-based teams making big runs.
Follow Charlie Parent on Twitter @Charlie_Parent
Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images