March Madness is here. Every season, college basketball fans slyly put on the head phones and watch the annual NCAA Men’s College Basketball Tournament while pretending to work at their desks. It’s an American pastime as traditional as any other American pastime.
Often, the winner of the NCAA Men’s College Basketball Tournament comes down to a 1-seed, or a 2-seed. It’s rare to even see a 3-seed or 4-seed win the College Basketball National Championship. Not this season.
When teams like Michigan and Michigan State garner 3-seeds, and teams like Arizona and Gonzaga garner 4-seeds, the NCAA Tournament is deep! Check out two underdog teams from each region that I believe could win the 2018 NCAA Men’s College Basketball Tournament.
2018 March Madness 8 Underdogs That Can Win the Tournament
I set up a couple of rules for myself. First, I couldn’t choose any team that was a Top 4 seed. Second, I had to choose two teams from each region. Keep reading to find out whom I believe has what it takes to pull off a huge Final Four upset.
5 Kentucky Wildcats
Most feel that the Midwest Region is the most loaded. Not me. I believe the most loaded is easily the South Region. If Virginia is the best team in college basketball, the NCAA College Basketball Tournament Selection Committee did the Cavaliers no favors by loading up their bracket.
Arizona is the 4-seed in the South. The Wildcats have a great shot of winning the region. But, based on my own rules, I can’t choose Arizona. That means I must go with the Kentucky Wildcats. Kentucky is destined to battle Zona in Round 2 this weekend. That should be a heck of a game.
Why Kentucky? They obliterated their opponents to win the SEC Basketball Tournament. Coach John Calipari often gets the Wildcats playing their best in the NCAA Tournament. Kentucky could win the National Championship as a 5-seed.
6 Miami-FL Hurricanes
I thought Miami-FL was done. The Canes looked horrible in February. They appeared to be on the brink of not even garnering a bid to the Tournament, much less having a shot of winning it. Then, a switch turned on. I’m not sure how, but starting around February 19, Miami-FL turned into one of the better teams in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
On February 19, the Canes beat Notre Dame 77 to 74. In their next game, they beat Boston College 79 to 78. Miami’s next two wins were two of their best this season. They beat North Carolina in North Carolina 91 to 88. Then, they took down Virginia Tech, who also makes this list, 69 to 68.
Miami beat the Tar Heels and Hokies by playing two different styles. That shows the Hurricanes can go deep into the NCAA Tournament.
5 Ohio State Buckeyes
Ohio State’s not a great basketball team. However, the West Region doesn’t appear all that deep. Xavier is an excellent team. The problem with Xavier is that they can lose focus. When they do, they end up losing games. Gonzaga, the 4-seed, is about on par with Ohio State.
The Ohio State pick is more deciding on who has the best chance of upsetting Xavier in the Sweet 16. The Buckeyes has as good of a shot as anybody to beat the Musketeers. If the Buckeyes can take down Xavier, who knows?
Let’s not forget that Ohio State beat Michigan, Miami-FL, and Michigan State this season. That’s a nice resume.
10 Providence Friars
The real dog I have hopes for in the West Region are the Providence Friars. From my perspective, Providence has the best shot of any team in the West Region of beating the Xavier Musketeers.
Don’t believe me? Think about this. The Xavier Musketeers lost five games. Two of the losses were to the Villanova Wildcats. One loss was to Arizona State early in the season. Where did the other two losses come from? Yep. Providence beat Xavier twice this season, including beating the Musketeers 75 to 72 in the Big East Tournament.
8 Virginia Tech Hokies
Virginia does not enter the NCAA Men’s College Basketball Tournament on fire. The Hokies went 1 and 3 straight up in their last 4 games. They lost to Louisville, Miami-FL, and Notre Dame. But, VA Tech’s one victory in their last 4 games trumps all 3 of their losses.
Virginia Tech beat the Duke Blue Devils 64 to 63 on Feb. 26. The win was dynamite because Duke averages close to 85 points per game. The Hokies also beat Virginia 61 to 60 in overtime on Feb. 10. That win was at Virginia.
If VA Tech can get by Alabama in Round 1, they’ll have a shot to upset Kansas in Round 2. Don’t sleep on the Hokies, whose defense is almost as good as the Virginia Cavaliers when it’s at its best.
7 Arkansas Razorbacks
Arkansas has been up or down this season. The Razorbacks looked great on Feb. 27 when they beat Auburn 91 to 82. They also looked great when they beat Florida 80 to 72 on March 9.
As well as Arkansas has looked this season, they’ve looked just as bad, though. Tennessee dominated the Razorbacks 84 to 66 in the SEC Basketball Tournament. I do believe that Arkansas has what it takes to go far in the NCAA Men’s College Basketball Tournament. My reason for believing that has a lot to do with the Razorbacks’ bracket.
If they can get past the Butler Bulldogs in Round 1 and upset Purdue in Round 2, Arkansas would face Florida or Texas Tech in the Sweet 16. If the Razorbacks get hot, they could make it all the way to the Elite Eight. That’s all you ask for when picking big dogs in the NCAA Tournament.
7 Rhode Island Rams
Rhode Island has a decent history in the NCAA Tournament. The Rams often proceed to at least Round 2. The Rams have also made it all the way to the Sweet 16. I believe if Rhode Island can get past Oklahoma and Trae Young in Round 1, they’ll manage to upset the Duke Blue Devils in Round 2.
Duke is the most talented team in the NCAA Men’s College Basketball Tournament. However, the Dookies are also the most immature team in the tournament. It’s hard to know how Duke will play versus a team with two solid senior starting guards like Jared Terrell and Stanford Robinson.
Once Rhode Island beats Duke, they could take down Michigan State, TCU, or anybody else they face in the Sweet 16. Again, the goal is to find dogs with a possibility to get to the Elite Eight. That’s Rhode Island.
9 North Carolina State Wolfpack
Like fellow ACC team Virginia Tech, the North Carolina State Wolfpack aren’t hot heading into March Madness. NC State lost 2 out of their last 3 games. But, NC State also managed to beat North Carolina and Duke this season. That speaks volumes about the Wolfpack’s ability to get out of Round 1 versus Seton Hall.
If North Carolina State beats Seton Hall, they’ll face Kansas. Can the Wolfpack possibly upset Kansas? Of course, they could! If you can beat Duke and North Carolina, you can beat Kansas. I’m expecting big things from NC State in the NCAA Men’s College Basketball Tournament.