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NCAA Tournament: The Sleepers

The NCAA Tournament is upon us and although none of the first round games of started, there is already much speculation as to who will win the tournament.  While we already covered the favorites, there is a strong group of sleeper teams that could sneak up on the Dukes of the world and win the tournament.

Buffalo

The 15th ranked team in the country gets no respect because of who they play in their conference, even though they took down a good Syracuse team at the Carrier Dome and took down West Virginia in the first game of the season on the road.

The Bulls are led by Coach Nate Oats and his blue collar mentality.  C.J. Massinburg is an NBA level talent, and you always need to be on the lookout for the threes raining from Jeremy Harris.  One of the best sixth men in the tournament is Nick Perkins, so if he gets hot the Bulls could easily roll into the Sweet 16.  There are loft expectations for this Buffalo team but they wouldn’t want it any other way.

Villanova

The reigning champs are also getting no respect, and that’s because they’ve had an up and down season.  Despite winning the Big East once again, ‘Nova is only a six seed and has a tough road ahead.

If there’s one man who can get the most out of his players, it’s Jay Wright.  After not being able to get over the hump for years, Wright is officially one of the best coaches in basketball and has taken this team to new heights.  With strong senior leadership in Phil Booth and Eric Paschall, the Wildcats look to march through a tough South region.  Anything is possible though, especially for a team that’s been there before.

Maryland

Rounding out the six seeds that are all sleepers, we have Maryland.  Probably one of the forgotten teams of the NCAA, the Terrapins had an impressive year despite some mind boggling losses in the Big Ten, including a loss at MSG to the lowly Illinois Fighting Illini.

Coach Mark Turgeon has some serious talent on this team, including stud big man Bruno Fernando and junior guard Anthony Cowan.  What stands in the way of a miraculous Final Four run?  Turgeon himself.  Mark Turgeon’s teams (Wichita State, Texas A&M, Maryland) have never made it past the Sweet Sixteen.  Is this the year it all changes?

 

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