Skip to main content

NCAA Tournament: 5 sleepers who could reach the Sweet 16

Need some help filling out your bracket? We have you covered!

Has NCAA Tournament Fever bitten you, too?

Every office is going to be dealing with lost productivity this week while people spend time looking over stats, records, power rankings and schedules.

So we are hoping to save your employer some time by highlighting five low-seeded teams we think are capable of making it to the Sweet 16 – or better.

#10 Wichita State

The Shockers (30-4) are the #10 seed in the South region. They come into the tournament red hot – winners of 15 straight games.

They open the tournament Friday in Indianapolis in South Region play against 7th-seeded Dayton.

The Shockers are no strangers to the tournament, Gregg Marshall's squad is making its 14th NCAA Tournament appearance. Wichita State is 17-14 in tournament games all time and has reached the Final 4 twice.

Kenpom.com ranks the Shockers as the eighth-best team in the country.

Their toughest challenge to reaching the Sweet 16 will come in the second round. Wichita State would need to find a way to beat 2-seed Kentucky.

#7 Michigan

In early February, Michigan's tournament hopes seemed over.

But as the team was preparing to leave for Washington, D.C. on Wednesday ahead of the Big Ten Tournament, a strong windstorm forced their plane to abort takeoff at the last moment.

As ClickonDetroit.com tells it, the plane skidded off the runway and crashed through fences, coming to rest at the top of a ditch.

A scary moment for anyone, no doubt. But the Wolverines found a way to turn that experience into four victories in as many days and a Big Ten Tournament Championship.

Now the Wolverines have a new lease on life and they're playing like a team with no tomorrow. They come into the Big Dance with one tournament title under their belt and could be a tough out in the field of 68.

The Wolverines meet up with #10 seed Oklahoma State Friday. They could have a second round meeting with Louisville on Sunday.

#12 Nevada

Everyone always loves the #12 seeds, so here is our favorite one. While the Wolf Pack (28-6) haven't won 15 straight like Wichita State, they have rattled off nine in a row.

They aren't overly impressive in the kenpom.com ranking – at 55th – but they don't have a very tough path to the Sweet 16, either.

Marcus Marshall leads Nevada. He averages nearly 20 points a game and knocked down 113 three-pointers on the season.

The Wolf Pack open the tournament Thursday night in the Midwest Region in Milwaukee against #5 Iowa State. The Cyclones (23-10) are no strangers to early exits from the NCAA Tournament either.

If Nevada gets past Iowa State, they would meet up with either Purdue or Vermont on Saturday.

#11 Rhode Island

We have these guys a little lower on our list, but still think the Rams have plenty of upset potential.

The Rams (24-9) secured their spot in the Big Dance by winning the A10 tournament. You might be surprised to know they are 37th in the kenpom.com ranking and had a few quality wins during the regular season – including a 76-71 victory over then-No. 24 Cincinnati and two wins over VCU in the last three weeks.

Rhode Island drew Creighton in the first round. If they win Friday they would likely have to figure out how to beat Oregon to reach the Sweet 16.

#7 St. Mary's

We like St. Mary's a lot, but their path to the Sweet 16 won't be an easy one. The Gaels (28-4) received an at-large bid out of the WCC.

However, they open the West Regional against #11 VCU Thursday, then would likely have to deal with the No. 2 seed Arizona on Saturday – a tough road to say the least.

But they are 14th in the kenpom.com ranking and three of their four losses on the season came to Gonzaga. The only other game the Gaels have lost all season was way back on Dec. 8 against Texas-Arlington.

Next Up

Crisp & Green

Crisp & Green opening 13th store in Twin Cities in July

The fast-casual salad and grains restaurant has exploded onto the food scene.

FLickr - Target Field 2019 - mark grabe

Twins to host post-game concert with country star at Target Field

Country singer Cole Swindell is expected to perform for up to 75 minutes after the conclusion of the Blue Jays-Twins contest.

10974344_886755688011981_7448860726679919201_o

Canton Restaurant closes after nearly 40 years in Burnsville

It's the end of an era in the Twin Cities restaurant world.

Screen Shot 2022-06-27 at 12.47.20 PM

Luck strikes in Minnesota: lottery winners in Duluth, Grand Marais

The North Shore just so happened to be a lucky place to be this past weekend.

covid

Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Monday, June 27

BA.5 is expected to become the dominant subvariant in Minnesota.

police lights squad car

60-year-old woman arrested after firing shots inside Spicer home

SWAT evacuated nearby residents during the incident.

Florida Georgia Line

Florida Georgia Line booked to play at the Minnesota State Fair

The band is the second country music act to be booked this year.

monkeypox

First case of monkeypox confirmed in Minnesota

The Minnesota Department of Health says the risk to the public is "considered low" at this time.

lightning, storm

Isolated severe weather in Minnesota on Tuesday and Wednesday

Definitely not a slam dunk either day, but the chance is there.

ambulance

Driver ejected in fatal crash on Shepard Road in St. Paul

The driver of a Dodge Ram was ejected and died at the scene.

Related

NCAA Tournament: 5 sleepers who could reach the Sweet 16

Need some help filling out your bracket? We have you covered!

5 left tackles who could help the Vikings in 2017

Here are some of the names the Vikings could look to for help at left tackle.

5 left tackles who could help the Vikings in 2017

Here are some of the names the Vikings could look to for help at left tackle.

Restraining orders dismissed as 5 Gopher football players reach settlement

Five Gopher football players agree to settlement that should get them back on the field.

Restraining orders dismissed as 5 Gopher football players reach settlement

Five Gopher football players agree to settlement that should get them back on the field.

Badgers advance to the Sweet 16 in upset win over No. 1 Villanova

The Badgers took down the defending national champions on Saturday.