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. 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 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 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 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 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

monkeypox virus

Minnesota up to 6 confirmed cases of monkeypox virus

Most people recover at home within 2-4 weeks.

thc edibles

Did Minnesota just accidentally legalize THC?

A Republican lawmaker who voted to approve the new law in May is already talking about rolling it back.

Screen Shot 2022-06-30 at 3.19.42 PM

Gasoline may be cause of sewer explosion on U of M campus

An all-clear was given around 9 p.m. Thursday, with residents in the area allowed to return to their homes.


Overwhelming demand for THC products on first day of new law in MN

One shop owner said his Chaska store broke the online sales record before they opened Friday morning.

Flickr - Lake Minnetonka boat - Greg Gjerdingen

Increased drunk boating enforcement over 4th of July weekend

The increased enforcement is part of the Operation Dry Water initiative.


Four kayakers stranded, rescued in Chisholm park

The kayakers became stranded at Redhead Mountain Bike Park Thursday afternoon.


Duo charged after 10-pound meth package sent to wrong address

More than 10 pounds of meth are off the street thanks to a delivery error.

Screen Shot 2022-07-01 at 11.01.32 AM

Bird Rides' suburban expansion continues in Minnesota

Its scooter season in Minnesota. The latest on where you can find Bird e-scooters:

Flickr - police lights squad siren - Edward Kimmel

Man found dead with 'trauma to his face' in St. Paul

A man was found dead with "trauma to his face" in St. Paul after 3 a.m.

Hibbing ambulance

Boyfriend jailed after woman found dead in Hibbing

The woman was found dead on Tuesday, June 28.


2 motorcyclists killed in crash near Duluth

The crash happened at a curve in the road north of Duluth.

Life Link

18 injured in two separate crashes involving teen drivers

The crashes happened Thursday in Ham Lake and North Branch Township.


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.

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

The Badgers took down the defending national champions on Saturday.

10 games that could make the high school football playoffs amazing

These 10 high school football playoffs games would be amazing if they come to fruition.

Sanctions leave UND with no identity at milestone NCAA tournament

The University of North Dakota made its debut at the NCAA women's college hockey tournament, but the team doesn't appear in the program because the photo showed the athletes in their Fighting Sioux uniform. "It’s a shame. But it’s something we have to deal with," said UND athletic director Brian Faison.