NCAA Tournament: 5 sleepers who could reach the Sweet 16

Need some help filling out your bracket? We have you covered!
Author:
Updated:
Original:

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

DirecTV

DirecTV subscribers could lose KARE 11 on Tuesday

A new contract needs to be agreed upon by 6 p.m. Tuesday.

prison, Rush City cell block

Inmate from Rush City prison dies after COVID-19 diagnosis

The man is the fifth incarcerated person in Minnesota to die from COVID-19.

ambulance

Belle Plaine man dies after duck boat capsizes on lake

One man was found sitting on the overturned boat while another man was in the water.

Screen Shot 2020-11-29 at 4.59.51 PM

Watch: Adam Thielen watches end of Vikings/Panthers just like all of us

The Vikings receiver looked like a true fan on Sunday afternoon.

Chad Beebe

Chad Beebe's roller-coaster fourth-quarter keeps Vikings playoff hopes alive

A muffed punt and a game-winning touchdown helped defeat the Panthers on Sunday afternoon.

127266986_2766399800267634_3587849554502438415_n

West-central MN cops warn kids to stay off ice, or 'Santa won't come'

This comes amid repeated ice warnings across the state.

covid-19, coronavirus, PPE

Nov. 29 COVID-19 update: 57 deaths, nearly 9,000 more cases

Nearly 100,000 tests were included in Sunday's report.

jim ramstad

Watch former Rep. Jim Ramstad's memorial service online

The ceremony will be live-streamed for the public on Sunday.

EDL1LeKXsAEeH32

How high can Rashod Bateman go in the 2021 NFL Draft?

The Gophers star receiver has plenty of praise heading into next April.

TCF Bank Stadium

15 more from Gopher football team test positive for COVID-19

That brings the total number of cases from this outbreak to 40.

Teddy Bridgewater

5 questions for Vikings-Panthers Week 12 NFC battle

The Vikings welcome Teddy Bridgewater back to U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday.

police lights

Man, 21, in custody after Albert Lea police officer shot in the chest

The officer was able to drive to an emergency room.

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.

Richard Pitino

What it'll take for the Gophers to reach the NCAA tournament

Close out the regular season strong and then make a run in the Big Ten tournament.

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

The Badgers took down the defending national champions on Saturday.

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

The Badgers took down the defending national champions on Saturday.