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Although people sometimes overlook this category, identifying the teams from the power leagues that are apt to making a run is also crucial. These teams are usually seeded 6-10 and have the potential to take down one of the top seeded teams in a region. Last year's surprise team was Alabama, an 8 seed. Here are the teams most likely to spring a few "upsets" in the tournament:
Cincinnati: With Eric Hicks and Jason Maxiell dominating on the interior and a plethora of wing-type players, the Bearcats and their NCAA-leading field goal percentage defense could make a run.
Pittsburgh: Although they have some bad losses at home, the Panthers have experience and know how to win on the road. In addition, their second round opponent, Washington, can't play at the slow-down speed Pitt does.
LSU: Too bad they get Arizona in the second round. The Tigers are loaded in the paint with Brandon Bass and Glen Davis. However, their guards are erratic; if they are hot, LSU can go a long way.
West Virginia: Their run in the Big East Tournament demonstrated what the Mountaineers are capable of doing if their shooters are hot. Kevin Pittsnogle is a tough match-up for opposing centers, and they have a plethora of guys that can nail threes.
North Carolina State: Thanks to their late-season play, the Wolfpack got into the tournament and a potentially favorable draw. Julius Hodge can take over a game, and they have a group of three point shooters that can get hot and win a game or two.
Iowa State: Yes, they play North Carolina in the second round. However, the Cyclones have won tough road games, including one at Kansas, and can pull off a win or two. Curtis Stinson is nearly impossible to stop. By the way, I don't think that Iowa State is beating UNC, though.
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