Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Major Conference Sleepers


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 teams were West Virginia, a 7 seed that went to the Elite Eight, and Wisconsin, a 6 seed that went to the Elite Eight. Here are the teams most likely to spring a few "upsets" in the tournament:

Michigan State: Led by one of the best trios in the country in wings Shannon Brown, Maurice Ager, and big man Paul Davis, the Spartans have the talent to make a run. On top of that, they have a friendly draw and are always tough in the Tournament.

Indiana: The Hoosiers have played very well lately, and have a go-to-guy down low in Marco Killingsworth. Throw in a very solid defense and a host of perimeter players that can all shoot the ball, and Indiana could pick up a few wins.

Georgetown: The Hoyas are an excellent shooting team that can score at every position. Plus, they have versatile forwards that are difficult to guard in Brandon Bowman and Jeff Green. If their guards are scoring, look out for Georgetown.

George Washington: Yes, I know the Colonials play Duke in the second round, but don't overlook them. If Pops Mensah-Bonsu comes back, GW has the post production to go with the perimeter players. They are one of the most athletic teams in the country, and can cause problems.

West Virginia: Nearly the entire team is back from last year's Elite Eight squad. The Mountaineers have a whole crew of shooters that can make baskets from anywhere on the court. Mike Gansey and Kevin Pittsnogle form a great inside-outside duo.

Arkansas: The Razorbacks won 6 of their final 7 to make the Tournament, and could make some noise. Ronnie Brewer is an excellent all-around player, while Jonathon Modica is a good scorer. If they get inside production, they could pull an upset in the second round.

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