Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Sleepers from Outside the Major Conferences


In addition to identifying the teams ripe for an upset in the first weekend, one must find the smaller conference clubs that have the potential to make a run into the second week. Every NCAA Tournament has them; you just have to figure out which ones. Last season saw Wisconsin-Milwaukee make a run to the Sweet 16. Here are the top sleepers from the mid-majors:

Southern Illinois- The Salukis struggled late in the season, but play stifling, ball-hawking defense and have a very good backcourt in Jamaal Tatum and Tony Young. If they score, SIU can get some wins.

Wichita State- The Shockers received a favorable draw and also have a balanced starting five, led by MVC Player of the Year Paul Miller. Kyle Wilson and P.J. Couisnard are also solid up front for WSU.

Wisconsin-Milwaukee- The Panthers pulled off back-to-back upsets last season, and could do the same this year. Joah Tucker and Boo Davis form a great duo, and UWM likes to press and force turnovers.

San Diego State- The Aztecs are led by one of the best inside-outside combos in the country in Brandon Heath and Marcus Slaughter. SDSU is versatile on offense and can beat you in a variety of ways.

Winthrop- The Eagles are one of the best #15 seeds in recent memory. They are tall, athletic, and play very good defense. Torrell Martin leads a very balanced starting five. Their draw is also friendly.

Iona- The Gaels started hot and are capable of pulling off an upset. They play up-tempo basketball, and are led by an excellent backcourt in Steve Burtt and Ricky Soliver. Look out for Iona.

Northwestern State- The experienced Demons are a legit darkhorse to get a win. They like to play up-tempo basketball, and are very deep. Clifton Lee has the ability to carry them if needed.

Utah State- The Aggies just snuck in the field, and will look to make the most of it. The inside-outside duo of Jaycee Carroll and Nate Harris is very solid, and USU is very efficient on the offensive end.

No comments:

Post a Comment