Tuesday, March 13, 2007

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 Georgetown, a 7 seed that went to the Sweet Sixteen, and West Virginia, a 6 seed that went to the Sweet Sixteen (I predicted both last season in this column). Here are the teams most likely to spring a few "upsets" in the tournament:

Notre Dame: The Fighting Irish drew everyone’s upset pick, Winthrop, in the first round. However, Notre Dame is tougher than people think. They have two terrific wings in Colin Falls and Russell Carter, and plenty of physical players down low.

Georgia Tech: The Yellow Jackets have some of the best talent in the country, but have been inconsistent all year. If they put it together, look out. Javaris Crittenton and Thaddeus Young are two of the best players at their respective positions.

Louisville: Many think that Louisville got a lucky draw by playing in Lexington. However, how many Kentucky (who plays in Lexington) fans will be rooting for the Cardinals? Terrence Williams can do it all, and Louisville has athletes and depth abound.

Nevada: The Wolf Pack were one of the more underseeded teams in the field. They are primed to make noise as the seven seed. Nick Fazekas is one of the best players in the country, and Marcelus Kemp and Ramon Sessions form an excellent backcourt.

Arizona: The Wildcats have been mind-boggling all season. They are terrific offensively and have great talent, but the effort and defense isn’t there. They do have the weapons, though, to make noise. Look out for Arizona if they can get it together.

Boston College: The Eagles struggled down the stretch, but are not going to be a fun team to play. Jared Dudley is a great all-around player, and Tyrese Rice can fill it up. No team in their sub-region plays an up-tempo game, where BC struggles.

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