When it comes to the annual NCAA Basketball Tournament, devoted March Madness college basketball bettors know there will likely be more than a few upsets en route to what promises to be another thrilling championship showdown.
Whether the upset is on the scale of North Carolina State ‘s 1983 championship win over mighty Georgetown or something more akin to No. 9 Northern Iowa’s second round shocker over top-seeded Duke in 2010, one thing’s for sure… upsets of all levels are now a routine March Madness occurrence.
With that thought in mind, it’s time to take a brief look at five teams that appear to be capable off pulling off a big-time upset over ay team in the nation. Whether or not any of these teams manage to do so remains to be seen, but make no mistake about it, each of the following ball clubs is quite capable of bringing home the bacon if the basketball stars align for them perfectly once March Madness begins.
The Top 5 Underdogs To Win 2014 NCAA Tourney
First and foremost, let me say that there is no finer coach in all of college basketball than SMU’s (22-6 SU, 16-8 ATS, 9-14 O/U) Hall of Fame legend Larry Brown. I love the fact that the Tigers play in a tough conference that also features legitimate national title contenders Cincinnati, Louisville and Memphis and I genuinely believe the Mustangs have what it takes to pull off more than one upset en route to a deep tourney run. SMU is allows just 61.4 points per contest (18th) under the defensive-minded Brown while holding their opponents to a paltry 36.8 percent shooting mark from the field, good for second in the nation. At +10000 and 16-8 ATS right now, the Mustangs have the look of a ‘must-bet’ team to bring home the hardware.
San Diego State +5000
Led by venerable head coach Steve Fisher, the Aztecs (23-3 SU, 13-10 SU, 4-19 O/U) are another defense-first ballclub that could put the clamps on any opponent they face come March Madness. San Diego State ranks third in points allowed (56.9), seventh in opponents’ field goal percentage (38.0) and ninth in defensive three-point field goal percentage (29.0). The only concern I have about the Aztecs is whether or not they’ll have enough scoring beyond its two double-digits scorers, Xavier Thomas (16.4 ppg) and Winston Shepard (12.4 ppg).
Under excellent head coach Jay Wright, the Wildcats (24-3 SU, 17-8 ATS, 17-8 O/U) are ranked 23rrd in scoring (79.9 ppg) thanks to their fine shooting from beyond the arc (36.4 percent, 92nd) and inside of it (46.4 percent, 70th). Villanova also holds its opponents to just 40.8 percent from the field (63rd) even though they’re not known as a defensive team. Four double-digit scorers and quality wins over St. Joe’s, Temple and Xavier lead me to believe the often explosive Wildcats could surprise in the postseason. Of course, two huge, double-digit losses to Creighton (by 28 and 21 points respectively) suggest that the Wildcats could also flame out quickly if they face a hot team early on.
North Carolina +3300
While the Tar Heels (20-7 SU, 16-11 ATS, 13-13 O/U) got off to an uninspiring 7-3 start this season, this talent-laden ball club has clearly found its identity by winning nine consecutive games at the time of this writing. The Tar Heels have a very solid offense as they average 77.0 points per contest (47th) and rank eighth in offensive rebounds. Four double-digit scorers and a series of quality wins over Louisville , Michigan State, Kentucky , Pittsburgh and Duke, tell me Roy Williams’ team can beat anyone on any given day.
Wichita State +1200
The Shockers (30-0 SU, 20-6-1 ATS, 14-13 O/U) may not play in a big-time conference, but they’re certainly a big-time team. The first team in college hoops history to ever start a season 30-0, Wichita State clearly has a lot to lay for after reaching the Final Four a year ago. The Shockers can both, score the ball (75.6 ppg, 70th) and routinely shut down the best offensive teams in the nation as they allow just 60.4 points per contest defensively (14th). Wichita State also has four double-digit scorers on its roster, all of whom shoot at least 44.3 percent from the field. This team may not be one of the top favorites to win it all, but make no mistake about it…they should be.