Every season a double digit seed makes a deep run into the Tournament. Last season an 11th seeded VCU squad shocked the basketball community making a run all the way to the Final Four. Which team in this field has the ability to make a similar run?
No. 12 Long Beach State
Long Beach State has everything you could possibly want. They have the number one non-conference strength of schedule, facing such road conditions as U of L, Pittsburgh, UNC, and Kansas. That experience should allow them to handle the stresses of tournament time. The starting lineup is full of upper-classmen with four seniors and one junior so they have experience. The best part of this squad is stud guard, Casper Ware. Ware is one of the top point guards in the nation and he provides the Niners with an extra dimension that most double digit seeds do not have the luxury of.
No. 14 Belmont
If there is one thing this teams can do it is score. And then score and score some more. Belmont is fourth in the nation in scoring and 17th in field goal percentage. Add in the fact that they are fifth in assists and you can surmise that they have a highly effective offense. Any doubts should be subsided with Belmont’s one-point loss at Duke and a four-point loss to Memphis. This team can hang with anyone. Add in the fact that Georgetown has struggled with double digits seeds in recent history and this one is perfectly designed for an upset.
No. 12 Harvard
Don’t sleep on the Ivy league. The last two seasons they have made runs to the sweet 16. Harvard has the talent to live up to the Ivy League hype. They ran through conference play with just two losses and recorded a big non-conference win over Florida State. Their style of play will make it a tough matchup for any team they face. Typical of Ivy League school, the Crimson rely more on smarts than raw athletic ability. They will make their opponent work for every single basket.
No. 14 Iona
Can you name the number one scoring offense in all of NCAA basketball? It is the same team that has the nation’s second highest field goal percentage. The Iona Gaels. Iona can flat out score with any team in the nation. Their starting lineups has three players averaging over 13.5 points-per-game so they can score from many different directions. Any team that has the ability to score in bunches has the ability to get hot in the tournament. Don’t doubt the NCAA Selection committee in their wisdom to add this squad. They have the scorers to make a run.
No. 12 VCU
Could this team pull a Butler and make it back-to-back Final Four runs for a mid-major? This is a totally different squad as they return just one starter from 2011′s run. But, similar to last season’s squad they are clicking at the right time. Once again, Shaka Smart seems to have his team tournament ready and on a roll. They have played on college basketball’s biggest stage and know what it takes to get there once again.