By Jack Hamrick
Top-tier teams having so many losses says one thing: plenty of teams can do some damage in March. Some teams not only outside the top 25, but the power 5 could write history next week. Although it may be tough for the smaller schools to compete with the Duke’s and Carolina’s of the tournament, let’s see who could make a Cinderella run.
The Wildcats lack experience, as always, without a single senior this season; however, Freshman Kevin Knox has looked more and more like a lottery pick as he’s shaped into the true scorer Kentucky needed. With the youth comes speed, because the Wildcats love to play on the break. As we’ve seen time and time again, you can never count John Calipari out in the big dance. Watch out for a run to the Elite 8 or final 4 from this scary 5 seed.
Seton Hall Pirates
With wins over Texas Tech, Creighton, and Butler, Seton Hall has shown flashes of being a legit contender. Senior Desi Rodriguez leads the offense with 17.8 PPG, but will their early exit from the Big East tournament come back to hurt them? If the Pirates can make it to the second round, they could show up and ruin someone’s season in the blink of an eye.
Most of their losses by single digits, the Longhorns have come extremely close to being a ranked team. The projected lottery pick Mo Bamba protects the paint with his great size, but the Longhorns have no one else in the center. The loss of guard Andrew Jones this season to leukemia has seemed to spark the Longhorns late this season, with wins coming over Oklahoma and West Virginia. If the Longhorns can dial it in before the tournament, I can see them making a deep run.
The 5-9 seeds in this tournament can truly shake things up, with great coaches and talent all across the board. Plenty of upsets should (hopefully) happen, as the star power doesn’t fade with the lower seeded teams. To make a long story short, March should be complete madness!