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It's that time of year again...March Madness! With only two days remaining until picks are locked in, here are a few teams to watch out for early in the tournament.
The Ivy League champions had a strong season and have high hopes entering the tournament. Despite their low 12th seeding, they have a great chance of upsetting Notre Dame in the first round. Notre Dame faced a tough loss on Saturday night against Duke in the ACC Finals, and Princeton is on a five game win streak after beating Yale in the Ivy League Championship. They also finished undefeated in the Ivy League. Princeton will face a tough West Virginia team if they win, but their hopes should be high in the first round.
URI is hot coming into the tournament after winning eight straight to take the A-10 title. Injuries took a toll on them earlier in the season, but they are finally getting healthy at the right time. They will face Creighton in the first round, who was hot early in the season but when point guard, Maurice Watson, who led the nation in assists, went down with a season-ending injury and was arrested and charged with felony and sexual assault, their season took a turn for the worse. Rhode Island has a lot of talent and is strong defensively. You can expect to see them play well against a suffering Creighton team.
Wichita State is one of the under-seeded teams heading into the tournament. The 10 seed had a very strong season, despite expecting a rebuilding year, and finished with 30 wins and a Missouri Valley Conference title. They are one of the more under-respected team by the selection committee despite their undefeated regular season record in 2014 and their run to the Final Four in 2013. Although Dayton has had a strong season with many talented seniors, Wichita State is motivated to prove they deserved a higher seed and will show it in the first round.
Middle Tennessee is the trendy 5-12 upset to pick this year. Last year, they pulled off one of the greatest upsets every by beating second-seeded Michigan State in the first round, which busted every bracket. With many returning players, they had another strong season this year. Although Minnesota also had a great season, nothing compares to Middle Tennessee's run, and it looks like they are set to make a strong run in the tournament.
The six seed in the east is expected to thrive in this year's tournament. Although a first round victory would not be an upset, many expect SMU to defeat the three seed Baylor in the second round and the two seed Duke in the Sweet Sixteen. Their entire starting lineup is between 6'6 and 6'8, and they all shoot 40 percent or higher from three point range. They are a versatile team and can bust many brackets if they make a strong run in the tournament. Unfortunately for them, they are in a tough side of the bracket with Villanova and Duke, but it is safe to say that they have a good shot of making it to the Sweet Sixteen at least.
Published by Lia Assimakopoulos