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									UNC Asheville

Conference: Big South

Record: 24-9

Conference Record: 16-2

Coach: Eddie Biedenbach

Best Player: J.P. Primm

By playing good opponents like North Carolina and UConn, UNC Asheville dominated the Big
South, going 16-2 in conference play and winning their conference tournament, punching their
ticket to the Big Dance.

J.P. Primm and Matt Dickey lead this team, and they make up a great backcourt. Primm and
Dickey are two of four seniors on the team, and most of their players gained experience from
making the tournament last season, when they won their play-in game against Arkansas-Little
Rock before losing to Pittsburgh in the Round of 64.
Western Kentucky

Conference: Sun Belt

Record: 15-18

Conference Record: 7-9

Coach: Ray Harper

Best Player: Derrick Gordon

There isn't a team in the country that has undergone a roller-coaster ride like Western Kentucky,
and they are the reason I love March Madness.

The team started the season 5-14 and fired head coach Ken McDonald in the early part of the
season. After looking like all hope was lost, Ray Harper was named the team's interim head
coach, and they finished the season winning 10 of their last 14 games, including the Sun Belt
conference tournament.

After edging North Texas in the conference tournament finals, they are on their way to the Big
Dance for the first time since 2009.
LIU Brooklyn

Conference: Northeast

Record: 25-8

Conference Record: 16-2

Coach: Jim Ferry

Best Player: Julian Boyd

LIU Brooklyn are in the NCAA tournament for the second straight year. They punched their
ticket by beating Robert Morris in their conference tournament finals.

Julian Boyd and Jamal Olasewere lead this team in the frontcourt, as they are the team's top two
scorers and rebounders. Both players are juniors, which means that you can expect to see this
team back again next year, but this year they will be eliminated in the first round.

The team has next to no height at all, as Boyd and Olasewere are their tallest players at 6'7" each.
This team is in serious trouble in their first game.

Rick Stewart/Getty Images

Conference: America East

Record: 23-11

Conference Record: 13-3

Coach: John Becker

Best Player: Matt Glass

The Vermont Catamounts are a very unique team that clinched their berth in the NCAA
tournament by winning the American East conference tournament. They beat Maine, then
outlasted Hartford in double-overtime before beating Stony Brook in the tournament finals.

The team has three players who average double-digit points: Matt Glass, Four McGlynn and
Luke Apfeld. However, their leading rebounder and passer Brian Voelkel averages only 4.1
points per game to go along with 8.1 boards and 5.6 assists.

The team does not have a player who averages 30 minutes or more of playing time, but they have
10 players who average more than nine minutes per game.

Don't expect Vermont to pull off any incredible upsets this year, as their best moment was just
making it to the Big Dance.

Conference: Southland

Record: 23-11

Conference Record: 11-5

Coach: Pat Knight

Best Player: Anthony Miles

Lamar has earned a bid to the NCAA tournament by winning the Southland conference
tournament, defeating McNeese State by 21 points. The team has not lost since coach Pat Knight
called out his seniors, calling them the worst bunch of seniors he has ever coached.

Lamar is led by three players: Anthony Miles, Devon Lamb and Mike James.

James is the team's leading scorer at 16.9 points per game. Miles is second, averaging 14.7, but
he also kicks in 4.1 assists (leads team) and 4.6 rebounds per game. Lastly, Lamb is their big
man, leading the team with 8.1 boards per night, not to mention his 11.9 points.

The team has a good combination of guards and big men, but they have already gone as far as
they can, and they will not make it to the Round of 32.
Mississippi Valley State

Conference: SWAC

Record: 21-12

Conference Record: 17-1

Coach: Sean Woods

Best Player: Paul Crosby

Mississippi Valley State punched its ticket to the Big Dance with a 71-69 win over Texas
Southern in the SWAC conference tournament.

The Delta Devils are led by their inside-outside combination of Paul Crosby and Terrence
Joyner, who are their leading scorers at 13.6 and 13.4 points per game respectively.

Mississippi State is easily one of the worst teams in the tournament, and they will be heading
home in the Round of 64.
Loyola (MD)

Conference: MAAC

Record: 24-8

Conference Record: 13-5

Coach: Jimmy Patsos

Best Player: Erik Etherly

After beating Fairfield by four, Loyola (MD) is on their way to the NCAA tournament. MAAC
Coach of the Year Jimmy Patsos has led his team to the Big Dance, where they will try to win
their first NCAA tournament game in school history.

The Greyhounds are led by their underclassmen, including junior Erik Etherly, and sophomores
Dylon Cormier and Robert Olson. They also have MAAC Sixth Man of the Year Justin
Drummond on their team.

Senior Shane Walker fills the middle for the team, but their focus is on guard-play. They
Greyhounds certainly have the talent in the backcourt they need to win, and their biggest
question mark will be in the middle, as Walker is their biggest player at 6'10".

Conference: Horizon League

Record: 22-13

Conference Record: 11-7

Coach: Ray McCallum

Best Player: Ray McCallum Jr.

Detroit clinched its first trip to the Big Dance since 1999 with a win over Cleveland State in the
conference tournament finals.

The Titans hired Ray McCallum four years ago, and this is the first time during his tenure that
they are part of March Madness.

The leader for the team is Ray McCallum Jr., the son of coach Ray McCallum. He leads the team
with 15.6 points and 3.9 assists per game as a sophomore. He was named a Wooden preseason
Top 50 player, and he is the reason the team has done so well this year.

McCallum and Chase Simon make up a great backcourt for the Titans, and they will be the key
for the team's success in the Big Dance.
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Norfolk State

Conference: MEAC

Record: 25-9

Conference Record: 13-3

Coach: Anthony Evans

Best Player: Kyle O'Quinn

Norfolk State clinched its first trip to the Big Dance with a win over Bethune-Cookman in the
MEAC conference tournament finals.

The Spartans are led by Kyle O'Quinn, who averages a double-double with 15.9 points and 10.5
rebounds per game. O'Quinn led the team against Bethune-Cookman with 18 points and seven

His stats are actually down from last year, but he is shooting 58.6 percent from the floor and
passing it to teammates more often.

The Spartans have reached their goals for the season, and now you can expect them to be blown
out in the Big Dance, but that is all they wanted.

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Conference: Patriot League

Record: 24-9

Conference Record:11-3

Coach: Brett Reed

Best Player: C.J. McCollum

The Patriot League hasn't done much in recent memory, but Lehigh has a chance to pull of an
upset this year.

With C.J. McCollum leading the team, they always have a chance to win games. McCollum
averages 21.9 points per game, which is good enough for the sixth-most in the country. He also
leads the team in rebounds with 6.5 per game, and he is second in assists at 3.5 per contest.

While there is only a small chance that Lehigh can actually manage an upset, if McCollum has a
good game the team can hang with most teams in the field of 68.

While I'm not saying that you should pick Lehigh to win their first game (I'm not), they should
keep their game relatively close.

Harry How/Getty Images

Conference: Atlantic Sun

Record: 26-7

Conference Record: 16-2

Coach: Rick Byrd

Best Player: Kerron Johnson

Belmont is a dangerous team who stacked their early schedule with games against great teams
like Duke (who they lost to by one) and Memphis.

Kerron Johnson and Ian Clark have been key as of late, and the Bruins are on a 14-game winning
streak. Johnson dealt with an injury that kept him out of his game on March 2 but then came
back the next day and was the key performer for the team.

With three seniors, this team is not at its peak just yet, but they do have some experience, playing
in last year's NCAA tournament, and coach Rick Byrd has taken the team to five of the last seven
NCAA tournaments.

This team could be dangerous.
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Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Conference: MAAC

Record: 25-7

Conference Record: 15-3

Coach: Tim Cluess

Best Player: Scott Machado

Iona has the potential to be this year's VCU. The team has quite a few great players, and if they
get hot during their play-in game against BYU they have the potential to go on a run.

Point guard Scott Machado is the best in the nation, averaging 9.9 assists per game. He is also
second in rebounds with 5.0 per game, and he averages 13.9 points per game.

The Gaels also have big man Mike Glover and guard Lamont Jones helping them, as they are the
team's best scorers, combining for 34.5 points per game.

The Gaels have a lot of potential and should not be taken lightly.

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Conference: WCC

Record: 25-8

Conference Record: 12-8

Coach: Dave Rose

Best Player: Brandon Davies

BYU doesn't have Jimmer Fredette anymore, but they still have two forwards who lead their
team: Brandon Davies and Noah Hartsock.

These two forwards combine for 31.7 points and 12.5 rebounds per game. They are a good
combination inside, and Davies can still be a dominant player at times like he was before his

Freshman Matt Carlino is the team's point guard, averaging 4.7 assists per game, and he needs to
feed the ball inside or step out and hit his jumpers if the team is going to pull off an upset.
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Saint Bonaventure

Conference: A-10

Record: 20-11

Conference Record: 10-6

Coach: Mark Schmidt

Best Player: Andrew Nicholson

Saint Bonaventure stole a bid to the Big Dance by upsetting Xavier in the A-10 tournament
finals. The Bonnies clinched an automatic bid, pushing one team off of the bubble.

The team is led by big men Demitrius Conger and Andrew Nicholson, who combine for more
than 30 points and 14 rebounds per game.

While this team pulled off an upset of Xavier, I can't see them going very far in the NCAA

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South Dakota State

Conference: Summit League

Record: 27-7

Conference Record: 15-3

Coach: Terry Vandrovec

Best Player: Nate Wolters

The South Dakota State Jackrabbits will make their first trip to the Big Dance in school history
this year. After edging Western Illinois by two points in overtime, the team will look to make a
splash during their first trip.

The team is led by junior Nate Wolters. He leads the team in points, rebounds, assists and steals
per game. He is also their best free-throw shooter. Wolters is No. 8 in the country in points per
game at 21.3, but he also averages 5.2 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 1.7 steals per game.

Wolters will be the key for the team in the NCAA tournament, and if he has a good game the
team has a chance to make some noise.

Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Conference: Southern

Record: 25-7

Conference Record: 16-2

Coach: Bob McKillop

Best Player: De'Mon Brooks

After besting Western Carolina in double-overtime, Davidson is back in the NCAA tournament.
This is the school's 11th appearance in the Big Dance, but their first since Stephen Curry led
them to the Elite Eight in 2008, when they eventually lost to national champion Kansas.

This year's team is led by sophomore De'Mon Brooks and junior Jake Cohen. They make a good
combination, but they are not at the same level as Curry was when he led the Wildcats.

I don't see this team going very far in the tournament this year, and if they win one game I will
be surprised. Look for Davidson to do much better next season, however, when their
underclassmen become upperclassmen.

Conference: MAC

Record: 27-7

Conference Record: 11-5

Coach: John Groce

Best Player: D.J. Cooper

Ohio basketball is back in March Madness after beating Akron in the MAC conference
tournament. During the team's last trip they beat Georgetown in 2010.

The Bobcats are led by guards D.J. Cooper and Walter Offutt. Cooper leads the team in points
and assists per game at 14.6 and 5.7 respectively, and Offutt is second in both categories with
11.7 and 1.7.

While the Bobcats probably aren't going to pull off another big upset this year, they won't go
down without a fight.

Conference: Big Sky

Record: 25-6

Conference Record: 15-1

Coach: Wayne Tinkle

Best Player: Will Cherry

Led by their skilled backcourt of Will Cherry and Kareem Jamar, Montana clinched the ninth
tournament bid in school history by blowing out Weber State by 19 points in the Big Sky
conference tournament finals.

The Grizzlies don't have a lot of size apart from seven-footer Derek Selvig, and he won't be
enough to allow the team to last more than one game in the Big Dance.
New Mexico State

Conference: WAC

Record: 26-9

Conference Record: 10-4

Coach: Marvin Menzies

Best Player: Wendell McKines

New Mexico State earned its trip to the NCAA tournament with a 25-point win over Louisiana
Tech in the WAC conference tournament.

Wendell McKines gives the team a good presence inside with his double-double average of 18.8
points and 10.8 rebounds per game.

The Aggies have a chance to pull off an upset and be this year's Morehead State, but the much
more likely course of action is to lose their first game.
South Florida

Chris Trotman/Getty Images

Conference: Big East

Record: 20-13

Conference Record: 12-6

Coach: Stan Heath

Best Player: Augustus Gilchrist

Without a single player scoring double-digit points per game, South Florida doesn't have much
star power.

South Florida has next to no experience in the Big Dance, as their only two trips came in 1990
and 1992.

They don't have what it takes for a winning combination, and I can't see this team winning their
first NCAA tournament game in school history this year.

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Conference: CAA

Record: 28-6

Conference Record: 15-3

Coach: Shaka Smart

Best Player: Bradford Burgess

They're ba-ack.

The VCU Rams shocked the world with their run to the Final Four as a No. 11 seed last year.
Led by coach Shaka Smart, the Rams made a run from their play-in game to the Final Four that
we will never forget.

This year the Rams are coming off a three-point-win against Drexel in the CAA conference
tournament championship game. They already have momentum, and having more than a week
off between games will give Smart more than enough time to prepare.

With a trio of Bradford Burgess, Troy Daniels and Juvonte Reddic, the Rams have the talent they
need to repeat their run from last year. While I won't guarantee anything, I can say that it would
not shock me if they made it to the Final Four again this year.
Long Beach State

Eric Francis/Getty Images

Conference: Big West

Record: 28-8

Conference Record: 15-1

Coach: Dan Monson

Best Player: T.J. Robinson

Long Beach State started the season with a win at No. 9 Pittsburgh by 10 points and was
immediately dubbed as a Cinderella to watch this season. They have played five Top-25 teams
(all non-conference) this season, going 2-3 against them.

The 49ers have three players leading them, including their top two scorers and passers: Casper
Ware and Larry Anderson. These two make up a good backcourt that combines for 30.9 points
and 6.3 assists per game.

However, the best player on this team is T.J. Robinson, who averages a double-double at 12.2
points and 10.2 rebounds per game. The senior is playing well and looking for an upset in the
Big Dance.

Senior leadership is key in March Madness, and this team has seven seniors, including Ware,
Anderson and Robinson. This team has a great deal of potential, and they are a big question mark
on everyone's brackets.

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Conference: Pac-12

Record: 24-9

Conference Record: 13-5

Coach: Mike Montgomery

Best Player: Jorge Gutierrez

California is led by a combination of two players: Jorge Gutierrez and Allen Crabbe. These two
combine for 28.4 points and 11 rebounds per night, but they each have other contributions as

Gutierrez is the best defender in the Pac-12. He is a shut-down defender who can disrupt an
opponent's offense. He is also second on the team in assists, averaging 4.1 per game.

Crabbe is the team's leading scorer, but he also kicks in 5.7 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game.

While Cal hasn't played many good teams this year because they play in the Pac-12, in the two
games they did play they went 0-2 against Top 25 teams. This is not a winning combination, and
I can't see them pulling off the upset in their first game.

Conference: Harvard

Record: 26-4

Conference Record: 12-2

Coach: Tommy Amaker

Beat Player: Keith Wright

Harvard basketball has been making headlines all season, for two different reasons. First,
because of Jeremy Lin, but more importantly, because they made the Top 25 for the first time in
school history.

Their dynamic duo of Keith Wright and Kyle Casey makes them a tough team to beat. However,
these forwards can't do it all, which is why point guard Brandyn Curry's five assists per game is
vital for the team's success.

The Crimson have already had the best season in school history, and they have made the NCAA
tournament for the first time in since 1946. Their next goal is to secure their first tournament win
in school history.
Colorado State

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Conference: MWC

Record: 20-11

Conference Record: 8-6

Coach: Tim Miles

Best Player: Wes Eikmeier

Colorado State has a very balanced roster, which could help them win one game, but without
stars they will not make it to the Sweet Sixteen.

Wes Eikmeier leads the team, but you could also make a case that Dorian Green is their best
player. Greg Smith and Pierce Hornung play significant roles for the team as well, as they are the
team's top rebounders, while Jesse Carr leads in assists.

I believe the Rams to be lucky to have even made it to the Big Dance, because there is next to no
chance that they win a single game.
North Carolina State

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Conference: ACC

Record: 22-12

Conference Record: 9-7

Coach: Mark Gottfried

Best Player: C.J. Leslie

North Carolina State barely hung on to an at-large bid, thanks to their upset of Virginia in the
ACC tournament.

Now the Wolfpack is looking to make some noise and pull off an upset of San Diego State in the
first round. Sophomore C.J. Leslie will be crucial to this team's success, and he cannot foul out
like he did against North Carolina.

The Wolfpack is riding high and looking to continue that pattern in the Big Dance.

Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Conference: Big 12

Record: 20-13

Conference Record: 9-9

Coach: Rick Barnes

Best Player: J'Covan Brown

Texas took one of the last at-large bids in the Big Dance, and they are looking to upset
Cincinnati in the first round.

The team is led by J'Covan Brown, who averages 20.1 points (first on the team, 15th in the
country) and 3.8 assists (second on the team) per game. Brown is a dangerous player, but the
deciding factor will be the play of freshman Myck Kabongo, who has been very streaky.

I can't see the Longhorns upsetting a team that made such a deep run in the Big East tournament,
but it is possible if Kabongo has a good game.

Conference: Pac-12

Record: 23-11

Conference Record: 11-7

Coach: Tad Boyle

Best Player: Andre Roberson

Colorado is in the Big Dance because they won the Pac-12 conference tournament. The Pac-12
used to be a power conference, but now conferences like the Mountain West and A-10 are
surpassing them.

The team relies on big man Andre Roberson, who averages a double-double at 11.6 points and
11.1 rebounds per game. They also have Carlon Brown on the outside, who is the team's leading
scorer at 12.6 points per game.

This team may be good enough to beat Pac-12 opponents, but once they face a team from one of
the power five conferences they are in trouble.
West Virginia

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Conference: Big East

Record: 19-13

Conference Record: 9-9

Coach: Bob Huggins

Best Player: Kevin Jones

West Virginia is led by senior center Kevin Jones, who is one of the best big men in the nation.
Bob Huggins has had some great success with this kid, and he is now reaping the rewards.

Jones averages 20.1 points and 11.1 rebounds per game, both of which lead the team. He is a
highly efficient big man who dominates in the post. He is an intimidating presence on both ends
of the court, and he knows how to take over a game.

The Mountaineers have a great coach in Huggins, who has a lot of postseason experience. With
Jones inside and senior guard Darryl Bryant (17.2 points per game) on the outside, this team
looks good on paper.

The problem for West Virginia is their record against top-25 teams. They are 1-7 against top-25
competition this season, and despite all of their talent I would not be surprised to see them lose
their first game.

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Conference: A-10

Record: 21-12

Conference Record: 10-6

Coach: Chris Mack

Best Player: Tu Holloway

Xavier is looking to make people forget about their brawl against Cincinnati this season by
winning a few games in the Big Dance.

Their backcourt will be key, as Tu Holloway is the best scoring point guard in the country at 17.0
points per game, and Mark Lyons is a great shooting guard averaging 15.5 points per game.

The team needs big men Kenny Frease and Andre Walker to step up if they are going to make
some noise this year, as their frontcourt is their biggest concern.

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Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Conference: Big Ten

Record: 21-12

Conference Record: 10-8

Coach: Matt Painter

Best Player: Robbie Hummel

Robbie Hummel missed all of last season due to an ACL tear during Midnight Madness, but he is
back for his senior season, and he is leading Purdue.

Hummel leads the team in points and rebounds per game, averaging 16.6 and 7.0 per game. He is
also second in assists with 2.0 per game.

Purdue's point guard, Lewis Jackson, is also their second-best scorer, and he gives the team a
good inside-outside combination.

The Boilermakers aren't going to make a deep run in this year's tourney compared to previous
years, but we can only hope they send Hummel out in style.

Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Conference: ACC

Record: 22-9

Conference Record: 9-7

Coach: Tony Bennett

Best Player: Mike Scott

Virginia suffered an early loss to North Carolina State in the ACC tournament, but they have had
a lot of time to rest and prepare for the Big Dance.

The team is led by big man Mike Scott, whose 18.1 points and 8.4 rebounds per game both lead
the team. Their outside presence is Joe Harris, who can score in bunches and step out and knock
down threes.

The Cavaliers have lost six of their last nine game, including three of the last four. The team has
stumbled to the finish line, which could lead to an early exit in the NCAA tournament as well.

Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Conference: SEC

Record: 21-11

Conference Record: 9-7

Coach: Anthony Grant

Best Player: JaMychal Green

Alabama took a big blow when forward Tony Mitchell was suspended for the rest of the season,
but they still have JaMychal Green cleaning up inside. Green is doing well, averaging 13.7 points
and 7.3 boards per game, both of which lead the team.

The team also has Trevor Releford and Trevor Lacey leading the backcourt, as well as Andrew
Steele. The Trevors can score in bunches, while Steele leads the team in assists.

'Bama had a good chance of making some noise when they still had Mitchell, but without him
they no longer have a good frontcourt outside of Green, and they could meet an early exit.

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Saint Louis

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Conference: A-10

Record: 25-6

Conference Record: 12-4

Coach: Jay Spoonhour

Best Player: Brian Conklin

After coach Charlie Spoonhour died from a lung affliction that caused scarring of the lung earlier
this season, the Saint Louis Billikens are looking to make some noise in the Big Dance for him.

Spoonhour was replaced by his son Jay, and the team has gone 9-1 since the news broke. Led by
Brian Conklin and Kwamain Mitchell, the Billikens are having a great season. They are back in
the NCAA tournament for the first time in over a decade, and looking for the fourth win in
school history.

The team has beaten quite a few teams from power conferences, including Boston College,
Washington, Villanova and Oklahoma. They have also beaten in-conference foe Xavier twice.

The Billikens have a lot to play for this year, and I see that motivation getting them at least one

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Southern Miss

Conference: Conference USA

Record: 25-8

Conference Record: 11-5

Coach: Larry Eustachy

Best Player: Neil Watson

Southern Miss has never won game in the Big Dance. The program is 0-2 in their two trips, with
their last being more than two decades ago (1991).

The Golden Eagles are a deep team, with five players averaging double-digit points per game.
Among those five are leading-rebounder Jonathan Mills and point guard Neil Watson, who leads
the team in assists.

The Eagles have good height, with three players standing at 6'10" or taller. They also have the
quick guards who can help a team make a deep run in the Big Dance, but they still have a glaring

The team is among the worst teams in the country in field goal percentage, ranking No. 253. If
they are going to win their first game in the Big Dance then they need to be able to hit their shots
when they get them—especially leading scorers Watson and LaShay Page, who both shoot under
40 percent from the floor.

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Conference: Big East

Record: 20-13

Conference Record: 8-10

Coach: Jim Calhoun

Best Player: Jeremy Lamb

As the reigning national champs, UConn had a target on their back from the beginning of the
season. Being ranked No. 4 in the country didn't help either, but they started to fade from the top
25 as the season went on.

The team still has some signs of potential success that cannot be denied, however. They have an
excellent coach in Jim Calhoun and an amazing starting five. If every player plays to his
potential, the team is next to unstoppable.

Led by Jeremy Lamb, the team was good. With Shabazz Napier hitting his stride the team was
even better. If Andre Drummond can use the hype of the tournament for motivation to dominate
his opponents, the team will be great.

This team was ranked No. 4 for a reason, and indeed many people considered that one spot too
low. They still have that potential, and if they play the way they did in their last game (a three-
point loss to Syracuse), then they should win at least one game, but probably more.
Iowa State

Conference: Big 12

Record: 22-10

Conference Record: 12-6

Coach: Fred Hoiberg

Best Player: Royce White

Iowa State has had an amazing season on the back of sophomore Royce White. The Cyclones
have hovered around the top 25 for most of the season and were ranked No. 25 in the country
during the week preceding the tournament.

Wins against Baylor and Kansas have Iowa State looking like a great team, and they certainly
have the potential to do some damage.

The Cyclones have some great games like they had in eight-point-wins against Baylor and
Kansas, but they also have some bad games like their seven-point-loss to Northern Iowa at home.

They are a streaky team, and their ability to have a great game one night and play like a D-III
school the next is worrisome.

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Conference: C-USA

Record: 26-8

Conference Record: 13-3

Coach: Josh Pastner

Best Player: Will Barton

Memphis is led by a pair of sophomores in Will Barton and Tarik Black. The two are the top
scorers and rebounders on the team, with Barton leading the team in each.

Barton is a true star, averaging 18.3 points and 8.0 rebounds per game. He is the player who will
be the team's go-to-guy in the clutch, but Black is a great complementary player, averaging 10.9
points and 5.0 rebounds per contest.

Joe Jackson and Chris Crawford make up an all-sophomore backcourt as well, and they both
average over nine points and just under four assists per game. While Barton is listed as a guard,
he can frequently take over the small forward role as well.

If this team still had Adonis Thomas who is out indefinitely, the team would be in a great
position to make a Sweet Sixteen run. Unfortunately they are without him, which could prove
Kansas State

Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Conference: Big 12

Record: 21-10

Conference Record: 10-8

Coach: Frank Martin

Best Player: Rodney McGruder

Kansas State has had quite a bit of experience against top-10 teams, playing in the Big 12. They
have beaten Missouri twice this year, by 16 and 10 points. They have also beaten Baylor in
conference play and Alabama in non-conference play.

Big men Rodney McGruder and Jamar Samuels lead this team, but guards Will Spradling and
Angel Rodriguez give this team a solid backcourt.

The team is 4-4 against top-25 opponents, but all of their losses have come at the hands of
Baylor or Kansas. As long as they don't run into an elite team, the Wildcats should be fine.

Eric Francis/Getty Images

Conference: Missouri Valley Conference

Record: 28-5

Conference Record: 14-4

Coach: Greg McDermott

Best Player: Doug McDermott

Creighton is one of the mid-majors with the potential to make a deep run in the tournament this
year. They are an interesting team when it comes to filling out the bracket because they have the
potential to make a deep run or flop in their first or second game.

The team will go as Doug McDermott goes, as he is easily their best player. He is going to need
to step up if Creighton is going to reach their potential, as he is both their leading scorer and

Creighton reminds me of BYU from last year, and McDermott is this year's Jimmer Fredette.

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Conference: WCC

Record: 25-6

Conference Record: 13-3

Coach: Mark Few

Best Player: Kevin Pangos

Gonzaga's two-headed attack of point guard Kevin Pangos and big man Elias Harris has served
them well this season. They have a great inside-outside combo that will be their focus in the
NCAA tournament.

The Bulldogs have dominated in the WCC, and with only two non-conference losses to Illinois
and Michigan State, they have earned a spot in the top-25.

The Bulldogs proved that they are legit in a 20-point rout of Notre Dame at home this season.
They are ready for the Big Dance and should be seen as a dangerous team.
Saint Mary's

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Conference: WCC

Record: 27-5

Conference Record: 14-2

Coach: Randy Bennett

Best Player: Matthew Dellavedova

Saint Mary's looks like they're legit as they enter the NCAA tournament.

With point guard Matthew Dellavedova scoring 15.4 points and dropping 6.5 assists per game,
the Gaels have a good option in the backcourt. Rob Jones is their big man, scoring 14.7 points
and grabbing 10.8 rebounds per game, and he gives the team a good inside presence.

In their three games against top-25 teams, the Gaels proved that they can hang with most teams
in college basketball. On a good day this team is deadly, but I wouldn't expect them to make it
past the Sweet Sixteen.
Notre Dame

Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Conference: Big East

Record: 22-11

Conference Record: 13-5

Coach: Mike Brey

Best Player: Jerian Grant

With Tim Abromaitis out for the season due to a knee injury, Notre Dame must play in the
NCAA tournament without their best player.

Jerian Grant is their point guard, and he leads the team in points and assists per game among
healthy players.

Grant is going to need to play a bigger role in the Big Dance, but I wouldn't expect Notre Dame
to pull off a run to the Sweet Sixteen this year since they have lost their best player.

Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Conference: SEC

Record: 23-10

Conference Record: 10-6

Coach: Billy Donovan

Best Player: Brad Beal

The Florida Gators have arguably the best backcourt in the country. With four legitimate starters,
this team is deep and talented when it comes to guard-play.

However, the Gators do lack the inside presence to stick with some of the best teams in the
country. Patric Young is their best big man, and it is not unusual for him to be the only player in
the frontcourt on the floor at times, with four guards surrounding him.

The biggest flaw for Florida is rebounding. While Young is a good rebounder, they need
someone else as well. This is what makes Brad Beal their best player. He is a great scorer with a
very smooth shot that draws comparisons to Ray Allen, but he is also one of their leading
rebounders despite being only 6'3”.

The way to beat the Gators is to either negate their guards or pound the ball inside. If you can
dominate on the glass against them, then you have what it takes to beat them.

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Conference: MWC

Record: 26-8

Conference Record: 9-5

Coach: Dave Rice

Best Player: Mike Moser

UNLV first made headlines this season when they handed No. 1 North Carolina their first loss of
the season, winning by 10 points on a neutral court.

Since then, the Rebels have consistently been in the top 25, thanks in large part to sophomore
Mike Moser, who leads the team in points (14.0) and rebounds (10.7) per game.

The Rebels are 2-2 against top-25 teams this season. They are faring relatively well against elite
teams and have proven that they can handle whatever is thrown at them.

Nick Laham/Getty Images

Conference: Big East

Record: 24-10

Conference Record: 12-6

Coach: Mick Cronin

Best Player: Sean Kilpatrick

Cincinnati made headlines when their game against Xavier was ended early due to a fight that
broke out, but now they are trying to make people forget about that with a run in this year's
NCAA tournament.

The Bearcats are in the Big Dance for the second time under coach Mick Cronin and the second
time in two years. They are led by their backcourt of Sean Kilpatrick and Dion Dixon, but Yancy
Gates is the one who anchors their frontcourt.

The Bearcats have guard play and an inside presence, which can go far in March. They also have
senior leadership and postseason experience, which are also invaluable.

Cincinnati is a solid team, but come March, solid teams can either be made to look as fools or
can make deep runs. The only question will be whether this team shows up or not in their games,
as they are a very inconsistent team.
        San Diego State

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Conference: MWC

Record: 26-7

Conference Record: 10-4

Coach: Steve Fisher

Best Player: Jamaal Franklin

San Diego State is not quite as good as they were last year, but they are still a top 25-team. They
went 3-3 against Top 25 teams in the regular season.

Jamaal Franklin and Chase Tapley are the leaders of this team, and they make a dangerous 1-2
punch. However, like any other mid-major, they are a risky pick in any game.

If a team isn't in one of the power six conferences (outside of the Pac-12), they haven't played
much in-conference competition, unless they are in the Mountain West. Playing against UNLV,
New Mexico and others gives this team the ability to play against top teams.
Murray State

Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Conference: Ohio Valley

Record: 30-1

Conference Record: 15-1

Coach: Steve Prohm

Best Player: Isaiah Canaan

After reeling off 23 straight wins to start the season, the Murray State Racers lost one game to
rival Tennessee State before winning seven more to finish the season 30-1.

Steve Prohm's first season for the Racers could not have gone better. In less than 12 months he
has brought the team to their best season in history, and making a run in the NCAA tournament
will put him in the same category as Brad Stevens and Shaka Smart.

Prohm was helped along by junior Isaiah Canaan, senior Ivan Aska and senior Donte Poole.
Canaan is a National Player of the Year candidate, and combining him and Poole into a
backcourt is highly effective. Aska, on the other hand, gives the team a presence in the paint.

Murray State has not had many games against top-25 teams, but they did beat No. 20 Memphis
by four on the road, and they blew No. 16 Saint Mary's out by 14 points in their game.

They are a questionable team in the tournament because they are a relative unknown, but I have
faith in them.
New Mexico

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Conference: Mountain West

Record: 27-6

Conference Record: 10-4

Coach: Steve Alford

Best Player: Drew Gordon

The Lobos of New Mexico are led by their inside-outside combination of Drew Gordon and
Kendall Williams. The two are the team's best scorers, and they each lead in rebounds or assists.

New Mexico had its hands full in the legitimate Mountain West Conference this year, as they
played top-25 teams like UNLV and San Diego State. They have a great roster with some special
players like Gordon and Williams, which will serve them well in the Big Dance.

The team is looking to earn their first Sweet Sixteen trip in the current format, as the only time
they have never won two games in a row in the Big Dance.

With the way their team looks, they have a pretty good chance to do so as long as they don't go

Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Conference: SEC

Record: 24-10

Conference Record: 11-6

Coach: Kevin Stallings

Best Player: John Jenkins

Vanderbilt is an offensively-oriented team that has a lot of potential this year. However, if they
fail to play defense then they could have an early exit.

The team is led by John Jenkins, who averages 20 points per game, while Jeffery Taylor also
kicks in over 17 per contest. The team averages in the mid-seventies in points per game, but they
are very sporadic and can score 100 points one night and then 60 the next.

The key for this team may not be Jenkins' scoring ability, as he is relatively consistent. What is
key is defense, which is led by senior center Festus Ezeli. Defense was the reason the
Commodores beat No. 1 Kentucky in the SEC tournament.

Chris Chambers/Getty Images

Conference: A-10

Record: 24-7

Conference Record: 13-3

Coach: Fran Dunphy

Best Player: Ramone Moore

I had the opportunity to see Temple play in person during their win against Duke, and I can tell
you that this team can be dangerous.

Ramone Moore and Khalif Wyatt are skilled players with the ability to explode at any moment.
The team has pretty good size, which is highlighted in senior center Michael Eric.

When they knocked off Duke, the Owls shot over 56 percent from the floor, including 50 percent
from three. If they are shooting well, the Owls can beat just about any team in the country.

The Owls consistently score in the 70s, scoring between 64 and 90 points in all of their games
this season. The way to beat them is through their defense.
Wichita State

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Conference: MVC

Record: 27-5

Conference Record: 16-2

Coach: Gregg Marshall

Best Player: Garrett Stutz

After winning the NIT tournament last year, Wichita State is now a top-25 team, and they are
ready for the Big Dance.

The Shockers have become one of the mid-majors to take the college basketball world by storm,
on the back of Garrett Stutz and Joe Ragland. Ragland is a great point guard, while Stutz secures
the team inside, leading them in rebounding. Stutz and Ragland are also the team's leading

Of all the mid-majors who are looking to be this year's Cinderella and potentially make it to the
Final Four, Wichita State is my favorite. While I don't think they can repeat what VCU and
Butler did last year, they should be able to make a deep run in this year's tournament.

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Conference: Big East

Record: 26-9

Conference Record: 10-8

Coach: Rick Pitino

Beat Player: Kyle Kuric

Louisville was one of the last undefeated teams in the country, but they have gone downhill since
starting the season 12-0.

The Cardinals are a deep team, which made it next to impossible to pick their best player. You
could make a case for Peyton Siva, Russ Smith, Chris Smith or Kyle Kuric, and no one could say
that you were definitively wrong for any of them.

This team is deep and balanced, and with Rick Pitino at the helm, they have a lot of potential in
the tournament this year. They already showed that they are legit by winning the Big East
tournament, and they look to continue that success.

They are undefeated against non-conference opponents (apart from No. 1 Kentucky who just
about everyone has lost to), so as long as they don't run into an elite team from the Big East they
have a good chance of making a deep run.

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Conference: Big Ten

Record: 25-8

Conference Record: 11-7

Coach: Tom Crean

Best Player: Cody Zeller

Indiana has gone from unranked to No. 15 in the country. The Hoosiers started the season by
winning 12 games in a row for a perfect non-conference schedule. During that strecth they dealt
No. 1 Kentucky their only non-conference loss of the season on Christian Watford's buzzer-
beating three-pointer.

The Hoosiers have been led by Cody Zeller, who has emerged as the team's best player. He is
then followed by Watford.

Zeller went from a middle-of-the-pack Top-100 recruit who didn't warrant a lot of attention to
leading the Hoosiers in points (15.4) and rebounds (6.4) per game. Watford is second in both
categories, averaging 11.8 points and 5.6 boards per game.

The Hoosiers have a lot of potential, and when they're hot they can beat any team in the country.

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Conference: Big Ten

Record: 24-9

Conference Record: 13-5

Coach: John Beilein

Best Player: Trey Burke

Michigan has had a good amount of success this season, reaching the top 10 in the AP Poll the
week before the tournament.

While we all expected Tim Hardaway Jr. to be the team's go-to-guy, Trey Burke has emerged as
their leading scorer and point guard. They have succeeded through their difficult schedule in the
Big Ten, and they are ready for the Big Dance.

The Wolverines went 3-2 against teams ranked in the top nine in the country, and they have
succeeded against some of the best teams in the country, beating teams like Michigan State and
Ohio State.

Michigan has a lot of potential, but they have been inconsistent throughout the season. If the
team can get hot during the first few games of the tournament, they have what it takes to make a
deep run this year.

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Florida State

Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Conference: ACC

Record: 24-9

Conference Record: 12-4

Coach: Leonard Hamilton

Best Player: Michael Snaer

Florida State is the third-best team in the ACC behind North Carolina and Duke. They have the
potential to beat some of the best teams in the country as they showed in a 33-point win against
UNC and a three point win against Duke on the road on Michael Snaer's buzzer-beating three.

The team then beat Duke again in the ACC tournament, holding the Blue Devils to only 59

Leonard Hamilton's teams can typically be counted upon to play good defense, and this team is
no exception. However, they are very streaky when it comes to offense, which could be a big

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Conference: Big East

Record: 23-8

Conference Record: 12-6

Coach: John Thompson III

Best Player: Jason Clark

John Thompson III is looking to bring Georgetown back to the Final Four this season. While
that's a tall order for a team ranked No. 14 in the country, Thompson has the experience and
players to do so.

Jason Clark is the best player on the team in my mind, but you could also make a case for Hollis
Thompson or Henry Sims. Any way you look at it, the Hoyas have three great players who can
help them make a run.

While we love to watch one star lead a team in March Madness, Georgetown will rely on two or
three of these players having a good game in each round.

With a talented, balanced roster, this team has the potential to go far. However, they've also had
a tendency to lose bad games away from home, including an 18-point loss to Seton Hall.

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Conference: Big 12

Record: 27-7

Conference Record: 12-6

Coach: Scott Drew

Best Player: Perry Jones III

Before the season started, I pegged Baylor as a team to keep an eye on because they were
underrated and had the potential to win it all. They still do, and I would not be surprised at all to
see them go to the Final Four or even cut down the nets on the first Monday of April.

With Perry Jones III, Quincy Miller and Quincy Acy, this team has arguably one of the best
frontcourts in the nation. All three of these guys are big and athletic, which allows Baylor to runs
the court better than just about any team in college basketball.

The X-factor for Baylor is guard play. In the preseason it looked like the team would rely heavily
on junior point guard A.J. Walton, but he has struggled. Instead, fellow junior Pierre Jackson has
become a great point guard with the ability to drop 25 points in a game as well.

This team has what it takes to be great. While they went 0-4 against Missouri and Kansas in the
regular season, they can beat just about anyone in college basketball, and they should not be
taken lightly.

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Conference: Big East

Record: 25-7

Conference Record: 14-4

Coach: Buzz Williams

Best Player: Jae Crowder

Led by Darius Johnson-Odom and Jae Crowder, Marquette has quietly put together a great
season. They are one of the best teams in the Big East this season, beating some of the best
programs in the nations.

Their two-headed attack of DJO and Crowder is one of the best in the nation, and these two
athletic players will be key for Marquette's success in the tournament.

This team typically makes the NCAA tournament, and with their experience from the last few
years they know what they have to do to make a deep run this year.
Ohio State

Leon Halip/Getty Images

Conference: Big Ten

Record: 27-7

Conference Record: 13-5

Coach: Thad Matta

Best Player: Jared Sullinger

One year removed from losing only two games in the regular season, Ohio State is not what they
were last year. Losing David Lighty and Jon Diebler has hurt, yet they are still a good team.

Jared Sullinger is still one of the best centers in the game today, and coupling his inside presence
with the outside shooting of William Buford gives the Buckeyes a feared inside-outside

Thad Matta's crew is still a very good team despite losing some key players. While they aren't
the best team in the nation this year, they have what it takes to make a run to the Elite Eight.

The way to beat OSU is in the paint. If an opponent has someone who can match up with Jared
Sullinger, and they can disrupt Ohio State's shooters, that team has a good chance of beating the

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Conference: ACC

Record: 27-6

Conference Record: 13-3

Coach: Mike Krzyzewski

Best Player: Austin Rivers

Mike Krzyzewski doesn't have one of his great teams this year, but they get the job done. With
Austin Rivers, Seth Curry, Andre Dawkins, Quinn Cook and even Ryan Kelly shooting threes,
Duke can beat anyone if their threes are falling.

However, this is a small team that relies too heavily on threes. They are going to have a tough
time in the tournament, and I see them losing in the first game they play against a team with an
elite big man or two.

Duke simply cannot hang with teams with good frontcourts unless they shoot lights-out from
three, as demonstrated in their games against North Carolina.

I see Duke going home in the Sweet Sixteen again.

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Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Conference: Big 12

Record: 30-4

Conference Record: 14-4

Coach: Frank Haith

Best Player: Marcus Denmon

Under new coach Frank Haith, Missouri has become a national program. They are deep and
talented, and they have a lot of potential, which they proved by winning the Big 12 tournament.

Marcus Denmon and Kim English sent a message to both their fans and the world when they told
their fans not to storm the court after they beat Kansas at home.

This shows that they truly believe that they are deserving of national recognition and that
toppling Kansas from their perch atop the Big 12 is not a big accomplishment, nor is it their goal.

With Denmon, English, the Pressey brothers (Phil and Matt), Ricardo Ratliffe and more, this
team is very talented and has what it takes to make a Final Four run.

Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Conference: Big 12

Record: 27-6

Conference Record: 16-2

Coach: Bill Self

Best Player: Thomas Robinson

With National Player of the Year candidate Thomas Robinson and Tyshawn Taylor leading the
way, the Kansas Jayhawks are a dangerous team.

Bill Self is a great coach with a ton of experience in the Big Dance. The team consistently makes
it to the NCAA tournament, and that is certainly going to be beneficial, as having an experienced
team is an important asset.

Great coaching, experience and talent make this team one of the best in the country. After
competing in a talent Big 12 that features Missouri and Baylor, the Jayhawks are no strangers to
playing elite teams.

Look for the Jayhawks to make a deep run this year.
Michigan State

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Conference: Big Ten

Record: 27-7

Conference Record: 13-5

Coach: Tom Izzo

Best Player: Draymond Green

The Michigan State Spartans look like yet another team with Final Four potential. Tom Izzo
seems to lead his team to the Final Four every year, and with Draymond Green leading them
there is a good chance that he will do it again this year.

Green can do it all, and he led the team in points, rebounds and assists for long periods of time
this season. He is a multi-faceted player who is in the running for National Player of the Year
honors, and he will be key for Sparty.

With Branden Dawson, Keith Appling and Green making up their core, the Spartans have the
potential to win it all this year, which they showed by winning the Big Ten tournament.
North Carolina

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Conference: ACC

Record: 29-5

Conference Record: 14-2

Coach: Roy Williams

Best Player: Harrison Barnes

With Harrison Barnes, Tyler Zeller and John Henson, North Carolina has arguably the best
starting frontcourt in the nation. Throw in James McAdoo, and you have the best (and possibly
deepest) frontcourt we've seen in a while.

North Carolina is going to beat up on smaller opponents. They simply have too much size for
most other teams to rebound well against them.

The way to beat UNC on offense is to hit your threes. There's nothing anyone can do if you have
kids who just don't seem to miss from three, and Duke needed to take 36 threes to beat them by
just one in their first game.

On defense you must box out, and you have to try to control Kendall Marshall. When a team has
the best frontcourt and the best pure point guard in the nation, you know that they are going to be
dangerous, and UNC fits both aspects. Barnes is also a big mismatch, as he is an elite shooter
who can shoot over smaller defenders, or he can get by bigger, slower forwards.

Despite injuries to starter Dexter Strickland and role player Leslie McDonald, North Carolina is
still a great team with a lot of potential.

Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Conference: Big East

Record: 30-2

Conference Record: 17-2

Coach: Jim Boeheim

Best Player: Fab Melo

Syracuse is having arguably the best season in school history, including in 2003 when they won
it all on the back of Carmelo Anthony.

The Orange are still running Jim Boeheim's stingy 2-3 zone defense, which has proven effective
yet again. This team is very deep and has a great mix of athleticism and skill. They can hit threes
or get it inside, and they are most effective when combining those two aspects.

The Orange have many important players including Scoop Jardine, Dion Waiters, Brandon
Triche and Fab Melo. In my mind, Melo is the most important player on the team, as he anchors
their 2-3 zone.

The seven-footer completely changes the game, and the Orange's only loss in the regular season
came without Melo, when Notre Dame beat them in South Bend. However, they did lose to
Cincinnati in the Big East tournament even with Melo.

The Orange are a dangerous team with the potential to win it all, and they are certainly going to
be a popular pick to do so, along with this next team...

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Conference: SEC

Record: 33-2

Conference Record: 16-1

Coach: John Calipari

Best Player: Anthony Davis

Kentucky brings together John Calipari's typical elite recruiting class (consisting of three of the
top eight players in the Class of 2011) but also returns three starters from last year's Final Four

The Wildcats are easily the best team in the country. Kentucky is highly athletic, has good size,
plays suffocating defense and can score in bunches. This team is only going to lose if they do it
to themselves or they play a team who simply cannot miss.

With seven future NBA ballers (including at least three lottery picks and five first-rounders),
Kentucky easily has the best odds of winning it all this year, but there is always a chance that
they flop.

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