March Madness sleepers: the teams you should be watching

Zachary Meyers

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Last year’s Cinderella team, UMBC, visits Maryland governor Larry Hogan after becoming the first 16 seed to beat a one seed when they took down the University of Virginia 74-54.

March Madness is one of the most exciting times of the year for sports fans. With games going on almost everyday, fans can’t get enough of their beloved college basketball. Every year we see a school come out of nowhere to be deemed the tournament’s Cinderella team. Last year we had two teams in particular named the Cinderellas of the tournament, Loyola-Chicago, who emerged as a final four team after being named an 11 seed going in, and of course UMBC who became the first 16 seed to ever beat a one seed. All that said, here are some potential Cinderella teams for this year’s tournament.

Saint Mary’s:

The Gaels didn’t have the best of seasons this year with a record of 22-11, but that doesn’t discredit the fact they are coming into the tournament red-hot, having just won the WCC conference tournament by beating Gonzaga in the finals who are a one seed in the NCAA tournament. The Gaels are led by junior guard Jordan Ford and sophomore forward Malik Fittz, who put up 21 and 16 points per game respectively, if they both manage to step up, the team will be able to put up a good fight against Villanova and the teams they face going forward.

Old Dominion:  

The Monarchs were cheated when the tournament committee handed them a 14 seed. They’ve been a great team all year, and have proven that they can contend with the elites of basketball. The Monarchs are led by star guards B.J. Stith and Ahmad Caver who are both averaging 17 points per game. This year the Monarchs are 2-0 against other tournament teams, beating VCU at home 62-52 and Syracuse away 68-62. The Syracuse game in particular shows just how good the Monarchs are. They went into the Carrier Dome, one of the hardest places to play, and beat a Syracuse team on a five-game winning streak at the time(that same Syracuse team that beat Duke this year). I’m not saying the Monarchs are going to win it all, but don’t be surprised if they are one the last 16 remaining.

New Mexico State:

The Aggies are entering the tournament with an impressive record of 30-3, yet are still only a 12 seed. The Aggies have proven to be able to able to compete with the elite competition during this year, only losing 63-60 at Kansas. With a 12-man rotation, this team is very well-rounded and deep. Not to mention, the team is averaging around 80 points per game, with a 19 game winning streak, so they could prove too much for the Auburn Tigers advancing to the round of 32 and possibly beyond.

Seton Hall:

The 10 seeded Pirates have only a 20-13 record but have had some big-time wins this year. This year they are 6-4 against tournament wins including wins over Marquette, Kentucky, Villanova and Maryland, all top six seeds in this year’s tournament. They start the tournament with Wofford, with whom they can compete. If they get by Wofford, they play a Kentucky team they’ve already beaten, so you could definitely see Seton Hall make a deep run. The team is led by star Guard Myles Powell, who is averaging 23 points per game, if Powell performs well, the Pirates are going to be a hard out in this year’s tournament.

All of these teams have the chance to show themselves as Cinderella’s and be the talk of this year’s tournament. You can check out the round of 64, starting on Thursday, March 21.