Today, we are going to take a look at seven teams that are on Upset Watch.
In order to be eligible for this prestigious list, you have to be a No. 5 seed or higher in danger of losing to a No. 8 seed or lower in the first weekend of the tournament.
So without further ado, here are the teams that you should be wary of taking deep in the tournament, because they may not be around all that long:
No. 2 seed Kentucky: No one in the NCAA tournament got a worse draw than Kentucky did this year.
Rated as the best No. 2 seed, Kentucky was slotted in the South Region, the same region that features North Carolina at the top. And if that wasn’t tough enough, the Wildcats are, in all likelihood, going to have to beat UCLA in the Sweet 16 to get to UNC. And if that isn’t difficult enough, Kentucky drew Wichita State in the second round, should the Shockers get past a Dayton team they’ve favored over by seven points.
Wichita State is the No. 8 team on KenPom. They are tough and well-coached and older than you think. They are beating the hell out of everyone these days, and it is the worst miss-seed we’ve ever seen in the NCAA tournament seeding that the Shockers are a No. 10 seed.
Kentucky has a serious gripe here.
But they can’t change it now. They can only hope they get through.
No. 2 seed Louisville: The Cardinals have had issues scoring this season, particularly on the nights where Donovan Mitchell isn’t hitting shots. If there is one this that both Michigan and Oklahoma State are capable of doing, it’s putting up points and putting them up in a hurry. Oklahoma State has one of the nation’s best point guards in Jawun Evans, while Derrick Walton and Michigan have been on a terrific run since Mid-January, which included a run to the Big Ten tournament title after a plane crash en route to DC.
No. 3 seed Florida State: The Seminoles are the most talented team in the country that I just don’t trust. I don’t want to call them selfish, but I don’t know if they realize that Jonathan Isaac is the team’s best player. I don’t think he realizes it all the time, and that’s a bad combination. FSU gets FGCU in the first round of the tournament in Orlando, and I think that FGCU will win that game.
No. 3 seed Baylor: OK, so this technically doesn’t fit the criteria I listed above, but I do think that the Bears get picked of before the Sweet 16. I think they’ve been figured out, and it would not surprise me in the least if SMU rolls over them to get to the Sweet 16. The Bears don’t have great shooting and they don’t have great guard play, and those are the two things that you look for in teams that make runs in the tourney.
No. 5 seed Iowa State: The Cyclones are caught up in the most exciting game in the first round of the tournament, as they square off with No. 12 Nevada. The Wolf Pack have quite a bit of talent on their roster. Cameron Oliver can make the NBA. Jordan Caroline went for 45 points in a game this season. Marcus Marshall is a monster. As good as Iowa State is, they are going to have their work cut out for them getting past Nevada.
No. 5 seed Virginia: It’s tough for me to put Virginia on this list because I think they are the worst possible matchup for No. 12 seed UNC Wilmington. The Seahawks want nothing more than to make a basketball game ugly, choppy, chaotic and fast-paced. They want to force turnovers and run their opponent ragged. Virginia? They are the best in the country at controlling tempo. They don’t make mistakes. My first thought was to flat out write off UNCW.
Except Virginia can’t score. They don’t have to normally, because their defense is good enough to hold just about anyone in check, but their issues this season lower their margin for error, just like the fewer possessions they play lowers their margin for error. I think Kevin Keatts gives the ‘Hoos a fight.
No. 5 seed Minnesota: The Golden Gophers get Middle Tennessee State in the first round. The Blue Raiders may actually be better this season than they were a year ago, and last year they pulled off the greatest upset in the history of the first round of the NCAA tournament in beating No. 2 seed Michigan State. They won at Ole Miss after leading by 29 points at the half. They beat Vandy by 23. They won at Belmont. They’re legit, and Minnesota better come to play if the are going to advance.