Now that we know the brackets and who will be playing where, the real fun begins. Anyone can fill out a bracket with four No. 1 seeds cutting down the nets and making the Final Four. But what fun is that? And more appropriately, how often does that even happen? There will be upsets and inevitably, a mid-level team will get hot. Take a look at LSU in 2006 (as a No. 4 seed) or Alabama in 2004 (as a No. 8 seed).
Yes, we know Kentucky probably won’t get beat early, and that Syracuse and UNC both look Final Four bound. But we’ve said the same things about other “unbeatable” teams in the past. Someone is going to catch a quick exit.
So here are five teams to watch, one from each bracket and a sleeper team you might not expect to make a run at New Orleans this year.
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EAST: Vanderbilt (No. 5 seed)
Vandy is running on pure confidence right now. After beating Kentucky in the SEC championship they are back to playing their best basketball. Vandy is a very experienced team that returned five starters from last year (four of which are seniors). They are a team that holds themselves to high standards. They entered the season as a pre-season top 10 team. They have some great players in John Jenkins, who is one of the nations best outside shooters, and Jeffery Taylor who proved against Kentucky that he’s capable of playing with the best. Look for Vandy’s experience and confidence to carry them through the early stages of the tournament. All roads lead through Syracuse for them, but if they can pass that test lookout for Vandy to make a run at winning it all.
MIDWEST: Georgetown (No. 3 seed)
Georgetown is a team that has all the necessary pieces. They’ve got the perfect roster to fit the type of basketball they need to play to win. With the recent emergence of Henry Sims, Georgetown’s roster matches their identity even more now. Sims has been passing the ball carefully and skillfully. They’ve been able to use him as that post facilitator that Roy Hibbert and Greg Monroe used to be. They’ve got Hollis Thompson and Jason Clark who can both knock down outside shots and both have the experience needed to provide that will to win mentality. The key advantage for Georgetown is their depth. The freshman Otto Porter has provided a great spark for them and has really turned it up as of late. If Georgetown is playing at tip top shape they can be a very big test for Kansas and then top-seeded UNC.