Every year there’s a team or two that comes out of no where to advance far into the NCAA tournament.
Eleventh seeded George Mason beat basketball super powers Michigan State, North Carolina, and Connecticut to reach the Final Four in 2006.
Then just last season Virginia Commonwealth shocked everyone by going from the “First Four,” the play-in games before the traditional first round games, all the way to the Final Four.
Double digit seeds from the Midwest Region look like the most likely to pull off the improbable in 2012.
They already did it last year, so why can't Shaka Smart's team do it again?
Well, VCU lost some key players from last year's crazy tournament run, but their offensive style is hard to match up against. The Rams throw a deep roster at you and never let up.
If there's a 12 seed whose bandwagon you may want to jump on why not go for the team that's already done it before?
Xavier plays Notre Dame in the first round, with the winner likely facing off against Duke in the second round.
The intrigue in picking Xavier stems partially from the fact that they would face off against Duke in the round of 32. Duke seems prime for another short, disappointing tournament run.
Xavier's been tested. They beat tournament teams Cincinnati, Vanderbilt, and Purdue to start off the season, and also lost a close, competitive game to Memphis in February.
The Musketeers also have future NBA first round pick Tu Holloway to take over games.
Those 12-5 games featuring two mid-majors are always primed for upsets since chances are neither team is significantly better than the other.
Long Beach State takes on No. 5 New Mexico this year. LBSU is plenty experienced with a senior-laden team that's already faced off against Louisville, Connecticut, North Carolina, Xavier, and Kansas State this season.
Additionally, they're Nate Silver's favourite 12 seed to pull of a first round upset.
Outside of games against Memphis and St. Mary's, Colorado State's opponent, Murray State, hasn't played any good teams this year.
Both CSU and Murray St. play similar styles: high field goal percentage, poor rebounding. Whenever two teams are statistically even, and the lower-seeded team has been tested more, take the lower seed.
Belmont faces off against perennial first round loser Georgetown.
More importantly, Belmont is riding high with a 14-game winning streak and an offence that ranks in the top 15 in the country in both points per game and field goal percentage.
And for what it's worth, Nate Silver says Belmont has a 44.7% chance of pulling off the upset.
Like the Colorado St.-Murray St. game, the Ohio-Michigan matchup has two teams with similar styles. Both the Bobcats and Wolverines rely heavily on their guards creating their own shots. Picking the lower seeded team, Ohio, wouldn't be too much of a stretch here.
The Bobcats also pulled off an upset as a 14 seed against Georgetown just two years ago.
Cal plays South Florida in the play-in game Wednesday. If the Bears win, No. 5 Temple will have its hands full Friday.
The Bears do a phenomenal job of spreading the ball around and shoot a very high percentage. They are also ranked significantly higher (26) than Temple (41) based on strength of schedule and scoring margin.
Montana plays Wisconsin Thursday. Wisconsin is always a prime upset candidate because of their very sloooow offensive system.
There's a good chance Wisconsin will struggle to keep guards Will Cherry and Kareem Jamar from putting up big numbers.
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