NCAA Sleeper TeamsBy Jonathan K.
Every year during March Madness their are one to a few teams that destroy people’s brackets and disrupt bettors’ betting process by doing much better than expected. However, when examined one will notice that there are signs that these teams were set to explode, they simply did not get the media coverage of larger schools. Pay attention and let’s run down a few of the NCAA teams that could seemingly come out of no where this year.
This little Christian school just outside of Nashville could very well be the epic underdog story of March Madness. They do not show up on any of the polls but many sports analysts have begun to single them out as a team that could very well surprise us all.
What has prompted prominent sports writers like Sports Illustrated‘s Seth Davis to mention them as a team that will likely sneak its way into the brackets?
Belmont is a team that has all ready defeated some high caliber teams. Among them are dominant wins against Standford and fellow dark horse MTSU. Belmont has snicked into five of the last seven NCAA tournaments. However, they have yet to get a playoff victory. This is the year, though, that they seemed poised to surprise everyone.
Belmont’s strong suites are their ability to sink threes and their phenomenal defense. Belmont actually depends on their ability to sink shots from behind the arc as an offensive strategy. Belmont takes 40 percent of their shots from behind the three-point line and have two players that are making those shots around 40 percent of the time.
Their defense has also been impressive as Belmont has forced a turnover on every four possessions.
Niagara is still on a team on the outside looking in. They honestly may not even make it into the tournament as they are just on the fringes. If the teams around Niagara drop the ball and Niagara makes it into the tournament they could be the team to pull off some major upsets and busts some brackets.
If you for some reason doubt that Niagara can pull out some March Madness wins if they make it, then simply look at some game play. When watching pay close attention to the play of Anonine Mason and Juan’ya Green. In their last game against Northwestern State, this dynamic guard duo combined for 40 points.
If Niagara can finsih out their last two games of the season with W’s and take their division, Niagara will likely make a huge splash in March.
Tennessee schools seem to be starting a tradition of serving up sleeper teams. Last year they brought us Vanderbilt. This year both Belmont and MTSU seem to be in a position to make a surprise splash during March Madness.
MTSU is a team that has all ready beaten some of the best in the nation. They have wins over Vanderbilt, Central Florida and Ole Miss. Some have put MTSU in the top 40 in the nation, but they are likely a much better team than that.
MTSU’s lethal defense is what will likely carry them into the tournament and could give them a handful of upset wins in March.