Who doesn’t love NCAA Tournament upsets? Well, besides the upset teams and fan bases, of course.
The Big Dance always has its fair share of lower seeds moving on to the next round or beyond. In the spirit of March Madness, here’s a look at the team at each seed, from 11-16, with the best chance to score an underdog victory Thursday or Friday.
11. Rhode Island
The red-hot Rams are coming off an Atlantic 10 Tournament title run and matched up against Creighton, which is 7-8 dating back to a January loss to Marquette. A-10 Defensive Player of the year Hassan Martin (14.1 ppg) anchors URI.
12. Middle Tennessee State
Winners of Conference USA, the Blue Raiders were woefully under-seeded. In the rankings metrics, MTSU isn’t too far behind opponent Minnesota in RPI (35 to 21) and BPI (45 to 38). JaCorey Williams leads the team with averages of 17.3 points and 7.3 rebounds.
With a first-round matchup against Butler, one of the softest teams with a top-four seed, the Big South champs are a real threat to advance. If the Eagles score the upset, expect 5-7 dynamo Keon Johnson (22.5 ppg) to be all the rage.
14. Florida Gulf Coast
The unlikely Sweet 16 darlings of 2013, known then as Dunk City, return for a third appearance in five years. The Eagles, who again won the Atlantic Sun, draw a Florida State team that lost four games to teams not among the field of 68.
15. North Dakota
Joining their first Dance after winning the Big Sky Conference, the Fighting Hawks are a long shot, to be sure. But they can score — they’re 19th in the field with 80.5 points per game — and have the long-distance marksmanship to match Arizona.
16. South Dakota State
The back-to-back Summit League champion Jackrabbits aren’t going to advance into the weekend, just like all the previous No. 16 seeds. They do, however, face the weaker of four No. 1 seeds in Gonzaga. That’s ... something.