With the second round of the NCAA Tournament scheduled to tip off today at 12:15 p.m., most fans’ brackets are already set. However, for those still on the fence regarding who will emerge from the fray as the new tournament champion, here are a few schools seeded outside the top two that could win it all. amNewYork chose one of each seed, from three to seven.
No. 3 Creighton Led by the nation’s top scorer, Doug McDermott, the Bluejays will likely go as he goes. A run through the West Regional and potential opponents such as No. 1 Arizona and No. 2 Wisconsin would make McDermott the first to win a scoring title and national title in the same season since Kansas’ Clyde Lovellette in 1952.
No. 4 Michigan State President Barack Obama has the Spartans winning it all, and the Bracketologist in Chief has a good track record — he picked champion North Carolina in 2009 correctly. They have tons of talent and a champion coach in Tom Izzo. They might be a safer pick than East Regional No. 1 Virginia.
No. 5 VCU The Atlantic 10 school’s road is tough in the South Regional. The Rams, led by Treveon Graham and Juvonte Reddic, likely would face No. 12 Stephen F. Austin, No. 4 UCLA and No. 1 Florida en route to the Elite 8. Clearing such tough hurdles could give them all the momentum they need to win it all.
No. 6 Baylor Odds are good that the Bears would need to upset Creighton just to reach the Sweet 16. If they can climb that hurdle, their talented frontcourt led by Cory Jefferson and Isaiah Austin could continue the team’s 10-2 hot streak all the way to a title.
No. 7 New Mexico The Lobos’ triple threat of Cameron Bairstow, Kendall Williams and Alex Kirk is about as good as any trio in the field. Potential matchups against No. 2 Kansas, No. 3 Syracuse and UCLA are winnable. If they need to take down Florida and succeed, watch out.