Well, we have finally hit that time of year. The NCAA Tournament is on the horizon and conference tournaments are starting to ramp up. Once March hits, many people are ready to pick a few schools that are sitting in the bracket, waiting to stir up an upset and make a massive run in the tournament. You have come to the right place if you want to see just that. Below are four teams that are March Madness sleepers worthy of busting up some brackets and making a deep run in the 2021 NCAA Tournament.
Projected Seed: 3
NET Ranking: 12
Arkansas has taken the SEC by storm this season and has gotten down to the final week of the regular season with a 20-5 record. By the looks of things, Arkansas will take second place in the regular-season SEC standings. Head coach Eric Musselman has his team rolling in the right direction going into the conference tournament and ultimately the NCAA Tournament.
This specific Arkansas team is very dangerous when it comes to playing in the tournament this year. The Hog’s defensive style can disrupt just about anybody in the country offensively. Tied together with the offensive firepower that the Razorbacks bring night in and night out with three double-digit scoring threats, it may take a lot to force Arkansas out of the tournament. Moses Moody, Justin Smith, and the crew can catapult their way into the final four with how good Arkansas is this season. Severe March Madness sleepers.
Oklahoma State Cowboys
Projected Seed: 4
NET Ranking: 30
This Oklahoma State basketball team has to be the most underrated story of the season. They were hit with a post-season ban all the way back in June of 2020. The Cowboy program appealed and has yet to hear from the NCAA. This all means that Oklahoma St is eligible for the 2021 tournament, which is should be the right decision especially with how well Mike Boynton has his team playing.
This team is a major March Madness sleeper with the type of talent they have. Yes, they have the projected number one pick in the 2021 NBA draft, Cade Cunningham, but the list goes on. As much as Cunningham is important to this team, the most important piece night in and night out has to be the sophomore Kalib Boone. The 6-9, 210 pound forward is what makes this team go. This duo is like Batman and Robin. Despite the loss to Baylor on Thursday night, you do not want to see Oklahoma St in your bracket. Young, gritty, and very athletic, a team that shows they are ultimate March Madness sleepers.
Projected Seed: 8
NET Ranking: 34
Looking at the college basketball landscape to look for potential March Madness sleepers, one team has been flying under the radar for far too long this season. That would be the Oregon Ducks. Dana Altman has his team in sole possession of first place in the Pac-12, a win on Sunday vs Oregon State would give Oregon the Pac-12 regular-season title.
When you look at the Ducks as a team, the attention goes right to the two seniors that are leading the Ducks. Chris Duarte and Eugene Omoruyi are the two leading scorers dropping in 15+ points a game this season. If you end up playing the Ducks, don’t think you’ll get to the charity stripe very easily. Oregon only allows 15 attempts per game at the free-throw line. Oregon likes to control the tempo of the game. Another one of those teams that can be a solid March Madness sleeper come tournament time.
Projected Seed: 9
NET Ranking: 32
The UConn Huskies basketball program has become one of the best college basketball stories this season. Making its return back into the Big East Conference, the Huskies sit in third place in their first season back in the Big East since 2013. Dan Hurley’s team has a lot of potential but it all comes down to one piece leading the way. Star sophomore, James Bouknight, who averages 20.1 points and 5.8 rebounds a game, despite a left elbow injury that left Bouknight on the sidelines for over a month.
James Bouknight is the type of player that can create for himself very easily but can also make his teammates better as well. The Huskies are 9-2 when Bouknight steps onto the floor, but he’s not the only key to a potential run in the NCAA Tournament. UConn has two interior players who impact the game in more ways than one. Isaiah Whaley and Tyler Polley are two experienced forwards who can get you scrappy points down low and play lights out on the glass. Making UConn the last team on my “March Madness sleepers” list in 2021.
March Madness Sleepers- Honorable Mentions
Texas Longhorns- Projected Seed: 4, NET Ranking: 24
Colorado Buffaloes- Projected Seed: 5, NET Ranking: 14
Loyola Chicago- Projected Seed: 8, NET Ranking: 18
Liberty Flames- Projected Seed: 13, NET Ranking: 84
Oklahoma Sooners- Projected Seed: 6, NET Ranking: 33
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