A giant killer is a team that can knock off a top dog. A giant killer is a team like Western Kentucky, Florida Gulf Coast or the George Mason. They are teams that can cause problems in the NCAA tournament, but the average spectator might not necessarily pick them because they are a small school.
The following teams will most likely be ranked as No. 8-16 seeds in the 2018 NCAA tournament. These are teams that might not be from a power conference, but have all the makings to win at least one game come March.
Most killers don’t come from a power conference. Missouri has been a great team all season. As we creep closer and closer to March, Missouri is waiting on Michael Porter Jr., who is one of the top five freshmen in the country. Getting Porter back come tournament time means that a good team that could fall to a No. 7-10 seed could be extremely dangerous.
The Tigers are 18-8 and have won their last five games. They are 3-2 against the top 25 this season and are the No. 3 team in a very loaded SEC. Porter has missed every single game this season, and adding a top five player can only improve a team that is one of the biggest surprises in the SEC this season.
Nevada Wolf Pack
Even though Nevada is a ranked team, they are still going to slide on selection Sunday. Nevada’s strength of schedule is 109th in the country, and that will lose them some respect from the committee. They are 22-5 and first in the Mountain West Conference.
One of their best wins is against Rhode Island, a team that is coming on strong as of late. They lost by six and four respectively to Texas Tech and TCU. They are 14-3 in their last 17 and don’t seem to be slowing down.
One of the toughest things for a snub in the seeding is seeing just how hot a team is come tournament time. The Wolf Pack are one of the hottest teams in the country and believe they can play with anyone. Nevada will probably get placed as a very strong No. 9 seed coming into March. They will be a tough second round matchup for almost any No. 1 seed.
Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders
Well well well, welcome back to the Blue Raiders. The Blue Raiders are 13-1 in their last 14 games, have an RPI of 29 and have a 11-1 road record. For most teams come March, road records wouldn’t matter. But depending on how low the seeding comes for the Raiders, an NCAA tournament game could seem like a road game.
They have lost only five games all season. Three of those games are to USC, Miami and Auburn, teams that are inside the RPI top 50. They have also lost those three games by 14 total points.
If Middle Tennessee falls to the same No. 11 or 12 seed that they did last season, they should be a nightmare of a first-round matchup.
Speaking of hot teams, the Catamounts have won their last 15 games. They are 22-5 overall and don’t have a single loss outside of the top 95 in RPI. Their worst loss was to Bucknell by four points on the road. In all five of their losses, they have lost by 10 or less, and four of the five losses have come on the road or on neutral sites.
The team does lack good wins, being that their best win is probably a one-point home win against Bradley. The Catamounts have a fair amount of NCAA tournament experience and are led by Anthony Lamb and Trae Bell-Haynes, who make up 42.5 percent of the team’s scoring.
Vermont locks down on defense and can score pretty well also. The Catamounts could be a team advancing to the second weekend in the NCAA tournament.
No. 14-16 seed
Well there’s always one team that comes out of no where to surprise. Here’s an attempt to pick the No. 14-16 seed, if there is one, that can pull off a major upset.
The Big Sky’s regular season leader gets a shout out. Montana is 20-6 this season and 13-1 in their last 14. Notable loses include a three-point loss at Washington and a 13-point loss at Penn State. They have beaten Pitt and Northern Colorado (probably their best win) and are 8-5 in road games this season.
Montana’s strength of schedule is 329th in the country which isn’t bad, it’s really bad. They lack wins over any possible tournament teams, but have performed well against the nation’s top RPIs. It only takes one top seed to struggle for a lower seed to have a chance.
If we are taking a shot here, Montana and their 68th ranked defense could shut down a top dog and get the Cinderellas dancing.
Featured image from College Sports Madness.
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