(MEDIA GENERAL/WTNH) – One of the most fun parts of the NCAA college basketball tournament is rooting for the underdog. So, who will be this year’s Cinderella stories? Kels Dayton, executive producer for Sportzedge.com, gave us his picks.
Buffalo is an excellent pick to win its round of 64 game over West Virginia. The Bulls have an NBA prospect in Justin Moss, a coach with a terrific pedigree in Bobby Hurley, and have already hung around in big games against Kentucky and Wisconsin, leading both at halftime. Plus, WVU is unsure on the status of its best player, guard Juwan Staten.
Don’t be surprised if Eastern Washington, with the nation’s leading scorer in Tyler Harvey, gets by Georgetown in the round of 64. The Hoyas have been underwhelming of late in the NCAAs, and the Eagles already own a win at Indiana.
Stephen F. Austin
Stephen F. Austin won its 12-vs.-5 game over VCU last season, and the Lumberjacks are rolling again, having won 28 of the last 29 games. “It’s too bad that they have to face Utah in their first game, because I think both teams are good enough to make runs to the Sweet 16. If you’re looking for an upset pick though, the ‘Jacks, led by forward Thomas Walkup, are a good choice,” Dayton said.
Others to Watch
According to Dayton, there are plenty of opportunities for Cinderella teams in this field. He thinks Wichita State is vastly under-seeded at 7, and they’ll take out in-state rival Kansas in the Round of 32. They’ve also got the tournament experience and defense, with two All-American candidates at guard, to oust Notre Dame and make a run into the Elite Eight.
Don’t sleep on Michigan State, either, Dayton said. This isn’t one of Tom Izzo’s most talented teams, but the Spartans are fresh off a run to the Big Ten final and get a good matchup in the Round of 32 against Virginia. The Spartans beat the Cavaliers in last year’s Sweet 16, and it wouldn’t be shocking to see them run all the way to the Final Four.
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