With the NCAA tournament less than a week away, fans and bettors are starting to gear up for one of sports’ most exciting and unpredictable events. March Madness got its name from all the crazy upsets that happen on a daily basis during the tournament, so we know that some big teams are going to fall and fall early. And we also know that there will be a few surprise teams, a.k.a dark horses, that seemingly come out of nowhere to make a deep run and capture America’s hearts. Who will those teams be this year? We’ve got three that may fit the bill.
1. Creighton Bluejays 27-7
Creighton is a team that viewers of the tourney year in and year out have come to know, but they will still likely have long shot odds to make a deep run in this year’s tournament. However, with all of the weapons they possess, mainly on offense, the Bluejays could surprise a lot of folks by knocking off some top tier teams.
After spending a majority of the season in the AP top 25, the Jays are playing their best basketball of the season coming off a Missouri Valley Conference title. They a top 25 scoring team as well, averaging 75.4 points per game, and are second in the nation in shooting percentage, draining a scorching 50.8 percent of their field goals this season. A team that shoots the ball this well can beat any team if they can stay hot.
2. Marquette Golden Eagles 23-8
Marquette is another team who may be on people’s radar screens, but they still likely won’t get very much love in terms of picks or bets. However, the Eagles are more than capable of making some noise come tourney time.
Marquette’s biggest strength is on the defensive side of the floor, an area that can certainly take you far in the NCAA Tournament. Marquette has only allowed 80 or more points in two games all season long and keep in mind that they play in the ultra-competitive Big East Conference.
They also have proven they can beat some of the nation’s best teams already this year. Their victories over Georgetown, Syracuse and Notre Dame shows that when they are playing their best basketball, they can compete with anyone. That’s why you shouldn’t be surprised if the Golden Eagles make a deep run this year.
3. UNLV Rebels
The Rebels are more of a dark horse than the first two since they are currently unranked, but their program also has a long history of success in the tournament and the team they have right now is one of the more talented groups the program has seen in quite some time.
That talented group is led by freshman Anthony Bennett, who is averaging 16 points and eight rebounds per game. He brings that X-factor to games that opponents have a hard time dealing with and even though UNLV’s tournament opponent’s will know what’s coming, they’ll still have a hard time stopping it. Look for UNLV to be a dark horse as well.