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February 23, 2016BasketballNCAA Tournament 2016 Sleepers

Nigel Hayes – Photo Credit: Andre’ Chapman

February 23, 2016 Louisville, KY. (Analyzed Sports) By Dalton Pence

NCAA Tournament 2016 Sleepers

It’s almost that time of year again; march madness is only a couple weeks away and this year’s field has no clear frontrunner. Teams get upset on a regular basis now. There are always those under the radar teams that could be very potentially dangerous come tournament time. Some past examples are: Wichita St in 2013, Dayton and Kentucky in 2014, and Dayton again in 2015. Here’s Dalton’s teams that need to be paid close attention to:

NOTRE DAME:
Sitting at 18-7 (9-4 in the ACC), the Fighting Irish are one of the more mysterious teams in the nation. Their key issue is inconsistency, point blank. However, they have beaten Duke on the road and North Carolina and Louisville at home (all ranked right now). They have shown that, when playing good, they can contend with anyone. They can spread teams out and hurt them in many ways. In my opinion, they have the most underrated guard in college basketball leading the show in South Bend. Sophomore Demetrius Jackson is averaging 16.6 ppg to go along with 5.0 assists. Guards Steve Vasturia (12.8) and V.J. Beachem (11.6) and forwards Zach Auguste (14.0 ppg 10.1 rpg) and Bonzie Colson (12.3 ppg 7.2 rpg) all average double figures in scoring.
Lunardi currently has them as a 5 seed in the Midwest region.

CALIFORNIA:
One of my sleeper teams in the preseason preview, the Golden Bears have had their share of ups and downs this season. Teammate chemistry, player roles, and inconsistency highlight this year for Cal. However, on any given night they can be lethal. Freshmen Jaylen Brown and Ivan Rabb along with veterans guards Jordan Matthews and Jabari Bird have turned this team around as of late. As the Bears suffer the loss of leader Tyrone Wallace to a hand injury, they’ve been putting together impressing efforts; one of those being an 83 to 63 victory over a ranked Oregon Ducks team at home.
Lunardi currently has them as an 7 seed in the South region.

MONMOUTH:
If benches had a national tournament, this team would be the favorite to win it all. However, on a more serious note the Hawks have quality wins in victories over Notre Dame, UCLA, USC, and Georgetown. Junior guard Justin Robinson leads the way with 20.3 PPG while freshman guard Micah Seaborn follows with 12.6 PPG. King Rice’s team is currently 22-5, sitting in first place in the MAAC. What makes them so dangerous is the fact that they’ve proven themselves against quality teams already this year and they play with great chemistry; did I forget to mention that Monmouth can shoot the three ball well?
Lunardi currently has them as a 10 seed in the South Region.

WISCONSIN:
This time last year, I had picked the Badgers to go all the way. With the departure of Kaminsky, Dekker, Gasser, and others, the Badgers have had a bumpy year. Bo Ryan also announced his retirement earlier this season. However, Wisconsin has shown that they can defeat top teams with victories over ranked Indiana and Maryland (on the road this past Saturday). They are led by juniors Nigel Hayes (16.7 PPG) and Bronson Koenig (13.4 PPG). The Badgers are on a hot streak, winning 7 of their last 8. Although they are down in the Big Ten standings, they continue to show potential capability for a tournament upset.
Lunardi currently has them as a 9 seed in the Midwest Region.

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