The 2014 NCAA Basketball Tournament, better known as March Madness, is going to be as exciting as ever. Every year, there are the winners to the mid-major conferences that receive automatic bids into the tournament. These teams are often lower seeds in the tournament and are relatively unknown to the average fan. Last year, Wichita State and Florida Gulf Coast captured the heart of the nation’s college basketball fans. This article will give you a heads up so you know what teams to look out for come tournament time.
1. Wichita State Shockers (Missouri Valley)
The Shockers are no longer underdogs after their appearance in the Final Four last year. They return many pieces from that team and are undefeated this season. The Shockers should move through the MVC conference with ease and be awarded with a 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.
2. Virginia Commonwealth (Atlantic 10)
VCU may not even win their conference as St. Louis is a formidable foe but regardless they should make the tournament. The Rams are a disciplined team led by coach Shaka Smart. The Rams have made the tournament 12 times since 1980 and only 4 times have they not advanced out of the first round. In 2011, they reached the Final Four.
3. New Mexico (Mountain West)
New Mexico will be looking to avenge their first round loss to 14 seed Harvard last season. New Mexico has a huge front-court in Cameron Bairstow and Alex Kirk.
4. Gonzaga (West Coast)
Gonzaga lost Kelly Olynyk to the NBA draft but the Bulldogs are a perennial potential bracket buster.
5. San Diego State (Mountain West)
The Aztecs will have their hands full in the Mountain West tournament with New Mexico but should make the tournament regardless of their success there. SDSU is 3-1 against the Top-25 this season including a big win over Kansas.
6. St. Louis (Atlantic 10)
The Billikens are on a 20 game win streak right now. Their only 2 losses this season are against Wisconsin and Wichita State. The Billikens made the 2nd round last year.
7. Harvard (Ivy League)
Harvard is the class of the Ivy League and always has the potential to outsmart their opponents in the tournament. Watch out for the Crimson this month.
8. Brigham Young (West Coast)
BYU has played a tough out of conference schedule to prepare for the tournament and recently defeated Gonzaga so they could be a threat if they reach the tournament. Tyler Haws is putting up Jimmer-esque scoring numbers this season.
9. Iona (Metro Atlantic)
Watch out for the nation’s 5th best scoring team at over 83 points per game.
10. Mercer (Atlantic Sun)
Mercer hopes to breeze through the Atlantic Sun and replicate Florida Gulf Coast’s success of last year. FGCU will be their main rival in reaching the tournament.
All statistics from http://sports.yahoo.com/college-basketball/