Busting Brackets

10 surprise teams primed to steal the NCAA Tournament

These 10 teams who likely won't end up as a No. 1 or 2 seed in March Madness, could shake up their region and maybe even make a run to a national title if things break right.

Saint Mary's Gaels guard Alex Ducas (44)
Saint Mary's Gaels guard Alex Ducas (44) / Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
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. Net: 28 Projected Seed: 9. . team. Texas. . . 467. 20-12 (9-9). 7

March is about guards, and that’s good news for the Texas Longhorns, who have had an underwhelming season in the first full year under Rodney Terry. Texas went 20-12 in the regular season and bowed out of the Big 12 Tournament early after blowing a 10-point halftime lead to Kansas State in Kansas City, but with Tyrese Hunter and Max Abmas, the Longhorns have to be taken seriously in March. 

At times this season, it wasn’t even a certainty that the Longhorns would make it back to the NCAA Tournament after bringing in Abmas, known for his Cinderella runs at Oral Roberts, to fill the hole in the backcourt for a team that was seeded on the two-line last year. Whatever seed the Longhorns end up with, they will be a threat. 

In his one year with Texas, Abmas averaged 17.1 points and 4.3 assists while Hunter, his veteran backcourt mate finished at 11.1 points and 4.2 assists. Outside of the elite backcourt, Dylan Disu took a huge step forward from last season, improving from 8.8 points to 15.8 and from 31.3% from three to 50% on 3.4 attempts a game. 

The record isn’t strong, but Kenpom loves Texas. The Longhorns are 25th overall and 21st in adjusted offensive efficiency. Rodney Terry’s team isn’t quite as good as the one Chris Beard assembled last season, but Abmas can carry them back to the Elite Eight for the second straight year.