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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. team. . 26-6 (13-5). Net: 30 Projected Seed: 5. . 6. Nevada. . 2286

Steve Alford was not cut out for the UCLA job, but after five seasons, he’s built a formidable team at Nevada. The Wolf Pack are led by fifth-year senior Jarod Lucas who is in his second season after transferring from Oregon State. Lucas is averaging 17.8 points a game while playing next to fellow fifth-year senior Kenan Blackshear, a 6-foot-6 point guard scoring 15.1 points and dishing out 4.8 assists a game. 

With 10 combined years of experience in the backcourt, Nevada is +2.1 in turnover margin, only giving it away 10.0 times a game to 15.2 assists. Consistent backcourt play is like Chinese takeout, it travels well. The Wolf Pack went 8-3 on the road this season and were 3-1 at neutral sites. 

Beyond just operating well on the offensive end, Nevada is 31st in Kenpom adjusted defensive efficiency and the Wolf Pack holds opponents to 41.5% from the field. Nevada might be one of my favorite sleeper contenders and if there’s a team from the Mountain West that is going to get to the Final Four this season, I’d bet on Nevada, not San Diego State.