Potential 2012 Bracket Buster Teams In Each Region
The statistic I value you most in the tournament is Rebounds. Of course defensive stats, and scoring stats are a factor, but Rebounds are most important. In the majority of cases, the team who has more rebounds wins the game. If a low-seeded team can rebound, and have the bonus of shooting the 3-ball, they’re the complete Cinderella package (which is obviously rare).
For the sake of the article the Bracket Buster standard is a team seeded #10 or above
New Mexico State (26-9)- The Aggies are the 13 seed in an extremely tough South region, but these guys can do some serious damage. They have 7 guys averaging over 3 rpg and are 6th overall in the NCAA with 40.3 RPG, only UNC averages more in the tournament. On top of that their 11th overall in points per game with a 47FG% (ranking 31st). Expect Senior forward Wendall McKines (21 double-doubles this season) to have some big games if they make a run.
Brigham Young (26-8)- BYU might be the best #14 seed of all-time. Although they didn’t look too great against Iona, they made a great comeback to earn a shot against #3 seed Marquette. BYU has scary team stats, they rank 21st overall in RPG, 13th overall in PPG, 6th in APG, and 43rd overall in FG%. The only problem is they only have one notable win, which came against Gonzaga in the regular season. But I believe if Noah Harstock and Brandon Davies are big inside like they were against Iona, then they can ruin a lot of brackets.
Norfolk State (25-9)- Norfolk State plays Missouri in the first round, and are a huge underdog, but by no means are they a bad team. They rank 76th overall in RPG with 36.4 (Missouri ranks 297th overall with 32.2 RPG). The Spartans are led by beast Kyle O’Quinn who averages 15.9 ppg, 10.4 rpg, 2.7 bpg, and an unreal 58.3FG%. If this team beats Mizzou it could go down as one of the greatest tourny upsets of all-time.
West Virginia (19-13)- WVU had a lot of ups and downs this season but came out a #10 seed. The Mountaineers have beaten Kansas State, Georgetown, Cincinnati and have lost by two points to Baylor and Syracuse (Cuse, Kstate, and Cinci all in East Region). This is a great rebounding team, 23rd overall with 38.4 RPG, and believe it or not they are the BEST rebounding team in the East region. Expect Kevin Jones (20.1 ppg 11.1 rpg) to put up monster stats.
Belmont (27-7)- Belmont almost caused huge trouble for brackets in the past, and this seems to be the year to jump on their bandwagon. Belmont is a solid rebounding team with 36.3 RPG (83rd overall), and on top of that they have one of the best offenses in the tournament. They are 4th in PPG, 5th in APG, and 17th in FG%…all the tools for a Cinderella team. Unfortunately Belmont has no notable wins, but in their season opener they only lost to Duke by one…at Duke. As we saw from the stats, Belmont’s scoring isn’t any issue, they have four guys averaging over 10 ppg. The real key for the Bruins is Mick Hedgepeth and Scott Saunders and their rebounding. If they step up and grab boards, look for Belmont in the Sweet 16.
NC State (22-12)- I’m not the biggest fan of the Wolfpack, but what gets my attention is their rebounding. With the help of C.J Leslie and Richard Howell they average 37.3 RPG (43rd in NCAA). They also have a surprisingly good offense ranked 13th in APG, and 51st in PPG. NC State really doesn’t have too many notable wins in Texas, Miami (2x), and Virginia. But they are well coached by Mark Gottfried who can take this experienced team on a run.
Place your glass slipper wisely.