The first weekend of the NCAA Tournament is the best weekend of the calendar year (this is fact, not an opinion). Dozens of college basketball games with teams and players trying to make themselves a household name, even if for just the weekend. Small schools from smaller conferences get their shot at knocking off schools with more established basketball pedigrees. This is going to be a series where we take a look at 22 conferences and the schools most likely to represent them in the NCAA Tournament. Consider this early bracket research to find that Cinderella team that busts everyone’s bracket...except yours.
Last Year’s NCAA Participant: UNC Wilmington
Prior Years Upset Team: VCU was the last Colonial team to notch an upset win when they beat Wichita State as a 12-seed in 2012. But the Colonial really got themselves on the map when VCU and George Mason both made runs to the Final Four as double-digit seeds in 2011 and 2006 respectively.
We are simply looking for teams capable of a first round upset here. Final Four runs might be a little harder to predict. But here are the teams with a chance to notch a win in the opening weekend.
College of Charleston
KenPom Rank: 118
Off Efficiency: 110.3 (86)
Def Efficiency: 105.5 (169)
eFG%: 52.8% (94)
Why are the dangerous: This team has 3 very dangerous scorers. Grant Riller averages 18.7 points per game, Joe Chealey scores 18.5 and Jarrell Brantley averages 17.0. That is some balance and gives whomever they play a challenge of having to contain three guys who could go off. In addition to that, the Cougars take care of the ball only turning it over 14.7% of the time. That ranks them as the 10th best team in the country at not turning the ball over.
Rebounding is a weakness, they are severely lacking in size and defensively they are just OK. But watch out for this team if they get rolling on offense.
This preview is easy in the fact that the Colonial champ has been crowned and Charleston is the only team we have to look at. Bracket Matrix has the Cougars as a 14-seed and don’t be totally surprised if they move up to a 13.
If they get a matchup with a team that isn’t particularly strong on defense, this is a potential upset pick.