Don't have an account?
Join the Best Live Fantasy Chat Community!

Lost password? [X]

Receive free daily analysis:

NFL    NBA    MLB

Already have an account? Log in here.

[X]

Forgot Password


[X]

2019 NCAA Tournament: Five Teams That Could Surprise


The 2019 NCAA Tournament is about ready to take over the sports world as the second round of the Tournament will get underway on Thursday and Friday.

Every year there's one at least one team that "shocks the world" and makes a run to the Sweet 16/Elite Eight and sometimes to the Final Four -- Loyola (Chicago), VCU, George Mason, Butler, etc... Is there such a team this year? Maybe.

They do call it March Madness for a reason. All teams listed are seeded seventh or lower. Here are five sleepers to keep an eye on as the tournament unfolds this week.

Editor's Note: Be sure to check out the rest of our NCAA Tournament articles and analysis, including a guide on how to fill out your brackets. Read our March Madness picks, sleepers, busts and predictions for the EastWestSouth and Midwest regions.

 

No. 13 Vermont Catamounts

The Catamounts are a solid team that knows how to win as Vermont has won at least 27 games in each of the last three seasons. Defense is the Cats mantra as they are good at getting stops and keeping opponents off of the offensive glass. Vermont is holding its opponents to just .86 points per shot and 42 percent shooting from the field overall.  The Catamounts are collecting 78.8 percent of all defensive rebounds, which is the second highest percentage in the nation.

It is not all about the defense for the Cats, as Anthony Lamb, an NBA prospect, and Ernie Duncan are proven scorers. Lamb has always been a reliable scorer and rebounder, but he has improved his ball-handling and three-point shooting this year. The 6-foot-6 junior is averaging 21.4 points along with 7.8 rebounds and 2.2 assists while shooting 52.1 percent from the floor as well as 41.3 percent from long distance.

Vermont's lack of size, particularly in the frontcourt, could end the Cats' Tournament run before it even starts.

 

No. 12  Oregon Ducks

Expectations were high at the beginning of the year for the preseason #14 Ducks as junior point guard Payton Pritchard, and senior forward Paul White returned. Coach Dana Altman also brought in highly touted prospects Bol Bol, Louis King, Will Richardson, and Miles Norris as part of his 2018 recruiting class. Bol Bol got off to a fabulous start but only appeared in nine games as a result of a season-ending foot injury. The Ducks were 6-3 at the time of Bol's injury, and they went 9-9 over the next 18 games.

Oregon enters the Tournament on an eight-game winning streak, with seven of the eight victories by double-digits, behind the superb play of King and Pritchard. King has scored in double-figures in six of the eight games while Pritchard has done so on seven occasions.

The Ducks are very long with four starters standing at least 6-foot-9 or taller, which has helped them finish the regular season with the 18th best defensive efficiency, per KenPom. The Ducks also rank 12th in block percentage and 20th in steal percentage. In addition, they have held seven of their last eight opponents to under 61 points.

Oregon's biggest issue is offense. Besides not having a go-to-scorer, the Ducks decision-making leaves a lot to be desired, as does their shot selection.

If the Ducks can generate enough offense, they are good enough defensively to still be alive on the second weekend. Oregon has limited its opponents to 40.2 percent shooting from the field and 29.4 percent from beyond the arc this season, which ranks 22nd and 11th nationally.  The Ducks have five wins over Tournament teams.

 

No. 12 Murray State Racers

Murray State has won 11 straight games, which coincides with the insertion of 6-foot-8 junior college transfer Darnell Cowart into the starting lineup. But make no mistake, the Racers chances of advancing past Mississippi State in the Round of 64 and beyond depends on how well top-NBA prospect Ja Morant performs. The 6-foot-2 point guard is an incredibly explosive athlete who attacks the paint at will and can knock down perimeter jumpers on a semi-consistent basis. But Morant is more than just a scorer as he is also the NCAA's assist leader at 10 dimes per game. He has scored 20 or more points on 25 occasions and posted double-digit assists 18 times.

 

No. 8 Syracuse Orange

The Orange are not in good form, losing six of nine. However, they have a habit of making surprising Tournament runs as a result of how difficult it is for opponents to prepare for their patented 2-3 zone. A few recent examples: last season the Orange tied for 10th in the ACC and were a First Four participant, but they ended up winning three games to reach the Sweet 16, and two years prior, Syracuse was tied for ninth in the ACC and made it to the Final Four.

So, how can the Orange make a similar run? The top reason is that the Orange own the 24th-most efficient defense in the country as they are tall and long with each of SU's top eight players standing 6-foot-5 or taller. Syracuse ranks 41st in the nation in scoring defense (65.7), 17th in field goal percentage (39.8 percent), 43rd in two-point field goal percentage (46.5 percentage) and 72nd in three-point percentage (32.3 percent). The Orange are also 14th in steal percentage and second in block percentage.

Offensively, the 'Cuse is not the most efficient. However, guard Tyus Battle is an excellent scorer and shot-maker. But he will need help from Oshae Brissett as well as Elijah Hughes for the Orange to have any chance of advancing. Syracuse has victories over Duke, Ohio State, Louisville, and Northeastern.

While Battle, who missed the ACC Tournament due to a back injury, is expected to be ready for Thursday's game against Baylor, junior guard Frank Howard will not play as he has been suspended for a policy violation.

 

No.7 Nevada Wolf Pack

While it is likely the four teams listed above, with the possible exception of Syracuse, will not survive past the Round of 16, if they can get there in the first place, the Wolf Pack are different. If Nevada is able to play at it neck-breaking pace and aggressively, the Pack could reach at least the Elite Eight if not the Final Four.

Nevada is an experienced and talented squad that is long and versatile. The Martin twins -- Caleb and Cody -- along with Jordan Caroline lead the way for the Wolfpack, which ranks in the top-35 in both offensive and defensive efficiency.

 




More Recent Articles

 

Week 11 Start/Sit: Monday Night Football Matchups Analysis

Welcome back to Mexico City. Last season, the Chiefs were supposed to take on the Rams in this game before field conditions moved the game to Los Angeles. Even though the game was moved, the fantasy output was amazing as both teams scored over 50 points and there was not an unhappy fan among us.... Read More


Fantasy Football News and Injuries - Running Updates

Below is a quick-hit list of running notes on relevant injuries and player news, including pre-game reports and live in-game updates. Stay tuned for updates all throughout the week and on Sunday morning game day:   Week 11 Marlon Mack has been diagnosed with a broken hand and may be out several weeks. Emmanuel Sanders (ribs)... Read More


Week 12 Waiver Wire Pickups & Adds

This could be the most exciting installment of waiver wire adds in a while. Not that any of these choices are necessarily league-winners but at least we have a bunch of new names to ponder. Bye weeks are nearly over but this one will be particularly tough with the high-scoring Chiefs, Vikings, Chargers, and Cardinals... Read More


Waiver Wire Express - Week 12 Lightning Round

We're onto Week 12, which means the last of the bye weeks approaches. The Cardinals, Chargers, Chiefs and Vikings hit the hammocks as we can finally start to look at players without worrying about future offweeks. To help you look towards those precious playoff weeks, here is the waiver wire lightning round heading into Week... Read More


Running Back Waiver Wire Pickups - Week 12

The regular season continues to advance at a relentless pace as we have now entered the planning process for Week 12. Some of you are concentrating on building lineups that will commandeer a spot in the fantasy playoffs, while others are making slight adjustments to teams that have already secured their place in the postseason.... Read More


Wide Receiver Waiver Wire Pickups - Week 12

Week 11 is behind us and we're getting closer and closer to the end of the fantasy regular season. For some of us, Week 12 represents the final chance to get into the postseason, while for others we have another week or two left. Here, to help you get ready for the playoffs, is a... Read More


Week 12 Tight End Waiver Wire Picks and Streamers

With fantasy football leagues only a couple weeks away from their playoffs, this is not the time for teams to be short a tight end. Not only do fantasy footballers have no Travis Kelce or Hunter Henry during this crucial week in their fantasy seasons, they do not get to take advantage of using a... Read More


Quarterback Waiver Wire Pickups and Streamers - Week 12

We saw some monster weeks at the quarterbacks position, with four quarterbacks topping 37 points, and ten scoring over 25 points. These weren't all big names putting up these points either, as low-owned quarterbacks like Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, and even Jeff Driskel had some big numbers in Week 11. That means we've got plenty... Read More


Week 11 Fantasy Football Staff Rankings

Below you will find all of RotoBaller's fantasy football weekly rankings, tiers, player news and stats for the 2019 NFL season. Our Ranking Wizard displays our staff's rankings for various league formats, all in one easy place. Here's what you'll find: Weekly PPR Rankings Weekly Half-PPR Rankings Weekly Standard Rankings Dynasty League Rankings     Fantasy... Read More


NFL Matchup Ratings Tool - Weekly Player Projections

  If you see the red "Upgrade" button below, then you are not a Premium subscriber, or have not yet logged in. Learn more about our NFL Matchup Ratings and projections system.   NFL Matchup Ratings - Weekly Lineup Projections FLEX RB WR TE QB DEF K ** click column headers to sort table Player... Read More


Week 11 Chat - Live Fantasy Football Game Day Q&A

It's Sunday Morning Week 11... Do You Know Who to Start? Each Sunday morning of the NFL season, RotoBaller's experts will be moderating the industry's leading live chat room and answering a bunch of your fantasy football questions, from around 10:30 AM to 1:00 PM ET. Come join in on the fun, and get your... Read More


Fantasy Football Starts and Sits: Matchups Analysis for Week 11

Welcome to our Week 11 matchup analysis and start/sit column for fantasy football. We'll be covering every single contest from the Sunday slate in one convenient location, helping you make the best decisions for your fantasy lineups. Be sure to check back regularly because this article will be updated as news comes in regarding injuries and other... Read More


Wide Receiver / Cornerback Matchups To Target in Week 11

In Week 10, the Buccaneers defeated the Cardinals in a game that featured a whopping 57 points scored between the two teams. Christian Kirk was expected to exploit the Buccaneers weak secondary, and he exceeded all expectations by catching three touchdowns, finishing as the No. 1 wide receiver on the week. On the other side... Read More


Holiday Shopping - Who To Buy For The Playoffs Run

As the fantasy football season nears the home stretch, most owners should begin turning their eyes towards the remaining six weeks of the fantasy schedule. Either you're comfortably in the playoffs and need to see who you should be rostering in order to get the best matchups or you need that extra boost to qualify... Read More


Updated Week 11 PPR Rankings (Top 300)

Welcome to Week 11 RotoBallers. Below are our updated consensus Week 11 PPR rankings for fantasy football, including some running notes on relevant injuries, player news and rankings updates: Emmanuel Sanders is officially active. George Kittle (ankle, knee) has officially been ruled out. Matt Breida will not play in Week 11. Jay Ajayi was signed by the... Read More