Belmont vs. Murray State Odds, Picks, Predictions For Thursday College  Basketball (February 24)

March is upon us; hence the madness is back! Every Year there are one to two mid-major teams that not a single person has seen play make a run into the sweet 16. Last year it was Oral Roberts and Abeline Christian; historically, four double-digit seeded teams made the sweet 16 in the previous year’s tournament. So to avoid this year’s madness, here are five mid-majors teams that you need to know.

 

Murray State Racers

Murray State basketball still succeeding after Ja Morant era - Sports  Illustrated

Record 28-2 

Conference: OVC 

This probably isn’t the first time you have heard about Murray St. It wasn’t too long ago that Ja Morant was put on the national stage leading the Racers to a round of 32 after an upset win over Marquette. But, somehow, this team might be better. They are an undefeated 18-0 in their conference with big wins @Memphis, vs. Chattanooga (Another sleeper team), and being in-conference rival Belmont who is 15-3 in the conference; twice by 20+ points each time; plus one of their two losses came @Auburn. They are led by a three-headed monster of KJ Williams (18.2 PPG), Tevin Brown (16.4PPG), and Justice Hill (13.0 PPG). While they are currently ranked 22nd in the country, calling them a sleeper might be an insult, yet how many of you have watched the Racers play basketball this season. This team can definlty make a run and is currently projected to have a ninth seed.

Wyoming Cowboys

Wyoming Cowboys to face San Diego State Thursday, Saturday | Powell Tribune

Record 23-7

Conference: Mountain West 

Wyoming has a dynamic duo that certainly ranks top 10 in college basketball. Led by Sophmore Grahm Ike (20.3PPG and 9.8R) and Senior Hunter Maldanado (18.9 PPG, 5.6R, 6.3A), this is undoubtedly a duo that can propel the Cowboys into a potential deep run. The Cowboys have played a decently demanding schedule as in conference; the Mountain West is projected to have four teams in this tournament. For perspective, the Pac-12 is projected to have only three. While the Cowboys don’t have much depth to them, if Ike and Maldanado both get hot in a game, the projected nine seed could make a run to the sweet 16, in my opinion.

Davidson Wildcats

Men's Basketball - Davidson College Athletics

Record 25-4

Conference: A-10

Once again, this is a sleepers article, but not many people haven’t heard of Davidson. While they haven’t made the tournament in four years, this team was possibly just as dangerous as the Steph Curry team back in 2008. They have four players who average over 12PPG, and all four of those players shoot over 38.5% from three. This team is full of snipers led by Korean-born Hyunjung Lee (16.5PPG) and former Michigan St point guard Foster Loyer(16.5PPG). They are 15-2 in the conference and have a huge quality out-of-conference win beating Alabama @Alabama. The tournament sometimes goes down to who can hot, and with so many shooters on the floor at any point, the Wildcats can run you off the floor. Plus, Head Coach Bob McKillop has been there before and should have his team ready. 

San Francisco Dons

Frankie Ferrari - Men's Basketball - University of San Francisco Athletics

Record 23-8

Conference: WCC

Usually, when someone brings up a team from the WCC, the first names that pop up are Gonzaga and St. Marys; well, enter in the Dons, and they have the potential to make a run in this year’s tourney. They are a deeper team as they have eight guys playing 14+ minutes a game and are led by Jamaree Bouyea (17ppg 5R, 4.1A). In addition, the Dons have played a demanding schedule that should prepare them for the tourney as they have played other tough mid-major schools like Loyola-Chicago, Davidson, and Grand Canyon. The one downfall and why I don’t 100% trust the Dons is that they have not been competitive in their three most significant games of the season, which was at home vs. Gonzaga and both games vs. St. Marys. Yet if the Dons get the right matchup, I like it as a potential first-round upset.

South Dakota St Jackrabbits

Bama Basketball Breakdown: South Dakota State - Roll 'Bama Roll

Record 27-4

Conference: Summit

If you love teams that put the ball in the basket, the Jackrabbits are your sleeper team on the tournament. The Jackrabbits average 87.2 points per game which is good for 3rds in the country. This team is extremely deep, with nine guys playing 15+ minutes a game and seven guys averaging 8+ points. They are led by the trio of Baylor Schierman (16.2 PPG 8.2R, and 4.6A), Douglas Wilson(16 PPG), and Noah Friedel(15.1 PPG). While they don’t have any notable out-of-conference wins, a team that can score at will and a team that most likely will be riding a 20+ game win streak entering the tournament is a team most teams don’t want to face in the round of 64. So look for the Jackrabbits to bust some brackets this March Madness.

 

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