March Madness 2022 Tournament Underdogs
The March Madness tournament is amazing for many reasons. The tournament offers one of the largest fields in all sports. An incredible 68 teams go dancing each March. With so many teams, there is an obvious gradient of skill level throughout the seeds. This year, the number 1 overall seed of the tournament is Gonzaga. They hold the best odds to win the championship, a game they got to last year but could not finish.
As good as the selection committee is at seeding teams, this is the wonderful world of sports. Anything can happen on any given night. In 2018, we witnessed the first ever 1 seed losing to a 16 seed. The Virginia Cavaliers were ousted in the first round by UMBC making 1 seeds 143-1 all-time.
It would be almost impossible to predict that upset, and all the other upsets that are bound to happen. History says there will most likely be at least one 12 seed over 5 seed upset. While having all 1 and 2 seeds advance looks good on paper, truth is this is highly unlikely, and upsets are going to happen. Here is a look at tournament underdogs that have a chance to make a big splash this March.
12 Seed in South Region
First Round Matchup: 5 seed Houston Cougars
The best upsets are the ones no one saw coming. As mentioned earlier, history says at least one 12 seed is going to upset a 5 seed. This matchup, however, is not one many have on their radars for first round matchups.
Houston is a great team that has a season full of average wins and have struggled against teams like Memphis (twice), who are the 9 seed in the West. Their strength of schedule ranks 52nd among college basketball, quite low for a team looking to play against the best of the best.
UAB is on an absolute tear as of late and are coming into this tournament on a 7-game winning streak. Not to get too technical, but here is a breakdown using the famous Pomeroy College Basketball Ratings. UAB has the 28th ranked offense, much higher than their 47th ranking overall. Their offense is clicking behind their leading scorer Jordan Walker with 20.4 points, a scoring genius. UAB are ranked 80th in tempo, compared to 333rd in Houston. It seems to line up that a highly rated offence that way outpaces their opponent, has a change on the big upset. Take this with you as you wish, but don’t think Houston is going to slow this down and grind out a low scoring affair.