NCAA Tournament 2017 Picks: Five Teams That Could Bust Brackets

by NESN Staff

March 12, 2017

Let the madness begin.

The bracket for the 2017 NCAA Tournament was revealed Sunday, and it’s time to look at the teams that will make you tear up your brackets over the next couple of weeks.

Here are five potential bracket busters.

East Tennessee State
The No. 13 seed in the East Region will open against the fourth-seeded Florida Gators and should be a trendy upset pick. The champions of the Southern Conference are led by senior guard T.J. Cromer, who’s averaged 19.1 points per game. The Buccaneers average a touch south of 80 points per game and should be a difficult matchup for the Gators. Should East Tennessee State advance, it has the potential to upset either the No. 5 seed Virginia Cavaliers or the No. 12 seed University of North Carolina-Wilmington Seahawks.

North Carolina-Wilmington
Speaking of potential bracket busters, the Seahawks gave Duke a run for its money in last year’s first-round matchup and they get another Atlantic Coast Conference team this year in Virginia. The Seahawks have a high-powered offense that scores 85 points per game and has the ability to give the Cavaliers’ “Pack Line” defense some trouble. Should the Seahawks knock off the Cavaliers they could very well keep on dancing into the Sweet 16.

Rhode Island
This one isn’t difficult. The Rams are red-hot after winning the Atlantic-10 Conference Tournament and were rewarded with the No. 11 seed in the Midwest Region. Rhode Island will face a beatable No. 6 seed in Creighton during the first round, and it also has the potential to knock off the No. 3 seed Oregon Ducks in a potential second-round matchup, thanks to a balanced scoring attack and a defense that holds teams to 29 percent from 3-point range.

Wichita State
The Shockers were rewarded for winning the Missouri Valley Conference with the No. 10 seed in the South Region and have a date with the seventh-seed Dayton Flyers. While these aren’t the same Shockers that have been rocking the boat during recent seasons, this young group definitely has the talent to make some noise. If the Shockers can get past Dayton, a potential matchup with the No. 2 seed Kentucky Wildcats awaits. Remember when Wichita State got knocked off by the Wildcats when it was a No. 1 seed during the 2014 NCAA Tournament? Don’t think revenge won’t be on the Shockers’ minds.

Florida Gulf Coast
“Dunk City” is back in the Big Dance and this time the No. 14 seed Eagles won’t be overlooked. A first-round tilt with the No. 3 seed Florida State Seminoles and star guard Dwayne Bacon should be a high-scoring affair. Florida Gulf Coast has the athletes to defend the Seminoles out on the perimeter and junior guard Brandon Goodwin has the playmaking ability to help pull off an upset or two.

Thumbnail photo via Tommy Gilligan/USA TODAY Sports Images

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