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NCAA Basketball March Madness

2013 March Madness: 5 Lower Seeds That Could Make an Elite 8 Run

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Lower Seeds That Could Make an Elite 8 Run In NCAA Tournament

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Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

One of the best parts of March Madness every year are the lower seeds that make some unexpected noise in the NCAA Tournament. Often referred to as Cinderellas or bracket-busters, these teams shock the sports world each spring by knocking off top rated opponents.

A lower seeded team that makes an incredible run can define the whole tournament. For example, the 2008 NCAA Tournament is more remembered for Davidson’s improbable run to the Elite 8, than it is for Kansas defeating Memphis in the championship game. When looking back at the greatest moments of March Madness, there’s usually some type of Cinderella involved.

With really no dominant teams in the field of 68 this year, the optimism from multiple low seeds to make historic March Madness runs is at an ultimate high. From low seeded powerhouse conference squads that snuck their way into the field with an at-large bid, to mid-majors that were able to win their conference tournaments, I expect quite a few low seeds to make it to the second weekend of this year’s tournament.

Some of the teams that will make a few unbelievable upsets in this year’s tournament will have an outstanding player who leads the way, or a great coach who puts together brilliant game plans, while others will simply get a kiss from Lady Luck.

The Cinderellas and bracket-busters are what make made March Madness one of greatest sporting events. Although predicting these bracket-busters can seem like a shot in the dark, there are a few low seeded teams in this season’s tournament that can make a strong case for this year’s Cinderella.

Without further delay, here’s a look at five lower seeds that could make an Elite 8 run.

Matt Malecha is a writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @MattMalecha and add him to your network on Google.

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Akron Zips

Akron Zips
Eric P. Mull-USA TODAY Sports

Tournament Seed: 12

Region: South

Champions of the MAC, Akron was a highly touted mid-major for the majority of this year. However, after the Zips star point guard Alex Abreu was suspended for the reminder of the season, many gave up on Akron. Although the loss of Abreu hurts, Zeke Marshall and the Zips have enough skill to shake up the South Region, and play for the right to advance to Atlanta.

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Bucknell Bison

Bucknell Bison
Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Tournament Seed: 11

Region: East

The Bucknell Bison are a very dangerous No. 11 seed. Winners of the Patriot League, the Bison have only five losses this season, four of which were by three or less points. Led by forward Mike Muscala, Bucknell has the tools to make a serious run in this year’s tournament.

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Illinois Fighting Illini

Illinois Fighting Illini
Bradley Leeb-USA TODAY Sports

Tournament Seed: 7

Region: East

With wins over Gonzaga and Indiana, Illinois certainly has the talent to compete with anyone in the country. The Illini rely heavily on their perimeter shooting, which can be a good or bad thing depending on if shooters Brandon Paul, D.J. Richardson and Tyler Griffey are hot. If upbeat head coach John Groce can ignite his squad, the Illini could find themselves in the Elite 8.

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Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Tournament Seed: 7

Region: West

It seems that whenever Notre Dame is granted a high seed in the NCAA Tournament, they disappoint with an early exit. Seeded 7th this year, the Irish don’t have the pressure of a top seed to deal with. With double-double machine Jack Cooley leading the way and the luck of the Irish on their side, Notre Dame is capable of advancing to the Elite 8 in the West Region.

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Ole Miss Rebels

Ole Miss Rebels
Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

Tournament Seed: 12

Region: West

Winners of the SEC Tournament, Ole Miss is heading into the tournament with some confidence. Leading scorer Marshall Henderson loves to put on a show, and can carry a team on his back when he wants to. Don’t be surprised if the Rebels sneak their way into the tournament’s second weekend.