By Bryan Zarpentine @BZarp on March 12, 2014
The NCAA Tournament field is already starting to get filled in with automatic qualifiers from small conferences. Most of those teams will be one and done, but every year, a few of them pull off a first round upset; just look at Florida Gulf Coast last year.
Here are five small schools capable of pulling off a big win in this year's NCAA Tournament.
The Crimson knocked off New Mexico in the first round last year, and they're capable of pulling off another upset this year. They may have had an easy schedule in the Ivy League, but they can play with any team in the country, with five players who average double figures and a lot of experience from last year's team, including leading scorer Wesley Saunders.
The Blue Hens come out of the Colonial, which is one of the best mid-majors in the country year after year. They have three players who average 18 points or more per game, and five who average 11 or more, so they know how to score the basketball. Delaware played close games this season with Villanova and Ohio State, so they won't be intimidated by anybody they play, and they have a real chance to pull off an upset.
The Jaspers are led by George Beamon and his 19 points per game. If he gets hot from deep, Manhattan should be considered a real threat to any highly-seeded team that takes them lightly.
Eastern Kentucky got past familiar names like Murray State and Belmont to reach the NCAA Tournament, and that means something. The Colonels can really score the basketball behind Glenn Cosey, and if they get a 15 seed, they'll be in perfect position to take down a 2 seed that overlooks them.
The Bison are the best field goal shooting team in the country, making 51 percent of their shots. They're great at spreading the floor, and even against a good defensive team, they'll be able to score and put a lot of pressure on whichever team they draw in the first round. North Dakota State hasn't lost since Feb. 1, so it's a team that has plenty of confidence heading into The Big Dance, where they'll be a dangerous first round opponent.
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