When you take a quick look at the 2015 NCAA Tournament bracket, one of the first things that jumps out is the lack of clear upset potential in seed Nos. 1-5. Last season, it was easy to point at North Dakota State (12) over the Oklahoma Sooners (5) or Stephen F. Austin (12) over the VCU Rams (5) and say here is where the upsets could happen, and they did.
This season, that’s not the case at all. The most likely chance at a top five seed being upset in the second-round seems to be the Wyoming Cowboys (12) over Northern Iowa (5), and that’s only because Wyoming is probably deserving of a little higher seed than No. 12.
Which is why you’re going to have to find this year’s bracket-busting teams in the 7-10 seed range, the most dangerous of which will be the No. 9 seeded LSU Tigers.
LSU floundered out of the SEC Tournament in an overtime loss to the Auburn Tigers, but it needs to be noted that Auburn defeated LSU earlier in the season. Sometimes you just don’t match up well against a team, and the Tigers didn’t play well against the Texas A&M Aggies or Auburn all season long.
If you take a look at the Tigers’ schedule, they have wins over a total of six 2015 NCAA Tournament teams, including the No. 5 seeded West Virginia Mountaineers. They have a two-point loss to the No. 1 overall seeded Kentucky Wildcats that they arguably should have won and, most impressively, seemed to play better on the road rather than at home.
Where LSU will dominate opponents in the NCAA Tournament is down low. Jordan Mickey is one of the best shot blockers in college basketball, and he’s complemented perfectly by Jarrell Martin. These two inside players can transform a game for the Tigers; they just need to hit shots from the outside to keep opposing defenses honest.
Unfortunately, the Tigers face a very good NC State Wolfpack team in their opening game. Where LSU boasts one of the best inside games in the country, NC State boasts one of the best guard pairings in the country. These two teams with opposite strengths should come down to the wire, but if LSU comes out on top, they could easily make it into the Sweet 16 over the No. 1 seeded Villanova Wildcats.