1) No. 13 Tulsa (vs. No. 4 UCLA; then either No. 5 VCU/No. 12 Stephen F. Austin): A first-round match-up against UCLA, a team that rendered the vaunted Arizona defense toothless, appears catastrophically poor for Danny Manning’s squad, but the Golden Hurricane is also a sound defensive squad, one that forces turnovers at a pretty rapid rate (20.4 percent).
2) No. 11 Nebraska (vs. No. 6 Baylor; then either No. 3 Creighton/No. 14 Louisiana-Lafayette): Even though Nebraska isn’t an offensive juggernaut, Baylor’s defense provides large gaps for point production — only one other at-large squad had a worse defensive efficiency rate than Scott Drew’s team (North Carolina State).
3) No. 14 Mercer (vs. No. 3 Duke; then either No. 6 Massachusetts/No. 11 Iowa/No. 11 Tennessee): There is an offensive balance to this team — no one Bear truly dominates touches — which could be an problem for a Duke team possessing some defensive issues.
I am not saying that either of these three teams will win it all, but I’m also not saying that they will easily get beaten in the first round.
For more on this story visit: Matt Giles, NBC Sports