The Gonzaga Bulldogs appear poised for the No. 1 ranking in next week’s polls, and at 20-0, it’s safe to say they will not be sneaking up on anyone come March. But there are still plenty of teams from mid-major leagues that could spring an upset or two.
ESPN analysts Dick Vitale and Seth Greenberg discussed the most likely candidates for a bracket-busting run.
Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders
Greenberg: Middle Tennessee to me is a team that could do something special. I look at this team, and they’ve got [Giddy] Potts, they’ve got [Reggie] Upshaw, and they’ve got [JaCorey] Williams. They’ve got three guys that can play anywhere in America. If you see Middle Tennessee in your bracket, you’re going to have to play against a team that plays this 1-3-1 zone, back to a 2-3. You’re talking about an athletic team. [In Kermit Davis], you’re talking about a guy that is not a good coach; he’s a great coach, terrific game coach. His teams play as hard as anybody.
Vitale: You beat me to the punch, Seth. I was down there to speak at a banquet, watched them practice, and I was going to say the same thing. I think Kermit Davis’s clubs, they’re very athletic. They’ve got a great three-point shooter. Potts is it? He can flat-out shoot the three, and I’m telling you, they’re a very dangerous team.
I was blown away by their talent. I was blown away. As you mentioned, Upshaw, all you’ve got to do if you don’t believe Seth and I is pick up the phone, I’ll give you his number, I’ll give you his cell phone, you call up Tom Izzo and ask him about Middle Tennessee State.
Saint Mary’s Gaels
Greenberg: Saint Mary’s could be a team because of their ability to shoot the ball. Jock Landale has become a tough matchup. They assist on 66 percent of their field goals. They’re a great passing team.
Vitale: I thought Saint Mary’s last year got a raw deal. I hope they don’t get one this year because it is going to be tough for them to beat Gonzaga, and Gonzaga is that good.
Greenberg: Out of the MAC, if Akron gets out of the MAC, I’m just telling you, Keith Dambrot can really coach, and he’s got an experienced team. He’s got a big kid (Isaiah) Johnson who’s a big-bodied kid that carves out space. They play hard. They’ve got physicality about them. Akron is a sneaky good team.