Last season there were four ridiculous, bracket-ruining upsets in the NCAA Tournament with teams like No. 14 UAB (over No. 3 Iowa State), and No. 14 Georgia State (over No. 3 Baylor) advancing in a crazy first two days.
With the most parity in a bracket in recent memory, the 2016 field of teams boasts the worst No. 1 seeds in history (none of them have fewer than four losses) and some of the strongest No. 2's.
We'll worry about picking a winner later. For now, here are fiveupsets to keep an eye on -- or if you want to be bold, circle them on your bracket.
No. 12 South Dakota State over No. 5 Maryland
The Jackrabbitsare a 12-seed despite ranking 28th in RPI. This means, ignoring conference affiliation or a few other indicators the selection committee uses to seed teams, they might be as good as a seven-seed on paper. Maryland is 14th in RPI and has played a battle-tested Big 10 schedule, but history has shown teams from conference like the Summit League can thwart household names. South Dakota State is also 14-7 on the road or on a neutral court while Maryland is 9-7 in the same circumstance (with a losing record on the road).
No. 11 Northern Iowa vs. No. 6 Texas
Northern Iowa was inconsistent during its regular season, needing to win the Mountain Valley Conference Tournament to secure a bid. But look at their list of accomplishments: they beat No. 1 North Carolina, No. 5 Iowa State, No. 25 Wichita State (in two of three meetings) and are also 12-1 in their last 13. Facing the red-hot Panthers, Texas will have its hands full relying on a squad without top scorer and rebounderCameron Ridley.
No. 10 VCU vs. No. 7 Oregon State
Even as the lower-seeded team. VCU has been picked by 56% of bracket-makers so far. They have the nation's 33rd best RPI, two behind Oregon State's 31st and are battled tested in the A-10. The Beavers are making their first appearance in the dance in 26 years and cling to an impressive 11th best strength of schedule (compared to the Rams' 59th best SOS). Oregon State also allows just two fewer points per game than they average on offense.
No. 13 Stony Brook vs. No. 4 Kentucky
That's right folks, Kentucky is at risk here. And you haveJameel Warneyto thank. One of the nation's most underrated rebounders and scorers, the Seawolves' star is about to break into the mainstream looking to follow up his ridiculous 43 point, 10 rebound night over Vermont to win the America East Conference Tournament. Kentucky has been inconsistent during a down-season in the SEC. Watch out Wildcat faithful.
No. 11 Gonzaga vs. No. 6 Seton Hall
Seton Hall has momentum on its side after a high-touted upset win against Villanova in the Big East finals. But Gonzaga has momentum as well --just Pacific Northwest, low-key momentum. The Zags are in their 18th straight NCAA Tournament and have won five straight. They are also following up last year's Elite 8 run with much of the same squad. The pressure could get to the Pirates, who are just happy to be in the field.