It's just about time for the greatest tournament in sports, and all eyes are on the college basketball world as teams shuffle for seeding and the chance to reach the big dance. While upsets are obviously what makes March Madness great, most of the focus is on elite teams that could stumble, not on who will be ending their season.
Here are three sneaky mid-majors that could wreck your bracket this March (Statistics and rankings courtesy of Sports Reference CBB):
It may be cheating to claim that Loyola-Chicago is under the radar. This is the same program that made a Cinderella run to the Final Four in 2018, led by the same coach in Porter Moser and six returning seniors who were part of the '18 roster.
This season, the Ramblers aren't shocking anyone. At 19-4, they are currently ranked at #21 in the AP Poll. The team has played their usual brand of grind-it-out basketball, holding opponents to 55.7 points per game, tops in the nation. While Loyola-Chicago's only truly impressive win was over fellow Missouri Valley Conference rival Drake, the team's record should power it to an at-large bid even if they fail to win the MVC Tournament.
Can lightning strike twice in four years? It isn't the craziest thought. The Ramblers are one of the most experienced teams in the tournament, as five of the aforementioned six seniors are scoring more than seven points per game. While their competition hasn't been too impressive, advanced metrics are bullish on the Ramblers. According to KenPom.com, Loyola-Chicago sits at ninth in the nation in adjusted efficiency margin, while ranking as the best in defensive efficiency. No other mid-major sits in the top ten of either category.
San Diego State
Way back when in the early months of 2020, San Diego State looked like a potential top seed in a March Madness tournament we were 20a