Checking out all 68 teams in the field

Manhattan (51): The Jaspers play rough, physical man-to-man defense, are willing to sacrifice fouls for turnovers and rarely allow opponents to shoot 3s. Seniors George Beamon, Michael Alvardo and Rhamel Brown set an imposing tone. Really intriguing team.

North Dakota State (50): The Bison enter the tournament with an offense ranked among the top 20 in adjusted efficiency. NDSU doesn't shoot 3s well but almost never takes them. Smart shot selection, few turnovers and a genuine star in forward Taylor Braun make Saul Phillips' team a rightfully trendy upset pick.

Stephen F. Austin (49): While we avoid making a professional wrestling joke, we'll also inform you that SFA hasn't lost since Nov. 23. The Lumberjacks play hectic pressing defense and ended opponents' possessions in an average of 16 seconds -- faster than any team in the country, per's possession-length statistics. Their combination of aggressive defense and careful, persistent offense is the stuff NCAA upsets are made of.

Harvard (48): This is the true gem of the group, and not just because of that $30 billion endowment. After upsetting No. 3-seeded New Mexico in last year's tournament and getting seniors Brandyn Curry and Kyle Casey back from a yearlong academic suspension, Tommy Amaker's team entered the season as the most mentioned mid-major darling in the country. A loss at Florida Atlantic revoked that status in a hurry. Since then, the Crimson quietly dominated the Ivy League -- finishing first or second in nearly every relevant statistical category -- and ranked 33rd in adjusted efficiency by the end of the season. Harvard was the first team to clinch its bid, and it will enter this NCAA tournament rested, deep, experienced and just straight-up good. Look out.


With the caveat that the NCAA tournament is a wildly unpredictable mess, and that we have no idea what we're talking about, these are the high-major teams -- some of which barely survived the bubble -- that look likely to bow out sooner rather than later.

BYU (47): The Cougars limped to the tournament, almost literally. On Wednesday, sophomore guard Kyle Collinsworth was diagnosed with a torn ACL from a fall he suffered against Gonzaga on Tuesday night. Tyler Haws' midrange scoring is worth the price of admission, but that's about it.

NC State (46): On Sunday night, the Wolfpack became the single-most shocking bubble inclusion of the season. Maybe the past five seasons. Not that we're complaining: NC State's surprise arrival in the bracket means more meaningful college basketball from forward T.J. Warren, arguably the nation's best scorer not named Doug McDermott. Yes please.

Xavier (45): The Musketeers never quite got there on the defensive end this season, and it took them longer than expected to secure an at-large berth. Keep watch for guard Semaj Christon, though. If he's on a roll, Xavier gets interesting in a hurry.

Dayton (44): For the past three seasons, Archie Miller's team has been among the nation's hardest to solve -- capable of beating good teams and losing to awful ones in seemingly random fashion. This season, Dayton went on a bad-loss diet, played great basketball down the stretch.

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