Next year’s NCAA basketball tournament should give a relatively great experience for fans and teams alike. Be sure to keep an eye out for these five teams that may make more noise than expected (or otherwise mentioned on ESPN). Within the SEC, the Florida Gators will look to have another impressive year after reaching the Elite Eight. Despite the loss of top senior forwards Vernon Macklin, Alex Tyus and Chandler Parsons, the newly found talent from the likes of Kenny Boynton, Erving Walker and Patric Young should make up for it.
After being knocked out of the Final Four tournament three times in the last five years by Florida, UCLA is looking much stronger this year. With only losing one top player, the previously young team is now faced with a strong roster of experienced seniors that is the deepest in over a decade. In addition, the arrival of David and Travis Wear from North Carolina should make for an interest bunch of talent.
Despite struggling with a 20-14 record and a third round loss to Kansas in the 2011 season, Illinois and coach Bruce Weber are looking forward to getting back on top. Junior-to-be like Brandon Paul and D.J Richardson will have to step up and claim leadership over the young crew of talent. This should offset the loss of local talent like Sherron Collins and Derrick Rose.
While not being a traditional underdog, Texas should be demoted because of the massive loss of talent they are facing. With freshman forward Tristan Thompson rumored to already have an agent and Jordan Hamilton projected to go the first round of the NBA draft, the longhorns surely have their work cut out for them.
While Probably being the most disappointing first round loss of 2011, the Cardinals will look for their senior trio to take the lead for 2012. This and 5 star guard Wayne Blackshear should make for an interesting March Madness come spring.