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2022 March Madness: 6 Most Underrated Teams in the Round of 64

College basketball expert Mike Spector offers his top six most underrated teams entering the Round of 64 in March Madness.
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2022 March Madness: 6 Most Underrated Teams in the Round of 64

Did a team you like unexpectedly get bounced in its conference tournament and are now reluctant to pick them to go far in March Madness? Or did a team's uninspiring play down the stretch have you feeling more uncertain about its chances to make a deep run?

Many teams likely fall under one of these categories, making them perfect "buy low" candidates entering the NCAA Tournament. There are several other reasons one might not think as highly of a team as they should entering March, and we are here to dismiss those thoughts and present a compelling case for the positive outlook of specific teams.

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Top Six Most Underrated Teams Entering the Round of 64

UCLA (-1250 ML Odds in First Round, +450 to Make the Final Four)

The UCLA Bruins made a surprising run from the First Four to the Final Four last year and came within seconds of knocking off a historic Gonzaga team that was undefeated at the time. Despite earning a No. 4 seed this year, not many seem to be buying UCLA's chances of another run. Why not? They have all starters back from last year's team and even added depth with Rutgers transfer Myles Johnson in the frontcourt. Many look at a potential Round of 32 matchup with Saint Mary's as a stumbling block, but this team is every bit as talented as last year's Final Four team. 

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Boise State (+125 ML Odds in First Round, +4500 to Make the Final Four)

Many thought the Boise State Broncos were underseeded as a No. 8 seed, and now not many are giving the Broncos a chance to beat the Memphis Tigers. This year, the Mountain West was a much stronger conference from top to bottom and earned an unprecedented four NCAA Tournament bids. While the conference did not have teams as athletic as Memphis, Boise State can give the Tigers fits with their physicality and discipline. And believe it or not, they are precisely the kind of team that can give Gonzaga trouble in the Round of 32. Even if Boise State does not upset Gonzaga if they eventually meet, I will be backing the Broncos' point spread in that matchup.

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USC (-130 ML Odds in First Round, +3000 to Make the Final Four)

Perhaps this is once again West Coast bias, but Andy Enfield has made deep NCAA Tournament runs with much less talent than he has on this USC roster. In addition, the bottom half of their region sets up nicely for a possible Elite 8 run, as Auburn has struggled in odd spots away from home. USC has lost three of four games (two to UCLA, one to Arizona) entering the tournament, but its losses to the Bruins and Wildcats are excusable and should not make one doubt the Trojans' capabilities of winning games in the NCAA Tournament.

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LSU (-190 ML Odds in First Round, +1500 to Make the Final Four)

The LSU Tigers have been an afterthought entering the NCAA Tournament, given the recent firing of head coach Will Wade. However, I am not sure that is wise given the talent on this roster and that interim head coach, Kevin Nickelberry, is no slouch. Nickelberry has known Wade since 2003, and previously served as Howard's head coach for nine years, so he knows how to manage a team. And for how their first-round game will play out on the court, LSU is a top-five defensive team according to KenPom's adjusted defensive efficiency and turn opponents over at the second-highest clip (25.3%) in the country. That is a significant issue for Iowa State, which ranks 300th in turnover percentage (20.4%). The Midwest Region is the most likely region to be chock-full-of upsets, and LSU has the talent to win at least two games, given its draw.

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Loyola Chicago (-110 ML Odds in First Round, +3000 to Make the Final Four)

This is not Porter Moses' Final Four Loyola Chicago team, but Lucas Williamson is still in uniform, and Drew Valentine's bunch is as tough and gritty as Moses' former team. The Ramblers' first-round matchup against Ohio State is viewed as a pick 'em, but Loyola Chicago has received as little as 16% of the betting action so far at most sportsbooks. The general public seems to be overvaluing the Big Ten because of its nine schools that made the Big Dance. This is an excellent matchup for the Ramblers, as is a potential Round of 32 matchup against Villanova. Neither Ohio State nor Villanova pushes much in transition, and each prefers to play more of a half-court style.

San Francisco (-105 ML Odds in First Round, +3500 to Make the Final Four)

Our third West Coast team to make the list, the San Francisco Dons have one of the more underrated backcourts in the country in Jamaree Bouyea and Khalil Shabazz. Murray State is everyone's darling, and rightfully so, given that they won 30 games this year. But San Francisco should be given much more of a chance in this game and would be a much more talked about team if it played its games in the eastern time zone.

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Mike Spector brings unmatched knowledge and insight into the game of football, and more importantly the process of betting on NFL football. Mike is the #2 ranked expert in FantasyPros' NFL betting contest


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