Loyola-Chicago, VCU, George Mason. Those are three schools etched in NCAA Tournament lore for the runs they made as a lower seed. Everyone is quick to try to find the team that pulls off one upset, but what about that Cinderella that you will be cursing for ruining your bracket? The criteria for said team is one that was tested in the regular season, has an undeniable star, and a path in its bracket that is conducive for a run. With that, let's take a look at that candidate in each of the four regions of this year's bracket.
No. 14 Yale Bulldogs
Region/Opponent: East vs. No. 3 LSU (Thursday)
Regular Season vs. Power 5 Schools: W vs. California (76-59), W vs. Miami (77-73), L at Duke (91-58)
Go-to Player: G Miye Oni (17.6 ppg, 6.4 rpg)
Why the Bulldogs?: Teams out of the Ivy League are never afraid of the Big Dance spotlight. The Bulldogs have four seniors and are able to spread the ball around on offense. Miye Oni is one of five players who average at least nine points per game. LSU has a ton of off-court distractions to deal with related to head coach Will Wade's involvement in an FBI investigation and the impact it has already had on the playing status of star freshman guard Javonte Smart. There's no denying that the Tigers have plenty of talent, but if Wade is not back leading them, that could make a big difference. If Yale moves on, the next round would present a matchup with either Maryland, Temple or Belmont. The Terrapins are the highest seed of this trio and are a team that really doesn't scare anyone. They lost three of their last four entering the postseason and are really young in certain areas. Yale's run probably ends in the Sweet 16 against No. 2 Michigan State, who is expected to advance.
No. 12 Murray State Racers
Region/Opponent: West vs. 5 Marquette
Regular Season vs. Power 5 Schools: L at Alabama 78-72, L at Auburn 93-88
Go-to Player: Ja Morant (24.6 ppg, 10.0 apg)
Why the Racers?: Ja Morant is the type of player who can take over a game. That hot Auburn team you watched win the SEC Tournament was pushed to the limit by these Racers earlier this season. Morant isn't the only stud though with Shaq Buchanan and Tevin Brown joining the fray. Marquette is really good offensively, but something to watch is Markus Howard's wrist injury. He should be fine, but if not, this is a team that could be ripe for an upset. If Murray State gets past the team out of the Big East, the Racers will most likely get No. 4 Florida State. The Seminoles are a very big and athletic group but could be slightly over-seeded. I think Murray State can give FSU a game and potentially make it to the Sweet 16 where No. 1 Gonzaga will likely be waiting.
No. 13 UC Irvine Anteaters
Region/Opponent: South vs. No. 4 Kansas State
Regular Season vs. Power 5 Schools: W at Texas A&M 74-73
Go-to Player: Max Hazzard 12.5 ppg
Why the Anteaters?: This is a team that loves to play defense and has eight guys who average six points per game or more. They've got size and scoring although at times their offense can get a little stagnant. Kansas State is a squad that prides itself on defense, but the Wildcats' offense hasn't been as strong without Dean Wade, whose status for the NCAA Tournament is unknown. In a game where neither team figures to score with any ease, the underdog hanging around puts more pressure on the higher seed and could result in K-State tightening up. If UC Irvine wins this one, Oregon or Wisconsin would be next up, another pair of teams that have issues on offense. Given the similarities between the projected opponents, the Anteaters' could pull off a couple of low-scoring upsets.
No. 13 Northeastern Huskies
Region/Opponent: Midwest vs. No. 4 Kansas
Regular Season vs. Power 5 Schools: W vs. Alabama 68-52, L vs. Virginia Tech 88-60, L at Syracuse 72-49
Go-to Player: Vasa Pusica 17.8 ppg
Why the Huskies?: This isn't your father's Kansas. The Jayhawks are still uber-talented, but they've also proven to have their own weaknesses. This KU team is not deep and Northeastern certainly won't be intimidated. Vasa Pusica is a game-changer especially now that he's healthy and Bill Coen is an underrated head coach. Jordan Roland and Bolden Brace are solid options offensively with three other guys putting up between 8-10 points per contest. This is a squad that can rebound a little bit and doesn't turn it over a ton. Should the Huskies move on, they could get Auburn or New Mexico State and I'm not in love with the SEC champion Tigers. Auburn's offense is very hot and cold and this team doesn't have a lot of patience. The Tigers should have lost to Charleston, who like Northeastern comes from the CAA, in the first round of last year's tournament.
— Written by Matt Josephs, who is a part of the Athlon Sports Contributor Network. Follow him on Twitter @MidMajorMatt.