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NCAA tournament: One and done

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Kelly Olynyk (13) and Gonzaga are expected to play like a No. 1 seed. Their mid-major brethren may still bring shock to tourney fans and disappointment to an unsuspecting team. (Source: SD Dirk/Flickr) Kelly Olynyk (13) and Gonzaga are expected to play like a No. 1 seed. Their mid-major brethren may still bring shock to tourney fans and disappointment to an unsuspecting team. (Source: SD Dirk/Flickr)
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This is the second of a 2-part series looking at some of the best players in the 2013 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. Part 2 discusses mid-major stars to watch. In Part 1, standouts from the Big 6 conferences were profiled.

(RNN) – It's what makes March so maddening at the NCAA tournament.

A single-elimination competition allows a team to strike down an adversary it would have little chance against if it were a "best of five" or "best of seven" series. It's how mid-majors no one outside campus has on radar become overnight sensations, sent to a second weekend by last-second heaves that find the bottom of the net.

Not that all mid-majors are long shots.

This season, teams without Big 6 conference emblems on their jerseys move into several of the small-number seeds, like Gonzaga (1), New Mexico (3), St. Louis (4) and VCU (5). Those former outsiders are favorites to move into the next round or beyond.

There still remain those in the field of 68 that could bring unexpected excitement or heartbreak, depending on what school you claim. When filling out that bracket, don't cast aside Bluejays, those other Bruins or even a Gael too quickly.

Only a year ago, No. 2 seeds Duke and Missouri had high hopes of a long run into April. Both found themselves on the wrong side of history, upset by teams with a 15 next to their names.

An unheralded squad only may beat a powerhouse one out of 10 times. But this time of year, that one may be all it needs.

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