While winning an office pool is nice but the real test of a March Madness “expert” is calling for a massive upset and getting it right. Picking upsets all over the place is not going to work and is cheating. But if you have the stones to pick an occasional 15 over a 2, then this post is for you.
5. 12 seed North Dakota State over 5 seed Oklahoma
Some people are even picking North Dakota State to go to the sweet 16. I can see why as the Bison are a spark in a munitions factory in terms of offense. NDSU is No. 1 in the nation in field-goal percentage shooting 50.9 percent. Oklahoma is nothing special on defense so it should be a coin-flip game. Take the little guy in those situations.
4. Dayton goes to the sweet 16
Ohio State and Syracuse are not perfect, opening the door for a Cinderella there. How about Dayton as it should be fired up to play Ohio State. The Buckeyes have been afraid to put the in-state foe on their schedule, but they can’t be avoided now. Dayton is a top-50 team in both rebounding and 3-point shooting. As long as the Flyers don’t turn the ball over, both Ohio State and Syracuse are in trouble.
3. The winner of Iowa and Tennessee goes to the sweet 16
Since these “opening round” games have come about at least one of those teams makes it to the sweet 16. VCU and LaSalle are the ones that really come to mind. Iowa is a top-50 team in rebounds, turnovers and offense. Tennessee is a top-50 team in defense. UMass will have a fight on its hands for sure. And some crazy thing might happen to Duke.
2. No. 14 seed Mercer over 3 seed Duke
Mercer matches up well with Duke as both like to shoot the 3. Mercer defeated last year’s Cinderella in Florida Gulf Coast to get here and almost won at Texas. The Bears should hang around in this one and get Duke unhinged. They lost to 15 seeded Lehigh not too long ago so another Duke collapse is not a stunner anymore. Mercer is also a top-50 rebounding team so Duke must dominate the turnover battle. If the Bears protect the ball they could pull it off.
1. No. 15 seed Eastern Kentucky over 2 seed Kansas
And boom goes the dynamite. Eastern Kentucky is No. 2 in the nation in turnover margin. Just behind Louisville. Kansas is dead last in the Big-12 in turnovers. That’s a problem. Plus, if center Joel Embiid is out like we think he is for this game than Kansas will take a hit to its biggest advantages on the floor. That being blocks, rebounds and interior defense.
Will Kansas guard Andrew Wiggins be able to handle the pressure that comes in the NCAA tournament if a 15 seed is ahead with 2 minutes to go? Eastern Kentucky is also a top-50 3-point shooting team so it should not be gun-shy. If the Colonels connect from deep I truly think they’ll win. Better get ready Jayhawks. You’re on upset alert.
Stephen F Austin over VCU, Harvard over Cincinnati, Baylor to sweet 16, New Mexico to elite eight.