My favorite time of the year, the Thursday and Friday that make the other 363 days in the year worth living, and lucky me for the first time in my 19 year life I will be able to enjoy the best days in sports (in my opinion) no interruption, for about 12 hours straight each day. That’s right its the “Second Round” of the NCAA Tournament. To me with a few days left before the glory days begin, I’ll offer out some advice and tell everyone an upset that I will be picking in each region. Oh yeah, and in my opinion if a 9-seed beats an 8-seed it is never considered upset.
But first let me give you a little resume of why I can be deemed the “King of Picking Upsets”.
2013 Correct Upsets: 11 Minnesota, 12 Oregon, 12 Ole Miss…. Close Call: 14 Davidson (loss by 1) and Blown Call: 11 Belmont 13 New Mexico St
2012 Correct: 11 NC State, 12 South Florida ….Close Call: 14 St. Bonaventure (loss by 3) …Blown: 12 Long Beach St (loss by 7)
2011 Correct: 13 Morehead State, 11 Marquette….Blown 14 Wofford (loss by 8)
From above the Close calls are the ones that have aged me significantly but anyway here we go:
South: 12 SF Austin over 5 VCU. SF Austin dominated their conference championship game as well as most of their season, as they have won 28 straight. VCU on the other hand does not have great scoring but they pride themselves on defense. Although, defense wins championships a lack of scoring can’t always be made up for.
East: 15 Milwaukee over 2 Villanova. Let this one sink in before you call me crazy. Milwaukee has a higher BPI (In my opinion the most accurate rating of NCAA teams) than Seton Hall. Villanova truly has not proven themselves. They haven’t had a win against a ranked opponent since November…. Where they beat Iowa in OT and barely squeaked it out against Kansas by 4 in Kansas’s 6th game of the season. Since then they have lost to Syracuse, and got murdered by Creighton (2x). HISTORY LESSON, the last time Nova lost their opening round Big East Game and then received a #2 seed was 2010…Nova barely won 73-70 in OT against 15 Robert Morris. All in all, this game will probably upset me the most as it will be real close, and Milwaukee will fail to close the deal. But if I was given a spread I would take this game in a second.
West: 12 North Dakota State over 5 Oklahoma. Oklahoma is a high scoring team, with not that strong of a defense. This will be exploited by ND State who leads the nation in FG% as well as holding their opponents to about 65 ppg. They also come in red hot being winners of 9 straight compared to an Oklahoma squad that is 6-4 in the last 10 games. The X-Factor could be Taylor Braun on ND State who shoots 44% from behind the arc.
North: You can be safe picking both of the Last 4 in teams in the 12 vs 5 St. Louis or 11 vs UMass. I am much more confident in the latter with Iowa or Tennessee over UMass, simply because UMass is not doing it for me. UMass being from the A-10 I believe gets way too much credit. They have mediocre stats and I like one of the big conferences in this game. Iowa is ranked 21 in the BPI and Tennessee almost knocked off the top seeded Gators in their last action. Same goes for the 12 vs 5 St. Louis game. However, much more hesitant in this game because I feel like St. Louis is being undervalued, yet it won’t surprise me especially if it is NC State, to get a W led behind ACC player of the year T.J. Warren and played the Dukies close.
BONUS: Alright this may be biased because of my hatred of Duke, but Duke typically never preforms well in the tournament. Playing Mercer, from the same conference FGCU came from, and Mercer is among the top 15 3pt % shooting teams in the nation. Making 3’s is key for an upset. Although, I did say that Duke typically loses early in the big dance but they also usually don’t have such talent in a freshman like Jabari Parker.
Other than that Good Luck to all, and remember if you pick some upsets do not be surprised if you end up UPSET.