NCAA Tournament: 10 Potential First Round Upsets

March 12th, 2012

Top 10 Most Likely Upsets

March is no time to play it safe. When you fill in your brackets over the next few days, here are the 10 most likely First Round upsets to focus on:


10 #14 South Dakota St over #3 Baylor

Led by Nate Wolters, South Dakota St had a rock-solid season with only one bad loss. In games against power conference teams, they've been very competitive (including a shock 19 point win at Washington.) This is not the best match-up for the Jackrabbits though as Baylor's size will be hard for them to handle.


9 #12 VCU over #5 Wichita St

VCU arguably deserved a 10 or 11 seed, instead of getting unlucky going against a Wichita St team that arguably was a 4 seed. Although their not as good as last year's Final Four team, the Rams play solid D which keeps them in most games.


9 #15 Detroit over #2 Kansas

While no 16 seed has ever won a first round game, 15 seeds pull off an upset about once a decade. Will this be that time? Detroit is hot, having come out of the solid Horizon League, and they have a big-time player in Ray McCallum. And don't forget, Kansas lost a home game to Davidson earlier in the year, so they're vulnerable. Don't bet the house on this one, but if you're feeling uber-risky, maybe this is your play.


7 #13 New Mexico St over #4 Indiana

The Aggies have hit their stride over the last month, and face Indiana feeling quite confident. As good as Indiana was this year, they still were shaky on the road, losing to the likes of Iowa and Nebraska.


6 #11 Colorado St over #6 Murray St

According to the RPI, Colorado St is barely any worse than Murray St, with the 26th best ranking vs 22nd for Murray. In a sense, this is like a 6 seed vs 7 seed game by the RPI. The spread is only 2.5 points right now which shows you how close Vegas thinks this game is.


5 #12 Long Beach St over #5 New Mexico

According to most ratings (including the RPI and KenPom), Long Beach St is a top 40 team. They played an extremely hard non-conference schedule, but always seemed to come just short of the big upset. Is this the time they finally break through?


4 #12 Harvard over #5 Vanderbilt

While Vandy is appropriately seeded as a 5, Harvard arguably deserves to be a 9 or 10 seed. The Crimson beat the likes of Florida St and St. Joseph's earlier, and although they didn't dominate the Ivy League like many expected, the Ivy League was also better than most realize. So long as Harvard can keep the game at a slow pace, this should be a game until the final minutes.


3 #14 Saint Bonaventure over #3 Florida St

Florida St is a hard team to figure out. They've had great results against Duke and North Carolina, but yet lost to Boston College, Princeton, and Clemson. With Andrew Nicholson, the Bonnies have a player more talented than anyone on FSU.


2 #13 Ohio over #4 Michigan

Led by do-everything PG DJ Cooper, Ohio is a feared 13 seed. The Bobcats beat 7 top 100 teams, and MAC squads tend to fare well in the Tournament. Michigan was great at home this year, but no so great on the road. If the Wolverines aren't hitting threes, Ohio could pull off the upset.


1 #13 Davidson over #4 Louisville

Although Louisville won the Big East tournament, they seem very vulnerable here. Davidson not only beat Kansas on the road earlier in the year, but they only lost to 5 seed Vanderbilt by 4 points as well. Louisville wins by playing tight D, but because they struggle to score, they fail to crush weaker opponents and keep them in the game. This one could be interesting.


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