- March Madness is here, and that means it’s time to fill out brackets.
- Upsets in the tournament are common but are nearly impossible to pick.
- We surveyed the brackets and upset predictions of several college basketball experts to get an idea of who could be a Cinderella team this year.
March Madness is here!
With the NCAA Tournament bracket now official, it’s time to start filling out brackets, picking winners, and most importantly, taking a stab at upsets.
Picking upsets is not an exact science. Sometimes wins can be flukey and sometimes they happen to teams nobody expected. Usually, however, the best method is to find top-ranked teams who seem vulnerable and are playing strong, lower-ranked teams who enter the tournament on a high note.
We surveyed the upset picks and brackets of several college basketball experts and picked seven upset picks that kept coming up. The experts included: Seth Walder and John Gassaway of ESPN; Sports Illustrated’s college basketball staff; Henry Bushnell, Jeff Eisenberg, and Jason Owens of Yahoo; Alex Kirsher of SB Nation; Bill Bender of Sporting News; Jeff Greer of The Athletic; and Seth Davis of The Athletic.
Check out who the experts are picking to pull off upsets in March Madness below:
No. 12 Murray State over No. 5 Marquette
Expert prediction: From The Athletic’s Jeff Greer: “Not only do they have [Ja] Morant, an electric talent projected to be a top-three NBA Draft pick, they also possess an efficient offence that hits the glass and doesn’t turn the ball over too much.”
No. 13 UC Irvine over No. 4 Kansas State
Expert prediction:From Yahoo: “UC Irvine (30-5) is an experienced, defensive-oriented team that potentially matches up well against Kansas State. The Anteaters are among the best in the nation at giving up nothing easy at the rim and the Wildcats are a poor perimeter shooting team that could be especially limited from behind the arc if sharpshooting forward Dean Wade isn’t healthy enough to play.”
No. 12 New Mexico State vs. No. 5 Auburn
Expert prediction: From ESPN: “Auburn won the SEC tournament, but our Giant Killers model isn’t completely sold on the Tigers. The Aggies, who are on a 19-game run, will hold a significant advantage on the boards and will be a tough out in the first round.”
No. 11 Belmont over No. 6 Maryland
Expert prediction: From SB Nation’s Alex Kirsher: “This pick requires Belmont to beat Temple in the First Four. But the Bruins (-3 in that game) should do that, and then they’d face a talented but untrustworthy Maryland team that’s laid eggs in recent weeks against bad teams like Penn State and Nebraska.”
No. 14 Yale over No. 3 LSU
Expert prediction: From Yahoo: “Yale, unlike most mid-majors, has the size to neutralise LSU’s ferocious glass-crashing frontcourt. More importantly, it can flat-out score. … In a fashion similar to last year’s Loyola, they carve out quality looks inside the arc with a well-oiled offence and upperclassmen who have been running it for years. They have a possible NBA draft pick in Miye Oni, and a coach who engineered an upset of Baylor in his last NCAA tournament appearance.”
No. 11 St Mary’s over No. 6 Villanova
Expert prediction: From ESPN: “You might have heard Villanova likes to attempt an occasional 3-point shot, but what you might not know is that the Gaels are exceptionally good at preventing those tries. That, plus beastly offensive rebounding from Jordan Hunter & Co. means SMC should be able to give the defending national champions a game.”
No. 13 Northeastern over No. 4 Kansas
Expert prediction:From SB Nation’s Alex Kirsher: “The Huskies have had good shooting teams for years under head coach Bill Coen, and this is their sharpest-shooting squad yet … This year’s team is constructed similarly but better on offence, and it’s facing the most watered-down version of KU in many years. It seems clear this is not the Jayhawks’ year, so why not pick the nation’s No. 5 team in eFG% to knock them out?”
Now, check out more March Madness coverage…
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