When the NCAA tournament brackets are announced, you know every year there will be chaos. The only problem is that it’s hard to figure out which underdog is going to bust your bracket.
Looking at the whole tournament can be a bit overwhelming, but each bracket region contains four sets of mini final fours. For this purpose, the underdog seeds have to be No. 11 or higher. Most of the 7/10 and 8/9 match ups should be pick’em games anyway.
One of the best ways to find an upset special is to look at the record of the underdog. For example, when you see a Mid-major team with a better record than a high major team, there’s a good chance a some major heart break
First we are going to take a look the 5 vs. 12 seed games. Each game has an intriguing back story. It wouldn’t be shocking if the games come down to the final possession.
VCU (26-8) vs. Stephen F. Austin (31-2)
Normally, VCU is the team that would be ready to make a run as an underdog. However, the Rams are slowly becoming one of the favorite programs in America. Now they are looked at as one of the hunted teams. The Lumberjacks have the ability to deal with the Rams pressure defense, and they share the ball quite well.
Both teams average in over 75 points per game, so there should be plenty of possessions. Don’t expect VCU to overwhelm Stephen F. Austin with their tenacity, but if the Rams can make the three point shot with regularity, they’ll move on to the next round.
North Dakota State (25-6) vs. Oklahoma (23-9)
The Bison started the sports year by upsetting Kansas State in football. That led them to another FCS title. This potential high scoring affair can be a memorable event. Oklahoma averages 82 points per game, while North Dakota State scores 76 points per contest.
North Dakota State has a player that can carry them in the round of 64. Taylor Braun has a lot of ability and confidence, but he’ll have to keep pace with the hot shooting Sooners. The start of the game will be key for both teams. Remember that Oklahoma is part of the best conference in the nation.
Harvard (26-4) vs. Cincinnati (27-6)
Harvard shocked New Mexico last season in the round of 64. Many have the Crimson as a sleeper to reach the Sweet 16. They’ll have a battle on their hands with AAC co-champion Cincinnati. This game will come down to a couple of aspects. Can Cincinnati score enough points to win? Any prolonged drought will be in Harvard’s favor, but they still have to score consistently as well.
Sean Kilpatrick can take the game over for long stretches, so it will be interesting to see how he reacts to his final tournament appearance. Harvard has a solid team in all areas, and they can get points from three point range and down in the paint.
North Carolina State (22-13) vs. Saint Louis (26-6)
On paper, this game looks as even as any game during the first weekend. Both teams average right around 70 points per game. They both average four blocks per game. Saint Louis averages two rebounds and one assist more per game than the Wolfpack.
North Carolina State has the ACC player of the year in T.J. Warren and he put up 25 points in the first four. For NC State to pull off the upset, they must not let those prolonged runs by Saint Louis take hold.
The Billikens are trying to reach the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1957. They’ve been struggling down the final stretch of the season, but Saint Louis should have new life as the tournament starts.
Let us know which match up most likely will produce the upset.
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