NCAA Tournament Upset Picks

Eastern Washington Men's College Basketball

NCAA Tournament Upset Picks

The madness if finally here! And College Sports Madness has you covered on all things NCAA Tournament. While filling out your bracket, you have to pick at least a few upsets. CSM writer William Scott breaks down which lower seeds have the best chance to advance to the Round of 32 to help you with your bracket.




9 Seed over 8 Seed

#9 LSU vs #8 North Carolina State

Thursday, 8:20 ET, TBS

LSU is a really, really scary team. They have a lot of talent. If you don’t pick the Tigers because of all their bad losses, consider their 12-5 record versus the RPI top 100 and the fact that they beat West Virginia and Arkansas on the road, and gave Kentucky their toughest game of the year. They play well against good teams, and NC State is a good team. They have Jarrell Martin and Jordan Mickey, who could both be 1st round NBA draft picks, and can take over games. Sharpshooter Keith Hornsby also leads the Tigers, and has been really hot as of late. The Wolfpack have lost 13 games and you really don’t know what team is going to show up. This game will be really close as an 8/9 game should be, but I give the Tigers the edge.


10 Seed over 7 Seed

#10 Davidson vs #7 Iowa

Friday, 7:20 ET, TNT

Before the Selection Show, many people thought Davison would be playing in a 7/10 game…as the 7 seed. Instead, the Wildcats are the 10 seed, but have a good draw against Iowa. The Hawkeyes did win six in a row to finish the regular season, but then they lost to the 13-seed Penn State in the Big Ten Tournament.  Davidson won the Atlantic-10 regular season title and won 10 straight to close the regular season. They are better than the average 10 seed. They have two big time scorers in Tyler Kalinoski and Jack Gibbs and really have an outstanding backcourt.  I like Davidson to pull of the upset, but I really don’t even consider it an upset. Davidson is the better team.


11 Seed over 6 Seed

#11 BYU vs #6 Xavier

Thursday, 4:10 ET, TBS

Xavier is a 13-loss team from a bad conference and they are a 6 seed?? In my opinion, Xavier is the most over-seeded team in this tournament. BYU plays an Ole Miss team on Tuesday that has lost 4 of their last 5, and I think the Cougars should take care of the Rebels in the First 4 and advance to play the Musketeers. BYU is ranked 2nd in the nation with 83.6 points per game, as Xavier is 204th in points allowed. That is a problem. Cougar guard Tyler Haws is 4th in the nation in points, and joining him in the backcourt is Kyle Collinsworth, who is the Russell Westbrook of college basketball. Collinworth has SIX triple-doubles this season. The only reason BYU is playing in the First 4 is because they are from a mid-major conference. Don’t let their seeding fool you. They have a scary good offense and will cause major problems for any team they play. Look for the Cougars to beat Ole Miss and Xavier, and maybe even make a run in the Tourney.


12 Seed over 5 Seed

#12 Buffalo vs #5 West Virginia

Friday, 2:10 ET, TNT

Oh, should we just start calling 12-seeds the favorites in this one? In the last three years, the 12 has upset the five 66% of the time. Not a typo. There are many matchups this March that the 12 can win, but this is the best chance. Buffalo is a team that played a very hard non-conference schedule facing the likes of Kentucky and Wisconsin, and actually hung with them the majority of the game. The Bulls closed the season winning eight straight to win the MAC Tournament Championship, earning its way into the Big Dance. Buffalo is led by the MAC player of the year Justin Moss, who averages over 17 points and 9 boards per game. Shannon Evans also leads the Bulls with 15.4 PPG. West Virginia is a good basketball team, but Buffalo has the talent to beat them. I like the Bulls.


13 Seed over 4 Seed

#13 Eastern Washington vs #4 Georgetown

Thursday, 9:57 ET, truTV

If you want a bold upset pick to feel confident in, choose Eastern Washington. The nation’s leading scorer Tyler Harvey led the Eagles to a Big Sky Championship and is looking for more as his team takes on the Hoyas. Georgetown is a good team, but not deserving of a 4 seed. And like I mentioned earlier, pick against the Big East! The Hoyas are ranked 131st in points allowed, Eastern Washington is ranked 3rd in the country with 80.8 points per game. Not a good matchup for John Thompson III’s team. The Eagles also have Venky Jois, who makes his presence known down low with 16.6 points and 7.7 boards per game. I’m looking for Tyler Harvey and the Eagle’s offense to pull off the upset, and I actually think Eastern Washington can win this game by double-digits.


14 Seed over 3 Seed

#14 Georgia State vs #3 Baylor

Thursday, 1:40 ET, TBS

I was stunned to see Baylor as a 3 seed. The Bears were up-and-down for most of the season, and really haven’t found their true identity yet. Georgia State is a veteran team led by guards R.J Hunter and Ryan Harrow, who combine for 38.5 points per game. They can flat out shoot the basketball. The Panthers also are led by former Louisville guard Kevin Ware (yes, THAT Kevin Ware), who scored 18 of GSU’s 38 points in the Sun Belt Championship Game. These three also combine to be stealing machines, as they are 6th in the nation with 9.1 steals per game. Baylor averages 12.1 turnovers per game, so the Panthers defense may have a field day against the Bears.  They are good on both sides of the ball and could cause major problems for Scott Drew’s team. Not only do I think that Georgia State has a good chance, but I penciled them in to the next round in my bracket. I expect the Panthers to shoot themselves to victory against Baylor. Lot’s of 3’s and lots of steals as Georgia State pulls off the upset. Let’s just hope their coach Ron Hunter doesn’t get hurt celebrating this time.


15 Seed over 2 Seed

#15 New Mexico State vs #2 Kansas

Friday, 12:15 ET, CBS

If you don’t think a 15 can upset a 2, just remember Lehigh, Norfolk State and Florida Gulf Coast. It can happen. Kansas is dealing with a lot of issues, with Perry Ellis not at 100% and Cliff Alexander’s eligibility in question. The Jayhawks also may be hanging their heads a little as well, giving up a huge lead to Iowa State to blow the Big 12 Championship. New Mexico State is coming into March Madness winning 18 of their last 19, including 13 straight. The Aggies are ROLLING.  Leading them to all their wins is a great defense as they are 19th in the nation allowing only 59.3 PPG. And with some the Jayhawks’ not healthy or out, New Mexico State might be the better defensive team. They are also great down low with forwards Remi Barry and Pascal Siakam, and they might be a matchup problem for the Cliff Alexander-less Jayhawks. I am picking the Jayhawks to advance, but if a 2 seed goes down in the Round of 64, it’s going to be them.


16 Seed over 1 Seed

#16 Lafayette vs #1 Villanova

Thursday, 6:50 ET, TBS

Ok, if you absolutely HAVE to pick the impossible upset of a 16 beating a 1, pick against the most beatable one-seed. That team is Villanova. Sure, a 16 has never beaten a 1, but it will happen eventually. Nova played in a bad conference and may get overconfident being a 1 seed. Lafayette has won seven of their last eight, and has great forwards in Dan Trist and Seth Hinrichs. Those two could be a problem for Villanova to handle. There is no way I am saying that Lafayette will be the first 16 seed to win in the Round of 64, but they have to best chance to do it among the 16 seeds this year.


Let me know what you think on Twitter: @WScottCSM


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