Men's Basketball 2016 NCAA Tournament Upset Picks


There are always upsets in March Madness, but you should expect even more this year. There have been a crazy amount of shockers in college basketball this season, and that should not change as we get into the NCAA Tournament. After studying the bracket, I have decided to pick these teams to pull off big upsets this week.


#9 over #8

UConn over Colorado

Providence over USC

Butler over Texas Tech


#10 over #7

Temple over Iowa

Syracuse over Dayton



#11 Wichita State (vs #6 Arizona)

The Shockers absolutely dominated Vanderbilt, especially down the stretch, in their First Four victory. This Wichita State team has veteran leadership, which is crucial come tournament time. This is Ron Baker and Fred VanVleet’s fourth NCAA Tournament, and they have even made it to a Final Four.

As for Arizona, I still don’t know if I’m sold on this team. They do provide some veteran leadership, but have been inconsistent at some points this year.  They have lost twice in a row three different times this year, and yes, if they lost to Wichita, it would be their second consecutive loss.

I’m feeling really good about Baker and VanVleet leading their team to victory. Go with the Shockers.


#11 Northern Iowa (vs #6 Texas)

Northern Iowa got to this point by a Wes Washpun buzzer beater in the Missouri Valley final to knock off Evansville. This is the Panthers first appearance in the tourney since 2010, and they will be looking for their first win since they stunned the #1 seeded Kansas Jayhawks in 2009.

This season, UNI beat then #1 North Carolina, and then won on the road a few weeks later at Iowa State. Yes, they beat Iowa State IN Ames, something neither Oklahoma nor Kansas could do. No other double-digit seed has wins as impressive as UNI does. In fact, it’s not even close.

Texas has twelve losses. That’s a lot for a 6 seed. Yes, they played a brutal schedule in the Big 12, but you just never knew what Texas team was going to show up. The committee purposely put Texas A&M as a 3 and Texas as a 6 so the old rivals could square off, but Northern Iowa’s response to that is “not so fast.”


#12 Yale (vs #5 Baylor)

Yale has been waiting since 1962 to dance, and you gotta know they are going to make the most of the opportunity. Led by senior forward Justin Sears, the Bulldogs pride themselves on physicality. They rank 2nd in the nation in rebound margin at 11.1, and are 15th in the nation in scoring defense. Baylor is known for being a physical team, and Yale will be able to match-up with them. Taurean Prince vs. Justin Sears is going to be a fun battle to watch.

Baylor was over-seeded as a three seed last year, and ended up losing in the first round to Georgia State. Once again, the Bears are over-seeded, and going up against a very solid Yale squad. I see an upset.


#12 Arkansas-Little Rock (vs #5 Purdue)

I thought Purdue had the potential to go very far in this tournament, until I saw they had to play Little Rock first. The Trojans have only lost four games this year, and are on a roll coming in to this one. They have two very solid wins against San Diego State and Tulsa, and hung with Texas Tech for a while when they played the Red Raiders. I thought that if UALR were to have lost in the Sun Belt Championship game, that they would have been deserving of an at-large.

Along with my other upset pick, Yale, the Trojans know how to play some defense. They are ranked 3rd in the nation in scoring defense, only allowing 59.8 points per game. What worries me a little is that their offensive attack is not great, to say the least, as they are ranked 230th in scoring offense. Keep that in mind if you are considering picking Little Rock. If guards Josh Hagins and Marcus Johnson can make some shots, UALR should be fine.

Normally when I pick upsets, the team that I am picking against has been either inconsistent or is over-seeded. Ironically, Purdue has been consistent, and in my opinion, are under-seeded! But the bottom line is that Little Rock may be the best mid-major team in this tournament, and I have no doubt Chris Beard will have his squad ready. This will be a close one, but I like the Trojans.


#13 UNC-Wilmington (vs #4 Duke)

You probably are looking at this pick and thinking “Oh my goodness! He’s crazy!”, and you might be right! But like I said, I don’t like picking inconsistent teams. And Duke has probably been the one of the most inconsistent teams in the country. It has been an up-and-down year for the Blue Devils, with spans where they have had five straight wins, and three straight losses. Most of their games (win or lose) have been extremely close, even against mediocre teams.

I also look at history when picking upsets. Four years ago (who could forgot?), Duke was stunned by Lehigh in the first round. Three years ago, they made it far into March, advancing to the Elite 8. Two years ago, the Blue Devils were shocked again in the tournament, losing to Mercer in the first round. Last year, they obviously made it really far, winning the whole thing. Now what happens this year? If you just saw the pattern, Duke may be stunned again.

This is the biggest game in UNCW history. They are in the NCAA Tournament, playing the “big boys” in their state. They have dreamed of beating Duke. In order for that to happen, they gotta knock down some shots. They have four guards in their starting five, so they can do that. Denzel Ingram is their star three-point shooter, and Chris Flemmings, a DII transfer, has stolen the show as their leading scorer at 16.1 PPG. They also have a seven-footer in C.J. Gettys who will go up against Marshall Plumlee.

Call me crazy, but I’m picking the Seahawks to pull off what will be the biggest upset this March.