Everybody loves the upset.
Except, of course, if it’s your team getting upset.
This time of year, it is one of the biggest topics of conversation. Nobody wants to fill out their NCAA Tournament bracket without including a handful of first round upsets that you can brag about if lucky enough to get one of them right.
In an effort to help you with your luck, here are six upsets to consider when filling out your bracket.
(12) Buffalo (23-9) vs. (5) West Virginia (23-9) Friday, 2:10PM, Columbus, OH, TNT
Everybody loves the 5 vs. 12 seed games, and nowadays, it doesn’t seem like it’s an upset when the 12 seed wins. This game should be a good one, regardless of seeding. The Bulls actually come into this game as the 28th ranked RPI team. They have won 8 straight games and Bobby Hurley’s squad played Kentucky and Wisconsin tight at their places early in the season. West Virginia has been solid all year, coming out of the best conference in the country. But they lost 6 of their last 11 games and Buffalo has been good with the ball, so they should be able to handle the Mountaineer pressure.
(13) Valparaiso (28-5) vs. (4) Maryland (27-6) Friday, 4:40PM, Columbus, OH, TNT
The 13/4 seed match-ups ain’t bad, either. This game is pretty even, statistically. Both teams are solid offensively and defensively, while neither causes many turnovers. If Valpo can contain Dez Wells and Melo Trimble and keep them off of the free throw line, Bryce Drew and Crusaders have a great shot at the upset.
(14) Georgia State (24-9) vs. (3) Baylor (24-9) Thursday, 1:40PM, Jacksonville, FL, TBS
Georgia State is a good team on both ends of the floor. Baylor has easily been one of the top 20 teams in the country, but they are prone to poor shooting days. The Panthers have good experience, including Ryan Harrow and Kevin Ware, transfers from Kentucky and Louisville, respectively. However, Georgia State will have to keep Baylor off the offensive boards to have a chance.
(15) Texas Southern (22-12) vs. (2) Arizona (31-3) Thursday, 2:10PM, Portland, OR, TNT
Disclaimer: I don’t really think this will happen, but… Texas Southern, out of the Southwestern Athletic Conference, has wins at Michigan State and Kansas State this season. In addition, the Tigers have played the #1 non-conference schedule. Arizona has looked dominant of late, but their three losses this season came to teams not in the tournament field. So, they have shown they can lose to lesser teams. Texas Southern is also experienced, with three seniors in their starting lineup.
(12) S.F. Austin (29-4) vs. (5) Utah (24-8) Thursday, 7:27PM, Portland, OR, TRU
S.F. Austin is a tough first round match-up for anyone, much less a Utah team that has struggled lately, losing 4 of its last 7. The Lumberjacks are a very good offensive team and a great passing team. Once again, they come into this tournament hot, having won 28 of their last 29 games. S.F. Austin has also been there and done that. They won a second round game last year, in contrast to the Utes, who have limited NCAA Tournament experience.
(13) Eastern Washington (26-8) vs. (4) Georgetown (21-10) Thursday, 9:57PM, Portland, OR, TRU
While Georgetown’s recent tournament woes have been overblown by much of the media, the Hoyas surely have incentive to do well this year. It might not be easy. Eastern Washington is very solid, particularly on the offensive end. The Eagles won at Indiana and played SMU tough in Dallas earlier this season. Georgetown has shown a couple flashes of greatness, but has been way too inconsistent to truly count on.