It is the same story every year for millions of people. They excitedly fill out their brackets hoping to go perfect, despite the 9.2 quintillions to 1 odds. Then March takes over, and your bracket is busted by the second day thanks to an upset from a hungry mid-major looking to be the next George Mason, Butler, Davidson, etc. With that being said, I am here to give you my most likely upsets for the 1st round of March Madness and my reasonings for each one.
#10 Davidson over #7 Michigan State
This really shouldn’t be considered that much of an upset. Michigan State is in a noticeable down year. Davidson, even coming off an upsetting performance against Richmond has a noticeably better offense. Their sets are fluid, they shoot at a higher percentage from all areas, they do not turn the ball over much, and I do believe they are the more talented team. Where they do lack however is the rebounding department. MSU has a clear advantage here and will need to create second-chance points if they want to advance to the round of 32. I’m taking the Wildcats here.
#13 Vermont over #4 Arkansas
Give me the America East champions over the Razorbacks here. Vermont entered Sunday as one of my favorite upset picks regardless of who they were matched up with, and drawing Arkansas has not deterred me in any way. The Catamounts have a “March Superstar” in the making in former walk-on Ben Shungu; Shungu averages 16 points a game, and is the best shooter for either side in this game, hitting 42% of his threes. He also gets it done on defense, as he is a 2x America East All-Defensive selection. It doesn’t end there, they have 2 other key contributors in Ryan Davis who is a 2x America East Player of The Year, and Finn Sullivan, who both shoot over 40% from three as well. This is one of the best passing teams in the country and they are EXTREMELY efficient. I am hammering the high-octane offense of Vermont with full confidence here.
#11 Michigan over #6 Colorado State
Michigan getting in over a team like Texas A&M was a controversial decision to say the least. While I do not expect much from this group, I do have them winning their 1st round matchup with Colorado State. The main reason is Hunter Dickinson. Like him or not, he is a talented big man and Colorado State will have no answer for him. It is a shame the Rams drew this matchup. David Roddy and Isaiah Stevens are a fun duo that could have done damage in another division, but that will not be happening this year. I am in agreement with the public in saying Michigan was lucky to go dancing. They double dipped on this luck, however, and were blessed with the most favorable matchup possible. Michigan dominates inside, at the free-throw line, and in the rebounding department. I’m taking the Wolverines.
#13 South Dakota State over #4 Providence
At this point, how much of an upset is this? It has to be one of the more popular picks and it is pretty easy to see why. Providence is fading quickly, and they are not playing great basketball. The Jackrabbits are the best shooting team in the entire country, their overall offense is uber-efficient, their assist-to-turnover ratio is top of the line, and their bench scoring is amongst the best in the NCAA. Long story short, South Dakota State looks extremely favorable both on paper and with the eye test. The trio of Baylor Scheirman, Noah Freidel, and Douglas Wilson will shoot the lights out. It will be up to the Friars to keep up with this offense, and I do not see that happening. I am taking the Jackrabbits here
Make sure to check back in with the Sports Wave for my upcoming breakdown of every game in the 1st round and my picks for each one. Also, check out my previous article on the contenders and pretenders of college basketball! https://thesportswave.net/contender-or-pretender-finding-college-basketballs-next-champion/