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NCAA Tournament Upset Alert Evaluations

Syracuse guard Tyler Ennis dribbles around Maryland guard Seth Allen (4) on Monday night.

To some, bracketology is all about finding the upsets.  Who’s the Cinderella?  How far can they run before the glass slipper shatters and lodges shards of it deep in their foot?  Let’s evaluate the popular options.

South Region:

  • (12) Stephen F. Austin over (5) VCU – Their long win-streak and tenacious defense have plenty of pundits thinking that the famous 12-5 upset will come via the Lumberjacks.  I don’t see it, though.  VCU is a gritty, tournament tested squad whose full-court press is something you simply can’t prepare for.  Stephen F. Austin has never seen it, they won’t deal with it.  They’ll lose.
  • (11) Dayton over (6) Ohio State – Finally, the Flyers get to play Ohio State.  But it won’t end the way they hope it will.  Ohio State can’t score, but they’ll play enough defense to squeak into the round of 32.

West Region:

  • (12) North Dakota State over (5) Oklahoma – UPSET!  Give me the Thundar.  They’re experienced, they’re offensively potent, and Oklahoma can’t defend. The 12-seed gets it done.

Midwest Region:

  • (11) Iowa/(11) Tennessee over (6) UMASS – Again, I’l pick the upset, here – no matter who it is.  I like Iowa to win the play-in game, but either way, I like the power conference schools to beat a UMASS squad that struggled down the stretch.
  • (14) Mercer over (3) Duke – I’m not going to pick it, but make no mistake, Duke should be worried.  Mercer has the size that Duke doesn’t, and well coached though they are, the Blue Devils have been susceptible to early exits in recent years.  *See Belmont*

East Region:

  • (12) Harvard over (5) Cincinnati – I love the smart kids, and I, historically, love betting them as a double-digit seed.  But not this year.  Cincinnati has a dynamic scorer in their backcourt, and size and power in their front court.  They’re what you want in a tournament team.  They’ll handle the Crimson.

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