Following Selection Sunday, everyone thinks they know who is going to upset who in the NCAA tournament. Here are the teams who I think are poised to shock the world in this year’s edition of the NCAA Tournament Upset Watch.
South Region: New Mexico State
I actually don’t have any upsets in the first round (unless Xavier over Notre Dame counts) but if I were to pick one, it would be New Mexico State over Indiana.
Indiana has the second highest 3PT% in the country and their defense is middle of the pack. Relying on low percentage shots can beat a lot of better teams but can also lead to losses against lesser teams.
West Region: Long Beach State
A lot of people are advancing New Mexico far in their brackets, and for good reason, but Long Beach isn’t your ordinary mid-major 12-seed. The 49ers played the toughest non-conference schedule in the country and nearly beat San Diego State, North Carolina, and Creighton.
Although Long Beach’s Larry Anderson is questionable for their first round clash, the 49ers cruised to a Big West title without him, winning by an average margin of 19.3 points.
East Region: Kansas State
If Kansas State survives Southern Miss, which they should (5 point favorites in Vegas, predicted 6 point winners by KenPom), they have a very real chance of knocking off Syracuse in the Round of 32. I was on the fence about taking them over Syracuse before the news broke yesterday that Fab Melo will be ineligible for the NCAA tournament. That was enough for me to advance the Wildcats.
Syracuse will have to rely on James Southerland, Rakeem Christmas and Baye Keita to fill the void left by the block factory that is Fab Melo. They will have to deal with K-State’s Jamar Samuels and Jordan Henriquez on the block.
Let’s not forget that the Orange, a team with a lot to prove following the latest addition to their circus of a program, didn’t exactly impress at MSG.
Midwest Region: NC State / Ohio
I’m predicting that this region will be an absolute mess. I think the winner of Cal/USF has a good shot of knocking off Temple, Ohio will give Michigan problems and NC State will advance past the Aztecs.
Michigan relies a good deal on their shooting ability and has produced some low scoring totals on the road down the stretch. The Bobcats look to be a match-up problem for Michigan as they love to turn their opponents over and play Top 20 3PT defense.
If NC State is to knock off San Diego State, CJ Leslie needs to do work. He was a beast in the ACC tournament, where the Wolfpack impressed enough to receive a bid from the selection committee. Conveniently, the Aztecs aren’t particularly dominant in the paint, as they have the 285th best block% and 229thbest effective height in the nation.
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Topics: Fab Melo, Indiana Hoosiers, Kansas State Wildcats, Long Beach State 49ers, Michigan Wolverines, NC State Wolfpack, NCAA Tournament, New Mexico Lobos, New Mexico State, Ohio Bobcats, San Diego State Aztecs, Syracuse Orange