It’s not Christmas, but today sure feels like it. This is the time of year sports fans fall in love with. The NBA trade deadline means new faces will be in new places. NFL free-agency is well under way. Peyton Manning will choose his next destination any day now, and did I forget to mention the March Madness Tournament starts today. Officially it started Tuesday but does anybody really take notice until today? The key to a winning bracket is to have a mixture of solid picks with quality upsets nobody else saw coming. Here’s a look at 4 opening round teams that could be ousted by the end of the week.
#12 Harvard over #5 Vanderbilt
Maybe Linsainty has drove me insane, but there are a couple of reasons why the Ivy school can advance. Harvard has increased its win total in each year under head coach Tommy Amaker (8, 14, 21, 23, and 26). Harvard defeated ACC Tournament Champion Florida State earlier in the year. 12 seeds are notorious for beating 5 seeds anyway. While Vanderbilt is hot after defeating Kentucky in the SEC tournament, they may have peeked to early.
The Commodores have lost three straight times in the opening round to lower seeds including last year’s #12 seed Richmond. Stranger things have happened i.e. Jeremy Lin coming out of nowhere. Why can’t his alma matar win an NCAA tourney game?
#14 Belmont over #3 Georgetown
Belmont has been close in recent years but have yet to get over the hump. Georgetown has had a great regular season but have struggled recently in the month of March. Besides a loss against Memphis earlier in the year, the Bruins have been beaten by more than 5 points only once (They lost at Duke by 1 point). Belmont is a legit contender, and if you don’t believe me, just ask Las Vegas. The 14th seeded squad are only a +3.5 point underdog, giving them a strong case to pull off the upset.
#12 Long Beach State over #5 New Mexico
A complete and balanced team that has played one of the toughest schedules in the nation. They beat Xavier and Pittsburgh while losing close games on the road to Kansas by 8 and North Carolina by 6. Other tournmanet teams they have battled include San Diego State, Louisville, Kentucky, Kansas State and Creighton. If any team is ready for the national stage, Long Beach State may be your next Cinderella.
#10 West Virginia over #7 Gonzaga
I’ll admit this is not much of an upset pick, but nonetheless, it’s a lower seed that’s a lock to earn a victory. The Mountaineers are led by two seniors in Kevin Jones and Darryl “Truck” Bryant who have had success before in tournament play. Head Coach Bob Huggins gets the edge with more experience over Gonzaga’s leader, Mark Few. In their last 6 non-confrence games, West Virginia is 5-1 against the spread. West Virginia should be able to overpower the undersized Gonzaga squad, continuing to represent the Big East.