We’re all looking for the Cinderella teams of this years NCAA Tournament. Well, I got three teams that are most likely to pull off a first round upset in order to likeliness to happen.
3) #12 over #5
Dionte Christmas. There’s the name and look for him to take over in this one. He averages over 20 points a game on the season and he was absolutely phenomenal in the A-10 Tournament. He had 29 points in the first round against La Salle and 22 in the final against St. Joes. He had an off game in the semi-finals, but was picked up by his fellow backcourt mate, Mark Tyndale, who had 20. This Temple team has always played tough defense and defense and great guard play wins in March. This team really struggled early in the season, but came along in conference play winning 14 total games in the A-10. As for the Spartans, this team doesn’t like playing away from East Lansing. This team has lost to the likes of Iowa and Penn State on the road and weren’t even competitive at Indiana and Wisconsin. Christmas is here in March.
2) #12 over #5
Ah, George. Two years ago you captured the hearts of people all around America with your miraculous run to the Final Four. Good Luck this year because it ain’t happening. But can this team pull off an upset or two? Absolutely. They still have two key holdovers from the Final Four team in big man Will Thomas and playmaker Folarin Campbell. Put the three-point assassin Dre’ Smith (he’s the guy who hit 10 straight three-points in one game) and a great head coach in Jim Larranaga and you have an experienced, versatile mid-major capable of pulling off an upset. People are in love with this Notre Dame team a little too much. They have had a great year, but again, this tournament is not in South Bend. Luke Harangody will be a forced to be reckon with down low, but Will Thomas can match up with him on the defensive end. If the Fighting Irish aren’t shooting well, then the Patriots will win yet another NCAA Tournament game.
1)#11 over #6
This one is almost too obvious. I would have also put Davidson over Gonzaga in one of the three spots, but I feel that that is also to obvious even though I think Gonzaga would win. Anyway, here is another A-10 Philadelphia squad capable of pulling off a first round upset. Saint Joseph’s is coming off of two great wins over Xavier in the last week and a half. I saw this team play very early in the season at Syracuse and they are deep and experienced. Senior Pat Calathes leads the charge with over 17 points a game and 7 rebounds a game and he can do it on the inside as well as the outside. He shoots over 40% from the three-point line and while he floats out there, Ahmad Nivins takes care of business on the inside averaging over 14 points a game. Those two should be fun to watch against the Sooner’s combination of Blake Griffin and Longar Longar. Griffin is a handful inside, averaging 15 points a game and over 9 rebounds per game. This matchup should be an interesting one.
Another very unlikely upset that could happen:
#13 over #4
You might think I’m crazy on this one, but I think this Oral Roberts can run with Pittsburgh. I think Pittsburgh is an extremely hot team at the moment and people think they are better than they really are. DeJuan Blair and Sam Young will be a handful for Golden Eagles and if Ronald Ramon is hitting shots, then Oral Roberts has no shot. But it is very tough for teams to come off of four straight days playing in the extremely tough Big East Tournament and repeat that performance four days later. Pittsburgh also had extra motivation playing in New York as many of those players are from the Big Apple, but Denver is far from New York. This Oral Roberts team can hang with tough competition like they did earlier this year in Texas and Texas A&M. But will they be able to actually come out on top versus an extremely hot Panther squad? Unlikely but possible. All Five Oral Roberts starters are upperclassmen and point guard Robert Jarvis will have to carry them.