The NCAA Tournament has finally arrived. It's one of the most exciting events of the year for sports fans. There aren't many things better than a chance to illustrate your vast college basketball knowledge by filling out a better bracket than anybody else in the office.
After the play-in games, which take place on Tuesday and Wednesday, the tournament begins in full force on Thursday. Let's take a quick looking at each of the opening round games. All odds courtesy of BetOnline.com.
(1) Kentucky vs. (16) Play-in Game Winner (Odds TBA after Mississippi Valley State. vs. Western Kentucky)
Winner: Kentucky. The Wildcats will make easy work of the 16 seed.
(8) Iowa State vs. (9) Connecticut (-2.5)
Winner: Iowa State. Huskies are living off last year's reputation and won't be able to match that run.
(5) Wichita State (-6) vs. (12) VCU
Winner: Wichita State. In a terrific mid-major battle, the Shockers will sneak into the next round.
(4) Indiana (-6.5) vs. (13) New Mexico State
Winner: Indiana. It will be closer than most people are expecting, but the Hoosiers advance.
(6) UNLV (-5) vs. (11) Colorado
Winner: Colorado. Runnin' Rebels have struggled after a quick start, and the Buffaloes will take advantage.
(3) Baylor (-7.5) vs. (14) South Dakota State
Winner: Baylor. Nate Wolters is a terrific player, but won't be enough to upset the Bears.
(7) Notre Dame (-2.5) vs. (10) Xavier
Winner: Xavier. The Musketeers' Tu Holloway will spark an upset of the Fighting Irish.
(2) Duke (-12.5) vs. (15) Lehigh
Winner: Duke. Blue Devils are too strong for their mid-major counterparts.
(1) Michigan State (-20) vs. (16) LIU Brooklyn
Winner: Michigan State. Top seeds are undefeated in the opening round. That won't change in 2012.
(8) Memphis (-3) vs. (9) Saint Louis
Winner: Memphis. Unlucky draw for the Billikens as the red-hot Tigers advance.
(5) New Mexico (-4) vs. (12) Long Beach State
Winner: New Mexico. Watch out for the Lobos. They have enough talent to make a run.
(4) Louisville (-7.5) vs. (13) Davidson
Winner: Louisville. Coming off a Big East Tournament victory, the Cardinals roll over Davidson.
(6) Murray State (-3.5) vs. (11) Colorado State
Winner: Murray State. The Racers are no fluke with two wins over ranked opponents.
(3) Marquette vs. (14) Play-in Game Winner (Odds TBA after BYU vs. Iona)
Winner: Marquette. A lot of hype pointing toward Iona being this season's VCU. Don't buy it.
(7) Florida (-3.5) vs. (10) Virginia
Winner: Virginia. The Cavaliers pull off a minor upset with their elite defense leading the way.
(2) Missouri (-22) vs. (15) Norfolk State
Winner: Missouri. The Tigers have too much talent for the MEAC champions.
(1) Syracuse (-17) vs. (16) UNC Asheville
Winner: Syracuse. Loss in conference tournament is nothing to worry about for Orange.
(8) Kansas State (-6) vs. (9) Southern Miss
Winner: Kansas State. Both teams have struggled with consistency, making this one of the toughest games to predict. Wildcats have more depth, so they'll find a way to win.
(5) Vanderbilt (-6) vs. (12) Harvard
Winner: Harvard. Jeremy Lin might be gone, but the Crimson will change their inner Linsanity to pull off the upset.
(4) Wisconsin (-9.5) vs. (13) Montana
Winner: Wisconsin. The Badgers will lull Montana to sleep with their slow tempo.
(6) Cincinnati (-1.5) vs. (11) Texas
Winner: Cincinnati. Late charge will give Bearcats enough momentum to survive tight clash.
(3) Florida State (-6.5) vs. (14) St. Bonaventure
Winner: Florida State. Andrew Nicholson will finally get to showcase his tremendous talent on a national stage. The Seminoles will advance.
(7) Gonzaga vs. (10) West Virginia (-1)
Winner: West Virginia. It will be an upset by seeding standards, but oddsmakers like the Mountaineers.
(2) Ohio State (-17.5) vs. (15) Loyola (Md.)
Winner: Ohio State. Buckeyes are a Final Four threat even though they are flying under the radar.
(1) North Carolina vs. (16) Play-in Game Winner (Odds TBA after Lamar vs. Vermont)
Winner: North Carolina. The region is favorable for UNC, at least until a potential Kansas clash.
(8) Creighton vs. (9) Alabama (-1.5)
Winner: Creighton. Doug McDermott has a great chance to be the tournament's breakout star.
(5) Temple vs. (12) Play-in Game Winner (Odds TBA after California vs. South Florida)
Winner: Temple. Owls won't succumb to the dreadful matchup with a 12 seed.
(4) Michigan (-6) vs. (13) Ohio
Winner: Michigan. It won't be easy, but Trey Burke will push the Wolverines past Ohio.
(6) San Diego State vs. (11) NC State (-1.5)
Winner: NC State. Wolfpack were lucky the committee chose them. Those teams are always dangerous.
(3) Georgetown (-3.5) vs. (14) Belmont
Winner: Georgetown. Past tournament failures won't stop Hoyas from surviving a tough matchup.
(7) St. Mary's vs. (10) Purdue (-2)
Winner: Purdue. Another instance where the bracket makers and oddsmakers disagree. Boilermakers will survive and advance.
(2) Kansas (-14.5) vs. (15) Detroit
Winner: Kansas. The Jayhawks appear to be on a collision course with UNC for a Final Four spot.
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