Last Minute (Well, Six Hours Prior) First Round Tourney Picks—Win Your Pool!
DJ KEY aka Keeven Kuate—
If you think your bracket is any good, wait until you see these picks. You might not agree with them all, but you'll learn a thing or two by seeing my picks.
My bracket is on ESPN.com and ready to dominate.
These are just my picks for the first round. For now.
16 vs. 1 Picks
A 16-seed has never beaten a one seed in 64-team bracket history
No worries here, unless Radford wants to take down my predicted National Champion and make my future tournament articles irrelevant. (That would be bad!)
Louisville over Morehead St.—Louisville will have their way in the second game of the season against Morehead State this year. Terrence Williams, who at times shows us LeBron-like moves and explosiveness, will be a triple-double threat, and he'll decide if that third category is steals or assists (seven games of five or more steals this year).
UNC over Radford (25-point spread seems high, however. I would not bet on UNC to cover.)
Pittsburgh over East Tennessee St.
UConn over UT-Chattanooga
15 vs. 2 Picks
Memphis over CS-Northridge—Memphis should be used to playing "easy" teams, but we'll see how they do this year. They did luck out on a weak No. 1 seed pairing with UConn.
Michigan St. over Robert Morris—I expected great results this year from Tom Izzo, and he was proving just that until we ran into some trouble this year in a very weak Big Ten conference. Robert Morris should not be too much to handle, but it will stay close.
Duke over Binghamton—This was a bad matchup for Binghamton as Duke is fresh off an ACC title, but give props to Binghamton on winning their conference and their first tournament appearance.
Oklahoma over Morgan State—I like this matchup because it gives Oklahoma a good matchup to test out if they are ready for this tournament. Morgan State is responsible for a home loss for the Maryland Terrapins, and Oklahoma isn't the same team that started the season 18-1, or are they?
14 vs. 3 Picks
Syracuse over S.F. Austin—Jonny Flynn is now a household name; well, not completely, but playing in six-overtime history may help his cause. Syracuse is my "wild card" team of this tournament, as they could easily win it all or choke very early.
Villanova over American—Home game for Villanova, basically, but watch this game be close. American played Tennessee tough last year, and Villanova is a team that always loves to flirt with danger, then pull away late.
Kansas over North Dakota State—All week I have been debating whether Cleveland State or North Dakota State was going to pull the biggest upset of the first round. Sorry, but I could not take the risk on this one, even though ND State has four players who shoot over 40 percent from the arc.
Missouri over Cornell—Missouri has impressed me A LOT in the past two weeks. Missouri is a buy now, and my sleeper Final Four pick; therefore I will discuss them later throughout this month as they put Missouri basketball on the college basketball map.
13 vs. 4 Picks
Washington over Mississippi State—I was surprised that Washington won the Pac-10 regular conference title, defeating my Sun Devils twice (although we got them in the tournament!) in the process, but that proves to be legit and Mississippi State will struggle here.
Cleveland St. over Wake—Here is where I make online pick-making history. Yes, I said it: Cleveland St. will beat Wake Forest. I was watching their game versus Butler in their conference championship game, and they are as good as advertised. (Syracuse fans know what I'm talking about.)
Xavier over Portland St.
Gonzaga over Akron
12 vs. 5 Picks
Utah over Arizona—Arizona lucked out by being in this tournament and not breaking their streak of 25 straight years of NCAA tournament appearances, and I love it how ESPN immediately jumped on making them the good 12 vs. 5 upset. Not happening, not against these Utes.
Purdue over N. Iowa—Impressive Big Ten Tournament Championship, kinda, but they took that pre-concussion Blake Griffin Oklahoma team to overtime earlier in the season, so this is a no-brainer.
Florida State over Wisconsin—All I have to say is Toney Douglas. Watch him dominate.
Western Kentucky over Illinois—I have the Big Ten going 3-4 in this first round, and Illinois is not one of those three teams winning.
11 vs. 6 Picks
Arizona State over Temple—Yes, I love how President Barack Obama has picked my university that I attend to lose. He must not know too much about sophomore phenom James Harden. Even though my Sun Devils live and die with the three-ball, I don't think Dionte Christmas and Temple will be able to keep up when they are hot from downtown.
UCLA over VCU—This is a great game to talk about. Senior guard Eric Maynor got famous with "The Dagger" against Duke a few years ago, and now is back in the tournament, but is facing a UCLA team with everything to prove, as they have been in the past three Final Fours. VCU is very good, and it's too bad they'll have to head home early.
West Virginia over Dayton—This is another six-seed that I like. Even with the nine losses to top 50 teams, its the experience that counts, and West Virginia always loves to mess people's brackets in the past few years.
Utah State over Marquette—No Dominic James = four losses in the past five games for Marquette. Thirty-win team Utah State will continue to add to the miseries that this injury to James has caused.
10 vs. 7 Picks
California over Maryland—Maryland Terrapins hold the title of team that was the most inconsistent this season. With very bad losses to Georgetown and Duke, and a home loss to 15-seed Morgan State at home, it makes you wonder if that overtime win against UNC and ACC tournament game versus Wake are even relevant. I mean, we'll see, but I like a more consistent California to win this one.
Boston College over USC—Tyrese Rice will take over and give the Trojans major problems. I can see him scoring 30+ points alone.
Minnesota over Texas—Tubby Smith needs to show if he is a Hall of Fame coach, and this is the perfect game to do that. Take a Minnesota school that had almost no history of basketball and beat a slightly overrated Texas team, that may be all he has to do. It's all politics.
Clemson over Michigan—I flipped a coin for this one. Heads was Clemson, tails was Michigan. I'm just kidding.
9 vs. 8 Picks
LSU over Butler—LSU was the only decent team in the SEC this season.
Oklahoma State over Tennessee—I never know what to expect with Tennessee, but I can't see them being able to handle a red-hot Oklahoma State team.
Ohio State over Siena—Siena a nine seed, I hope you are kidding. The Big Ten is not THAT bad.
Texas A&M over BYU—I hope Mike Singletary from Texas Tech made Texas A&M realize that a team must play defense in addition to offense. This is going to be a great game, probably the best of the first round. I like A&M to escape this one.
Well, those are my first round picks. I will be back with the second round and so on. It will definitely be a lot of college basketball to handle, but totally worth every second. I wish every bracket owner good luck. Let the games begin! (In just about less than six hours actually; I should probably go to sleep.)
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