This year, there are a few Round of 64 upsets just jumping off of the NCAA tournament brackets.
Now, I don't know about you, but I've always found nailing the highest percentage of upsets in the Round of 64 almost as satisfying as winning a whole bracket pool.
I plan on getting a head start on my competition by jumping on the following three upsets.
UCLA has talent. It is impossible to deny, but that only adds to the dissatisfying feeling one gets while watching the Bruins play. This young team just can't put it all together, and it always seems to hang on the cusp of greatness as a result.
This isn't to suggest the Bruins would be doomed against any No. 11 seed. The Golden Gophers just happen to be a bad matchup.
While catching fire from behind the three-point line may be the fastest way to an upset, rebounding is the most consistent way to pull off the feat, and Minnesota is going to destroy the Bruins on the glass.
The Bruins are 97th in the nation in rebounding. The Golden Gophers are 17th—averaging 2.5 more rebounds per game.
Honestly, this is a modest differential, however, we have to factor in pace of play.
UCLA checks in at 32nd in the nation in possessions per game; Minnesota at 270th. The Bruins average six more possessions per game.
The Golden Gophers will limit the Bruins to one shot per trip, and they'll create extra looks for themselves.
No. 11 Middle Tennessee State over No. 6 Memphis
Note: Middle Tennessee State will play St. Mary's in a First Four game.
The Blue Raiders lost in the semifinals of their conference tournament, but prior to that, they had rattled off 17 straight wins. That helped them post a 28-5 record and a 19-1 record in the Sun Belt conference.
That actually can't match Memphis. The Tigers went 30-4 on the season and 16-0 in Conference USA.
When it comes down to it, neither of these teams are all that tested. So the records need to be taken with a grain of salt.
What really has me leaning towards this upset is the way these two teams play.
Only once this season did the Blue Raiders allow more than 66 points, and that came in an overtime game.
Meanwhile, the Tigers like to get up and down the court in a hurry and spread the ball around. While they have been putting up points, they have also been turning the ball over.
The Tigers are 271st in the nation with 14.6 turnovers per contest.
The Blue Raiders are going to frustrate the Tigers with their pace and then force them into turnovers.
No. 11 Belmont over No. 6 Arizona
The Wildcats are not entering this tournament playing their best basketball.
The Wildcats, who won their first 14 games of the season, have lost three of their last five to enter this tournament with a 25-7 record.
Meanwhile, Belmont has won their last six after a consistent season led them to a 26-6 record.
The Wildcats are streaky, and they could get hot and run away with this one. However, the Bruins will win this matchup seven out of 10 times. The Wildcats simply won't be able to slow them down.
The Bruins play at a fast pace, but they also take smart shots. They finished fourth in the nation in field goal percentage.
The Bruins will plug along with their potent offense and wearing down the Wildcats.
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