Any sports fans wondering why the NCAA Tournament is nicknamed March Madness should watch the action in the Round of 64. With upsets and buzzer-beaters abound, it will become painfully obvious.
There are always favorites who are unable to deliver in their opening game, and this causes brackets to bust and whole campuses to go completely crazy.
The Round of 64 consistently delivers two of the best sports days of the year, and there will be moments that should not be missed.
Here are the most vulnerable favorites in the round, and fans hoping to see an upset should catch these teams.
No. 3 Marquette
Opponent: No. 14 Davidson
When: Thursday, March 21, 3:10 p.m. ET
The Golden Eagles have shown that they can be an impressive offensive team, but Marquette struggles severely from three-point range. Buzz Williams does not have a single player shooting over 40 percent from distance this season.
Davidson, in contrast, has multiple three-point threats. Guards Nik Cochran, Chris Czerapowicz and Tyler Kalinowski are all quality shooters from distance, as is forward Jake Cohen.
If the Wildcats get hot early and start finding open shots from three-point range, Marquette may be in trouble. Without reliable jump shooters, the Golden Eagles will struggle to orchestrate a comeback if they fall behind.
The first half of this game will be extremely important, as Davidson has a chance to come out firing and kick off the Round of 64 with a major upset.
No. 5 Oklahoma St
Opponent: No. 12 Oregon
When: Thursday, March 21, 4:40 p.m. ET
Any time a team’s most important player is a freshman, it is vulnerable in the NCAA Tournament—even when that freshman is as good as Marcus Smart.
Smart is not only an excellent player, but he is also an exceptional leader. This should give the Cowboys hope, but the team also got an unfortunate draw and will have to play Oregon, which is the best 12-seed in the tournament.
The Ducks play impressive defense, and this may frustrate the young Cowboys, who will be traveling halfway across the country to play in San Jose. Oregon, however, just has to shoot down the West Coast and does not have to change time zones.
There are multiple factors working against the Cowboys in this contest, and the team will need to deliver an impressive performance to stay alive.
No. 6 UCLA
Opponent: No. 11 Minnesota
When: Friday, March 22, 9:57 p.m. ET
This young Bruins team had an exciting amount of talent and was a serious threat to make a deep run in the tournament. But all of that changed when Jordan Adams broke his foot in the Pac-12 Tournament.
Adams was averaging 15.3 points per game, and now that he will be unavailable for the remainder of the season, a massive amount of responsibility rests of Shabazz Muhammad’s shoulders. UCLA has the same problem as Oklahoma State, as it will be relying heavily on a freshman.
In addition to Adams’ unfortunate injury, Minnesota presents a difficult matchup for the Bruins. Ben Howland’s team is not known for its low-post presence, and Golden Gophers forward Trevor Mbakwe is a beast on the block.
If Mbakwe is allowed to control the glass and get easy layups inside, the Bruins will be bounced from the tournament on Friday.
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