The round of 64 in the NCAA tournament always features multiple upsets. Thursday’s action proved this to be true, and the trend will continue into Friday.
Another full day of games will produce more twists and turns than a drawer full of extension cords.
With a gazillion different ways to watch the tournament on any device that has ever been invented, there are limited excuses for missing any of the action.
Here are the games to watch if you are looking to see an upset.
No. 4 Kansas State
Opponent: No. 13 La Salle
When: 3:10 p.m. ET
Recent history suggests that No. 4 seeds are vulnerable, with at least one No. 13 seed winning its round of 64 game in the past five tournaments.
The Wildcats are facing a tough matchup in this game. Kansas State’s defense has been mediocre this season, and as SI.com’s Andy Glockner notes, La Salle was on fire during its victory over Boise State on Wednesday:
I have La Salle as 21-for-18 from 3. Is that about right?— Andy Glockner (@AndyGlockner) March 21, 2013
The Explorers were actually 11-of-21 from long distance in their 80-71 win. When this team gets hot, it is dangerous.
Kansas State ranks all the way down at No. 60 in KenPom.com’s defensive efficiency ratings, and the Wildcats should be worried about their ability to stop the La Salle shooters before they get in a rhythm. The Explorers will find their stroke from three-point range in this game, and this will allow them to record an upset.
No. 7 Illinois
Opponent: No. 10 Colorado
When: 4:40 p.m. ET
Most of the time, it is unwise to pick against a team that has two seniors in the backcourt. Brandon Paul and D.J. Richardson give the Illini experience at guard, but there isn’t any one thing Illinois excels at.
Colorado plays stout defense, but the team’s offense is mediocre. Both of these teams suffered multiple losses at the end of the season as well.
This game is ultimately a toss-up, and there is little to separate the Buffaloes and the Illini.
In the end, Colorado knows its strength is on defense, and it will hunker down at that end of the floor. This will allow it to survive what will be an extremely close game.
No. 6 UCLA
Opponent: No. 11 Minnesota
When: 9:57 p.m. ET
Everything was going right for the Bruins. They were on the verge of riding the momentum from a third victory over Arizona to a Pac-12 tournament title.
This would have sent UCLA to the tournament after winning eight of its past nine, but a season-ending injury to Jordan Adams let the air out of this team’s tires. The Bruins lost to Oregon in the Pac-12 tournament final.
Now, Ben Howland will need an incredible performance from Shabazz Muhammad in order to create enough offense to win this game. Relying this much on a freshman is not a recipe for success in March.
Losing Adams was truly unfortunate, and the Bruins will not be able to recover from this stroke of bad luck.
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