NCAA Tournament 2014: Upset Picks for Key Friday Games and Full Weekend Schedule

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NCAA Tournament 2014: Upset Picks for Key Friday Games and Full Weekend Schedule
Julie Jacobson/Associated Press

Upsets in the NCAA tournament happen so often, yet the shock of seeing it happen never goes away. So much stock is put into the numbers in front of the team name that we forget what the scouting reports say. 

The first big upset of this year's tournament was Dayton beating Ohio State. An 11th seed beating a sixth seed is nothing new, but the Flyers are a mid-major playing one of the best teams in the Big Ten. 

It didn't matter that Ohio State ranked 208th in scoring during the regular season, because the Buckeyes are the big boy on the block. 

As we look ahead to Friday's games, some of the upsets aren't going to seem like upsets based on seeding, but there are a lot of surprising teams getting a lot of love in the second round. Here are our upset picks for the second full day of games. 

 

All Your Bracket Essentials:
Bleacher Report

Spreads courtesy of Vegas Insider.

 

Upset Picks

West Region: No. 8 Gonzaga vs. No. 9 Oklahoma State (-1)

Julie Jacobson/Associated Press

This doesn't seem like a huge upset pick, especially since Gonzaga is the higher seed, until you realize that there is literally no love heading the Bulldogs' way in anticipation of their matchup with Oklahoma State. 

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All 10 of CBS Sports' college basketball analysts picked the Cowboys to win this game. Nick Schwartz and Rubie Edmondson of USA Today compiled a list of "most talked-about Final Four teams" on social media sites after the brackets were announced with Oklahoma State being No. 3. 

Seriously, a team that went below .500 in the Big 12 is getting more attention than Arizona, Wisconsin, Creighton and San Diego State?

Gonzaga is not without issues of its own, with undersized guards in David Stockton (5'11"), Gary Bell Jr. (6'2") and Kevin Pangos (6'2"), but Przemek Karnowski (7'1") supplements that lack of size on the inside with a great rebounding prowess. 

There's no doubt Oklahoma State has more talent than Gonzaga with Marcus Smart and Markel Brown. On paper, it's easy to see why the Cowboys get all the love. But at some point you have to perform on the court.

They have been so Jekyll and Hyde all year—starting 15-2, losing eight of their next nine, winning four straight and losing two of their next three—that assuming it's all going to click on the biggest stage is foolish. 

Mark Few hasn't had the same success in the tournament recently that he did in his early years, but he still knows how to coach in March. Oklahoma State is getting way too much credit coming into this game. 

Prediction: Gonzaga 65, Oklahoma State 60

 

South Region: No. 7 New Mexico (-2) vs. No. 10 Stanford

Eric Risberg/Associated Press

This is one game that you can go back and forth on for hours without coming to a consensus, though there are two factors that tip the scales in Stanford's favor. 

First, while not a tangible asset, is its ability to overcome adversity. Stanford lost Aaron Bright and Jack Ryan early in the season, then hit a lull when the Pac-12 schedule started by losing back-to-back games against California and Oregon State. 

The Cardinal showed resilience by winning 21 games overall, including wins against UCLA and Arizona State. They also had a three-point loss January 29 against Arizona. 

Second, Stanford has the good inside-out presence needed to win games in the tournament. Senior forward Dwight Powell averages 14.2 points and 6.9 rebounds per game, while junior guard Chasson Randle averages 18.7 points and shoots 40 percent from three-point range. 

Neither team has a lot of depth, but New Mexico is limited offensively because it doesn't shoot threes well. The Lobos connected on just 33.7 percent of their three-point attempts, compared to 37.1 percent for Stanford. 

Despite Stanford's lack of experience in the NCAA tournament—this is the school's first trip since 2008—it will find success right out of the gate by showing off that shooting prowess against New Mexico. 

Prediction: Stanford 64, New Mexico 59

 

Weekend Schedule

Friday, March 21 (Raleigh, San Antonio, San Diego, St. Louis) Time (ET) Station
Second Round 12 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 7 p.m., 9:30 p.m. CBS
Second Round 12:30 p.m., 3 p.m., 7:15 p.m., 9:55 p.m. TruTV
Second Round 1:30 p.m., 4 p.m., 6:45 p.m., 9:15 p.m. TBS
Second Round 2 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 7:15 p.m., 9:45 p.m. TNT
Saturday, March 22 (Buffalo, Milwaukee, Orlando, Spokane) Time (ET) Station
Third Round 12 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 5 p.m., 7:30 p.m. CBS
Third Round 6 p.m., 8:30 p.m. TNT
Third Round 7 p.m., 9:30 p.m. TBS
Sunday, March 23 (Raleigh, San Antonio, San Diego, St. Louis) Time (ET) Station
Third Round 12 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m. CBS
Third Round 6 p.m., 8:30 p.m. TNT
Third Round 7 p.m., 9:30 p.m. TBS
Third Round 7:30 p.m. TruTV

 

If you want to talk sports, hit me up on Twitter. 


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