NCAA Upsets: Predictions for 3rd Round of March Madness Action

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NCAA Upsets: Predictions for 3rd Round of March Madness Action
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODA

"Upset alert" was a phrase uttered by many over the duration of the 2014 NCAA tournament's second round. At this point in March Madness, no team is immune to upsets by underdogs and Cinderella teams.

We've already seen plenty of bracket-busting outcomes—most notably the No. 14 Mercer Bears taking down No. 3 Duke on Friday.

Will Round 3 be any different? Nope.

The upsets will continue and brackets will be busted. This is all a part of March Madness. Let's take a look at the most likely favorites to be sent home by a lower-seeded team in the third round of the 2014 NCAA tournament.

 

No. 8 Gonzaga Takes Down No. 1 Arizona

Jeff Gross/Getty Images

This may be the boldest prediction of them all. Each of the 1 seeds got through the second round without much of an issue. However, in Round 3, they will begin to be tested.

Arizona was given a run for its money against No. 16 Weber State in the second round of the tournament. The top seed held a nice 32-20 lead at the half, but a late-game run by Weber State made things a little uncomfortable.

In the end, Arizona pulled out the 68-59 victory, but allowing Weber State to climb back into the game doesn't bode well for Arizona's future in the tournament.

Weber State coach Randy Rahe spoke of his team's resilience during a post-game press conference with the Associated Press, via ESPN.com:

"We came in expecting to win, trying to win. The guys did a tremendous job. I thought we could have pulled in the tents and our guys got a little more tough and showed resilience like they have all year."

If Arizona doesn't shape up, they will be ousted in the near future.

Gonzaga held on to an 85-77 victory on Friday against a powerful Oklahoma State team led by Marcus Smart.

The Bulldogs are a very well-rounded team. They are balanced offensively and defensively, can shoot from the perimeter and slice their way inside to score in the paint.

Four different Gonzaga players scored double-digit points against the Cowboys. Guard Kevin Pangos was on point, connecting on six of his 14 attempts from the field, including making 12 of 14 free throws. He finished with a game-high 26 points and added three rebounds, three assists and three steals.

Przemek Karnowski dominated the boards once again, collecting 10 rebounds on his way to a double-double for the game (he finished with 15 points).

Gonzaga shot 50 percent from the field and 50 percent from downtown. If Arizona stumbles, and the Bulldogs can keep up that kind of pace, the Wildcats are in for a big upset on Sunday.

 

No. 6 Baylor Edges No. 3 Creighton

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

It's really difficult to pick against Doug McDermott. Although, without a consistent supporting cast, Creighton appears poised for a loss against a very strong Baylor team.

During the Bluejays' 76-66 win over Louisiana-Lafayette on Friday, McDermott was on fire. He connected on 13 of 23 attempts from the field for 30 points and added 12 rebounds.

Late in the game Creighton found itself in trouble, as the Ragin' Cajuns continued to hang around. Ethan Wragge and Austin Chatman stepped up in a big way, recording 12 and 16 points, respectively. That hasn't been the case for the Bluejays all season, however.

There have been plenty of times when McDermott finds himself as the team's only legitimate scoring threat. This is when Creighton gets in trouble.

If Baylor can contain McDermott, and his supporting cast doesn't show up in a big way, chances are the Bears will advance to the Sweet 16.

Baylor is a very experienced and mature team. The Bears know how to compete on a big stage thanks to leaders like Cory Jefferson.

After the Bears' win against Nebraska, Jefferson explained the team's mentality during a press conference with the Associated Press, via ESPN.com:

"The past Elite Eights that we did have were good runs, but this year we're just looking at it as checking it one game at a time. We had ours today, the next one is on Sunday. We'll look at one game, and we'll move on from there."

That's the kind of mentality that wins contests this late in the year. With the Bears taking it one game at a time, rest assured they are paying heavy attention to McDermott. If Creighton's star can't get any help, Baylor will flourish once again.

 

Notables

Chris Pietsch/Associated Press

Watch out for the surging Mercer Bears. The team is riding an all-time high after a huge win against No. 3 Duke. They do face a streaking Tennessee team that took care of business against Massachusetts in Round 2; however, momentum and confidence goes a long way in the NCAA tournament.

North Dakota State looked virtually flawless against Oklahoma in Round 2, winning by a score of 80-75. Meanwhile, San Diego State barely squeezed past No. 13 New Mexico State, winning by just four points. If the Bison play the way they did against the Sooners, San Diego State will have its hands full.

Wisconsin blew away a sluggish American squad by 40 points in the second round. However, they face a much tougher opponent in Round 3. Oregon has been on fire lately, as the team trounced BYU in Round 2 by a score of 87-68. Wisconsin has a stout defense, but Oregon is extremely well rounded. This one could come down to the wire.

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