The No. 12 seed...with the dreaded No. 5 vs. 12 matchup...the matchup every team wants to avoid. We have seen upset after upset throughout the years of the tournament.
And guess what?
We will always see them, and nothing will be different this year.
I really like the No. 5 vs. 12 matchups the Selection Committee gave this year. (It may be the only thing I like, though). They put together some good teams that will really be great games.
In two of the matchups, I think the higher seeds will be fine, but you never know; anyway, I think those safe teams are going to be Michigan State, playing New Mexico State, and Texas A&M, who is playing Utah State.
I think those two power conference teams will have an easy job with those two teams. The Spartans and Aggies just have a premium of everything compared to the two Western Athletic Conference teams.
So, Texas A&M and Michigan State fans, don't be nervous; you should be fine!
Temple and Cornell is a very intriguing game, and it should be great, but I don't think it has the best possibility of being an upset. But, it could indeed hold one of the best first-round games we see in the first two days of the tournament.
Now to my most likely upset: Butler vs. Texas El-Paso in the West Regional.
I think that UTEP really got robbed on their seeding. They could have been at a No. 10 or an 11, but instead the committee put them at a 12. However, it does build a good match here.
I believe Butler was bumped up a seed too much. I liked them to be a six because I just don't see them being five seed material, but we'll see how it goes.
It is known that Butler's post presence is very far from great. After all, they really only have one big guy that can bump around inside, that being junior Matt Howard.
Derrick Caracter and company should be able to dominate inside against the weak nucleus of Butler. Brad Stevens is going to have some trouble getting his team ready for this team.
Tony Barbee's team also has nice speed to complement the size advantage of their big men. Butler will have to be ready to slow everything down and prevent the game from being a track meet.
The Butler Bulldogs just don't match up too well here. Not only do the Miners have an edge physically, but they also have somewhat of a home-court advantage. Butler has to travel all the way out west from the East coast, while UTEP only has to take a short flight from Texas.
The fans of UTEP could really affect the play of Butler. I do have to give the Bulldogs credit though; they rarely let tough environments hurt them.
Butler is very hot coming in, as they cruised through the Horizon League Conference and on to a huge championship win. That should help them some as they know what has worked as of late, and they will definitely need it.
It just doesn't seem like things are swinging the right direction for Brad Stevens and the Butler Bulldogs. UTEP is definitely no pushover. They dominated Conference USA throughout the year, and the numbers speak for themselves.
This could easily be one of the first-round upsets we see come Thursday and Friday.
Could we see UTEP make a Cinderella run? There is no doubt in my mind that it is possible.
Butler will have to come ready to play and be prepared for a great game; if not, they could very easily be going home earlier than they expected.
I'm betting on this game to be an upset, as my bracket will show soon. I'd encourage you to do the same, because I'm smelling upset here.
Don't be surprised if you see the No. 12 seed Texas El-Paso Miners advancing on to the second round, and possibly even further. They have the potential to do some damage this March.
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