2011 NCAA March Madness: 5 Upsets To Have in Your Bracket
As many of you are scrambling to finish your bracket by the the 12:15 p.m. tip for the West Virginia/Clemson game, here are five upsets you need to consider last minute for your bracket.
Now, there is no guarantee that these teams will win, but based on matchup situations, there is an increased possibility that these teams could be giant killers.
No. 9 Old Dominion over No. 8 Butler
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Many people will give Butler the benefit of the doubt based on their reputation from the tournament last year. This is not the same team though, as the man pictured above, the "Baby Faced Assassin," (seriously, I will not miss hearing this every two minutes this March Madness) now plays for the Utah Jazz.
Most experts suggest that rebounding is one of the most key stats when predicting winners. Old Dominion is No. 1 in offensive rebounding and No. 14 in defensive rebounding in the country.
The Achilles heel of ODU could be that they are in the bottom half of the NCAA in free-throw shooting, but in my opinion, Butler only got an eight-seed based on making the national championship game last year.
You can carve this one in stone.
No. 12 Utah State over No. 5 Kansas State
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It's hard to believe that this Kansas State team was once ranked No. 3 in the country, yet ended with 10 losses. Although they are one of only two teams to beat Kansas, I believe that the Big 12 is much weaker than it has been in previous years.
Again, with the mantra that defense wins championships, Utah St. is No. 7 in opponent's points per possession, No. 6 in opponent's field goal percentage and No. 4 in rebounding, all in the entire NCAA.
I believe that this Utah State team has the ability to win at least two games in the tournament with their staunch defense.
No. 11 Gonzaga over No. 6 St. John's
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Remember in the late '90s when Gonzaga arrived on the scene and took the college basketball world by storm?
A lot of analysts have begun to refer to them as the Boise State of college basketball. I think that comparison is dead on, as the luster has started to wear off on cheering for them, but that doesn't mean that they still aren't a capable team.
It is well documented that you never know what you are going to get from St. John's away from Madison Square Garden. This team had the scrappiness to beat Pitt and nearly every team in the Big East, yet how will they handle playing in Denver?
I expect this to be a close one, and trust me would have loved to pick St. John's, but Gonzaga being No. 13 in the nation in free-throw shooting gives them the edge.
No. 13 Belmont over No. 4 Wisconsin
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This could be the Cinderella of the big dance.
Wisconsin's effort against Penn State was abysmal. I think I threw up in my mouth watching them play. Every year, Bo Ryan's squad trots out a similar lineup of boring players that get the job done, but are not going to wow you.
This is the year I believe they will finally lose in the first round.
Expect a tight matchup here. Belmont is the No. 1 team in the country at forcing turnovers and the No. 2 team in the country at opponent's points per possession. Ironically, Wisconsin turns the ball over the least in the country, and has the second-best points per offensive possession.
This will be a dogfight that hopefully has more points than the 36-33 sleeper from last week. Call it a hunch, but I think Belmont will come out on top.
No. 14 Bucknell over No. 3 UConn
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Now I know what you are all going to say, "UConn just won the Big East tournament."
Exactly, they just played five games in five days, and will now being playing their sixth game in that time span. I realize that these are college age kids, but six games playing at your highest level in the span of 10 days is a lot to ask from anyone.
When it comes to March Madness, give me a team that can hit the big shot, and that seems to be Bucknell. They are in the top 20 in the nation in both three-point shooting and free-throw shooting.
Now, I know that any ESPN or CBS pundit would be quick to tell you that Kemba Walker is God's gift to Earth, but can this man really carry a team for this many games? No question he is a great player, but today I think his luck will run out.
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Remember, these are not guarantees, but are calculated risks that you should consider having in your bracket.
Don't overload too heavily on upsets because you don't want to risk looking foolish, but you also don't want to be that guy (or girl) with a straight chalk bracket.
Check back and let me know what you think of these upsets. Feel free to taunt me too if I fall flat on my face.
We are all here for the competition, and the best weekend in sports is just hours from getting underway.
Follow me on Twitter @BFlow82.