March Madness Bracket 2019: Easy Upset Picks to Make on Printable NCAA Bracket

Jake RillCorrespondent IMarch 18, 2019

WEST LAFAYETTE, IN - DECEMBER 29: Grayson Murphy #2 of the Belmont Bruins brings the ball up court during the game against the Purdue Boilermakers at Mackey Arena on December 29, 2018 in West Lafayette, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Michael Hickey/Getty Images

The difference between a successful March Madness bracket and an unsuccessful one can be the ability to correctly pick the right upsets.

Easier said than done, as Cinderella teams can emerge from anywhere on the NCAA tournament bracket, and it's difficult to know which lesser-known team will surprise the country. But that's also what makes March Madness one of the most exciting and fun events in all of sports.

Looking to pick a few upsets to get the upper hand in your bracket pool? Below the bracket are three potential upsets to watch for during the first round of this year's NCAA tournament.


For a bracket to print and fill out yourself, go to NCAA.com.


3 First-Round Upsets to Watch

No. 11 Belmont over No. 6 Maryland

Belmont will have to get past Temple in the First Four round on Tuesday night to reach this matchup. But after that happens, the Bruins are a strong candidate for a first-round upset.

Prior to Selection Sunday, it wasn't a sure thing that Belmont was going to be in this year's NCAA tournament. No Ohio Valley Conference team had received an at-large bid since 1987.

But the Bruins had an impressive enough resume to get into March Madness, and now they'll make the most of it by upsetting a young Maryland team in the first round.

The Bruins' strength is their offense, as their 87.4 points per game rank second in the country behind only Gonzaga, and they'll put up a lot of points while taking down Temple and Maryland.

Belmont is in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2015, and it is 0-7 all-time in NCAA tourney games. That will only further motivate the Bruins to make this one of the best years in program history.


No. 12 Murray State over No. 5 Marquette

Timothy D. Easley/Associated Press

It could be a strong showing for the Ohio Valley Conference, as No. 12-seeded Murray State also has the potential to notch an upset victory in the first round.

The Racers secured an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament by beating Belmont in the OVC tournament championship game. Before that, they had a strong regular season, losing only four games and none since Jan. 31.

Marquette may have an elite scorer in junior guard Markus Howard (25 points per game, sixth in the country), but so does Murray State in sophomore guard Ja Morant (24.6 points, eighth in the country). Morant could also be a top-five pick in the 2019 NBA draft.

Sometimes, a top scorer can get hot at the right time and lead a team deep into the NCAA tournament. That could be the case for either Howard or Morant this year.

However, Murray State has more momentum entering the matchup, as Marquette has lost five of its last six games. So after losing in the first round of last year's NCAA tournament, the Racers will do better this season by moving into the second round with an upset win.


No. 14 Old Dominion over No. 3 Purdue

Jeffrey McWhorter/Associated Press

This could be the biggest upset of the first round, as No. 14-seeded Old Dominion has the potential to be the highest seed to move on to the second round.

Old Dominion is 26-8 and secured an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament by beating Western Kentucky in the Conference USA tournament championship game. The Monarchs bounced back from losing the final two games of their regular season to win three straight in their conference tourney.

One of Old Dominion's most impressive victories of the season came on Dec. 15, when they won at Syracuse. Now, the Monarchs will continue their strong campaign by notching a first-round upset victory over Purdue.

The Boilermakers have lost two of their last three games, both to Minnesota, including a loss in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten tournament. After that performance in its conference tourney, it's possible that Purdue was seeded a bit high in the NCAA tournament.

That will lead to one of the biggest upsets of the opening round as Old Dominion's senior backcourt of B.J. Stith (16.9 points per game) and Ahmad Caver (16.5) lead it to victory.