March Madness First Round Upset Picks

March Madness First Round Upset Picks

by March 17, 2021 0 comments

Making a perfect bracket is a nearly impossible thing to do. Every year, millions of people attempt to achieve this feat, yet no one has ever done so. Still, every year, millions of people attempt to create that perfect bracket. Predicting upsets are the key part of creating the perfect bracket. In 2019, after the historic UMBC upset over Virginia, along with others, just nine perfect brackets remained perfect after round one. Let’s take a look at three games that could bust your bracket if you have the favorites.

(13) Ohio vs (4) Virginia

Ohio is coming into the NCAA tournament on a roll. The Bobcats have won nine of their last 10 games and have scored over over 81 points in eight of them. Ohio boasts a balanced scoring attack with five players averaging double-digits and are lead by junior guard, Jason Preston. The Bobcats struggled in their losses as five out of their seven losses were double-digit losses, but they are a threat to upset on any given night. In a game against one-seed Illinois early on during the season, Ohio lost by just two points in a game that either team could have won. If Preston can get hot, the Bobcats have the potential to upset anyone.

The Virginia Cavaliers are the defending national champions, but it is possible that they could be a round-of-64 exit this season. The Cavaliers are entering the tournament after finishing the season 3-3 and being forced to withdraw from the ACC tournament as a result of a positive coronavirus test. Virginia is a very efficient team and if able to control the pace of the game, they can take down any opponent, but due to the lack of momentum, they could be at risk of an upset against Ohio.

(10) Virginia Tech vs (7) Florida

Virginia Tech is one of the most balanced teams in the country on the offensive end. The Hokies live behind the three-point line as they shoot the three-ball at a 35.7 percent rate. Forward, Keve Aluma accounts for a majority of the team’s offense in the paint and is leading the team with 15.6 points per game. The Hokies are 4-0 against ranked teams this season which has proved they can play well against high-level competition but had a majority of their final games canceled due to the coronavirus. If the Hokies are not rusty, they could be able to pull off the upset against the Gators.

Florida has been inconsistent all season after star forward, Keyontae Johnson collapsed three months ago. The Gators have not been able to be the powerhouse they entered the season. Tre Mann has taken major leaps since last season and is leading the team along with good paint protection from Omar Payne and Colin Castleton. If the Gators can limit their opponent’s second-chance shots, they are a dangerous team with wins over Tennesee, West Virginia, and LSU. The Gators will be upset if Mann is unable to catch fire or Aluma dominates the offensive glass making this a matchup that could be worthy of picking the underdogs.

(12) Winthrop vs (5) Villanova

Winthrop seems to be the most common upset pick since Villanova star, Collin Gillespie is out due to a knee injury. The Winthrop Eagles are a fast-paced team and dominated the competition they played against this season. The Eagles lost just one game all year. Chandler Vaudrin leads Winthrop with 12.2 points per game and is able to get a triple or double-double on any given night. Winthrop’s biggest weakness in march will be their lack of experience against elite competition. However, if Winthrop can get out in transition and run the floor, they could be a dangerous upset pick.

Villanova will have a very tough time replicating Gillespie’s production during the tournament. The Wildcats will now turn to sophomore forward, Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, to lead the team. Villanova is 5-5 in their last 10 games which puts them at risk for an upset. If Villanova falls in a slump during the game and Gillespie is not playing to help end it, the Eagles could upset the three-time national champion Wildcats.

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Kamran Nia is a journalist from Los Angeles, California.

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