March Madness NCAA Bracket Projections: Most Likely First-Round Upsets
March Madness NCAA Bracket Projections: Most Likely First-Round Upsets

Every year we fill out our brackets with the hope that this will be the year that we buck the odds and get them all right. And every year there are numerous upsets that ruin the majority of picks. Just look at last year. How many people picked third-seeded Duke to lose to Mercer in last year’s opener? With that in mind, here are the mostly likely first-round upsets:

  1. (14) Georgia State over (3) Baylor—Baylor better watch out for Georgia State guard R.J. Hunter, who’s considered a legit NBA prospect. The junior sharpshooter has never experienced the NCAA tournament, and for some (Stephen Curry comes to mind) it can be a coming-out party.

  2. (15) New Mexico State over (2) Kansas—The Jayhawks have to be one of the weaker 2-seeds ever. Though they won the Big 12 (yet again), they struggled on the road (5–6) and their average scoring margin (plus 6.5) is the lowest in Bill Self’s 12 seasons. Meanwhile, this is the fourth straight NCAA appearance for the Aggies (0–3 previously), who are hungry for a win.

  3. (14) Northeastern over (3) Notre Dame—Mike Brey is a great coach and has done a great job at Notre Dame. That said, he’s struggled in the tournament with them (6–9 record), and with the Fighting Irish coming off the high of winning the ACC tournament, they’re in prime position for an upset. Northeastern, which hasn’t played in the big dance since 1991, would be the ultimate Cinderella.

  4. (12) Wofford over (5) Arkansas—Here’s a potential upset, in part due to tough scheduling. Arkansas, which just played Sunday, Saturday, and Friday, now has to turn around, fly to Florida, and play again late Thursday night. It’s a quick turnaround, and playing at night means Wofford will have a chance to see any other upsets during the day, which can be contagious.

  5. (12) Buffalo over (5) West Virginia—This is Bob Huggins’s sixth tournament team in eight seasons at West Virginia. Of his previous five, two ended in opening-round upsets. Meanwhile Buffalo, which will be making its first-ever NCAA tournament appearance, is coached by former Duke great Bobby Hurley, who went to three Final Fours in his four years under Coach K.

  6. (13) Eastern Washington over (4) Georgetown—Georgetown is just 2–5 over its last five NCAA tournament appearances, with three first-round upsets and all five losses coming at the hands of lower-seeded opponents. Eastern Washington would be easy to overlook, having never won an NCAA tournament game.

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