It’s March Madness time again which means it’s time to pick some upsets! I figured we would make it more difficult by throwing in the point spread.
1). UNC Wilmington +8.0 over Virginia
UNC Wilmington is led by sophomore guard C.J. Bryce (17.6 ppg, 5.5 RPG, 3.0 APG), and senior guard Chris Flemmings (15.8ppg, 5.5 ppg, 2.1 ppg). They will face a Virginia team that has been slumping as of late. The Cavaliers are one of the best defensive teams in this tournament, but they struggle at times on offense.
UNCW led Duke at halftime last year, and they come into the tournament winners of 18 out of their last 21. Virginia, on the other hand, is 6-7 in their last thirteen games.
Prediction: I think UNCW will not just cover, I think they will win this game outright.
UNCW 72 Virginia 70
2). Winthrop +12 over Butler
Butler has big wins over Arizona, Villanova, Indiana, and Cincinnati this year. They are led by junior forward Kelan Martin, who averages 16.1 points per game. Winthrop is led by their star Keon Johnson who averages 22.5 points per game.
Butler’s losses have all seemed to come against unranked teams this year, so this looks to be possibly a serious test for the Bulldogs.
Prediction: Picking Winthrop and the points, because of Butler’s history of playing down to the level of their competition. I do think Butler will do enough to win the game.
Butler 75 Winthrop 66
3). South Dakota State +22 over Gonzaga
The reason for taking the Jackrabbits and the points is their star Mike Daum, Daum can take over a game as he did in leading the Jackrabbits to their conference championship. Daum is second in the nation in scoring, averaging 25.2 points per game.
Gonzaga is a complete team that I think has as good as shot as anybody of winning it all.
Prediction: Make no mistake about it I am picking Gonzaga to win this game. But, I think Mike Daum and the Jackrabbits will make it interesting for a half. Gonzaga 84 South Dakota State 66
4). East Tennessee State +10 over Florida , The Gators, are led by sophomore guard KeVaughn Allen (13.9 ppg) and senior guard Canyon Berry (12.1 ppg). Gator big man John Egbunu is out with a torn ACL, which hurts the Gators’ chances of making a deep run, and I think will cause them problems in this game.
ETSU is led by Senior guard T.J. Cromer averages 19.1 points, 3.2 assists and 2.9 rebounds per game.
Prediction: The Gators without their big man will struggle here. I think ETSU will keep this close the whole way, but I see Florida squeaking it out at the end.
Florida 71 ETSU 69
5). Bucknell +13.5 over West Virginia
“Press Virginia” leads the nation in steals (10.4 per game) and forced turnovers (20.4), and their defense ranks among the top five in the KenPom efficiency ratings. Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year Jevon Carter leads a balanced Mountaineers scoring 13.1 points per game. Seven other players average at least 5.6 points.
Bucknell is led by Patriot League Player of the Year Nana Foulland who is averaging 14.9 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.1 blocks. The 6-foot-9 center also was the Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year. Tournament MVP Zach Thomas is averaging 16 points, 6.6 rebounds and 3.5 assists. This team can cause trouble for West Virginia.
Prediction: This will be a close game that will come right down to the wire. I like the Mountaineers in a close game
West Virginia 65 Bucknell 60
6). Northern Kentucky +20 over Kentucky
The Wildcats, winners of eleven straight games, are led by freshmen Malik Monk (20.5 points), De’Aaron Fox (16.1) and Edrice Adebayo (13.2), Kentucky also features the nation’s ninth-best defense.
NKU is making it’s the first-ever appearance in the NCAA Division 1 men’s Basketball Tournament. They are a talented, young team that will only get better over the next few years.
Prediction: Kentucky will win this game, but I do see NKU hanging around for a half.