March Madness is clearly upon us, with many brackets broken after just two wild and crazy days of the 2013 NCAA Tournament. How many people picked the Harvard Crimson knocking off the New Mexico Lobos? Granted, I did tell you that I felt as if the Lobos were extremely overhyped and overrated, but I still had them winning a couple of games. Who predicted the monumental upset of the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles toppling the mighty Georgetown Hoyas? How many people aside from my wife, that is, who actually called the upset special of the tournament.
With 32 teams remaining in this year’s NCAA Tournament, we may not be through with the upsets. Not by a long shot. This is sometimes the most exciting weekend of March Madness, as it is often the time when we see one of the No. 1 seeds fall during the Round of 32. With some very intriguing third round matchups on tap for Saturday and Sunday, here is a special in depth look at what we can expect as it relates to the upsets and predictions and picks as we enter the cream of the crop of the NCAA Tournament.
* First off, I will not go as far as predicting that any of the No. 1 seeds will fall this weekend, but neither would it surprise me. All four will have a difficult challenge on tap, although I am not sure if any of them fail to advance. It is a great storyline that pits the Kansas Jayhawks against their former coach in Roy Williams and his North Carolina Tar Heels, but I do not see the ‘Heels making a run in this year’s tourney. I also don’t see the Colorado State Rams giving the Louisville Cardinals too much of a push for all 40 minutes. I was surprised to see the Temple Owls actually win a game, but that will end against the Indiana Hoosiers. If I had to guess which top seed faced the stiffest test this weekend, it would once again have to be the Gonzaga Bulldogs, who take on a much better team than many believe in the Wichita State Shockers.
* For the three No. 2 seeds who are still alive, I could see things getting a bit interesting here. The Iowa State Cyclones can flat out run and score. The Ohio State Buckeyes had better hope that they are on their game on both sides of the ball if they wish to avoid another early upset. The Miami Hurricanes have been a tale of two teams over the past month, and the Illinois Fighting Illini can knock down shots behind the line. This one could be a lot closer than people think. The same goes for the Duke Blue Devils against the Creighton Blue Jays. It will take a Herculean performance by Doug McDermott, but an upset is in the cards. It may not be likely, but it is possible.
* As for the double digit seeds still remaining in the tournament, I will guarantee you that at least one of them will in fact advance to the Sweet 16. Of course, that is because the La Salle Explorers face the Ole Miss Rebels in a battle of two double digit seeds. I would say bet the Rebs, but how can you pick against a team from the A-10 this March? That would be pure madness! As it relates to the other double digit seeds, I could see the Oregon Ducks upsetting the St. Louis Billikens. I could also see them losing by 20. They are that inconsistent. I see Harvard’s run ending against the Arizona Wildcats, my feelings about the ‘Cats being overrated aside. I think the Minnesota Golden Gophers can defeat the Florida Gators, but they will have to play a nearly perfect game, or have the Gators defeat themselves, which is also quite possible. FGCU stands a very solid chance at getting past the San Diego State Aztecs, although I would not be too confident about it happening. Finally, while I have been against the PAC-12 the past week or so, I will bet against them one more time, as I see the Syracuse Orange sneaking past the California Golden Bears.
This could be a great weekend of college basketball. The NCAA Tournament is referred to as March Madness for obvious reasons. While I may not advise you to go out and predict some major upsets during the Round of 32, I would not bet against it either. Will all four No. 1 seeds lose this weekend? Doubtful. But could one or more fall to a Cinderella team whose slipper still fits?
Pick with extreme caution.