Winning Big

As the NCAA Tournament has already gotten under way most of you have started to think about filling out a bracket. And others have decided to enter that bracket in pools. And on top of that, others have decided to focus on a few particular games and bet money in hopes of a big payoff.

Well, that’s what we are going to look at today. Five games with the potential for a big upset in the first round (and perhaps more to follow).

  1. 4-seed Cal vs. 13-seed Hawaii. This is as much due to Hawaii having one of those high-volume, fast-paced offenses that can put up big numbers on any night as it is the fact that the Cal Bears are young and inconsistent even though they boast lots of pro talent. Hawaii is on a roll into the tournament while Cal has played well to end the year. Depending on whether Hawaii can contain Cal’s wings (Brown, Bird, Matthews) then maybe this isn’t such a big upset.
  2. 6-seed Arizona vs. 11-seed Wichita State. The Shockers had to play well last night to even get to this point but they are here. They have experience. And they have some depth to contend with a solid if unspectacular group from Arizona. How effective can the Wildcat frontcourt be? And can Wichita State control the game with Baker and Van Vleet? Guard play wins out even though Allonzo Trier has a good game.
  3. 6-seed Texas vs. 11-seed Northern Iowa. We’ve seen the Panthers from Northern Iowa pull of big upsets this season (North Carolina and Iowa State) and they beat Wichita State both times they played. So we know they have talent. Texas has been great since Cameron Ridley went out and Shaka Smart is doing one hell of a coaching job. But Ridley is back and they are trying to get the talented big man involved again. Good idea? Might be against a vertically challenged Panther team. Either way, the Long Horns need guards Taylor and Felix to take care of the ball and limit the effectiveness of counterpart Washpun.
  4. 3-seed Utah vs. 14-seed Fresno State. The Utes have an awesome big man in Jakob Poetl. He’s almost unstoppable and has some decent range. However, their guard play isn’t amazing and they aren’t exactly an up-and-down team. Enter Fresno State, who loves to run-n-gun and has some talented wings to get the ball moving. If this game becomes a track meet don’t be surprised if the Bulldogs pull off the upset.
  5. 5-seed Baylor vs. 12-seed Yale. It happened last year against Georiga State, albeit R.J. Hunter was an NBA prospect. But what the Bulldogs of Yale lack in athleticism and pro potential, they more than make up for with team play and offensive efficiency. Baylor doesn’t defend the 3 ball that well and would be wise to pound the glass with Rico Gathers all day. Look for Yale to get good movement and if the perimeter shots start falling who knows what will happen?!?

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