Skip to content

Upset Watch: Five possibilities to keep in mind

Mar 18, 2013, 7:00 PM EDT

OVC Murray St Belmont Basketball AP

One of the most entertaining aspects of the NCAA tournament are the upsets that are bound to occur every year. Last season’s event featured a pair of 15-seeds winning on the same day, as Lehigh beat Duke and Norfolk State edged out Missouri. There’s also the history of at least one 12-seed knocking off a 5-seed, with that happening in every tournament of the new millenium but two (2000 and 2007). So what are some games you should keep an eye on when it comes to possible upsets? Here are five.

1. (11) Belmont over (6) Arizona (West)

Arizona has more size than Belmont in the paint, but this upset possibility focuses on what can happen on the perimeter. The Wildcats’ perimeter defense, specifically their defending of the three-pointer, has been a concern for much of the season. Opponents shoot 36% from beyond the arc, and given Belmont’s ability to hit the shot this is a concern for Arizona. Kerron Johnson and company make 38.6% of their three-pointers, and they score nearly 33% of their points via the shot. Rebounding is definitely a concern for Rick Byrd’s team in this matchup, but if they can convert three-pointers at a rate near their numbers for the season look out.

2. (10) Colorado over (7) Illinois (East)

Illinois’ reliance on the three-point shot is no secret, but in the Buffaloes they drew a team that’s done a good job of defending the shot. Colorado limits opponents to 32.3% from beyond the arc, a mark that ranks second in the Pac-12. The biggest concern for Illinois is rebounding, an area in which they’ve struggled all season long. Opponents manage to grab nearly 34% of their missed shots on the season, and with Colorado boasting one of the nation’s best rebounders in Andre Roberson this is an area the Buffaloes can exploit. And look for Spencer Dinwiddie, their best perimeter defender, to match up with Brandon Paul for much of the night.

(CLICK HERE: To browse through the rest of our 2013 NCAA Tournament Previews)

3. (12) Oregon over (5) Oklahoma State (Midwest)

The Ducks were shown no respect by the selection committee in regards to their seeding. But the committee made up for that by placing them in San Jose against the 5-seed Oklahoma State. Oregon has athletic wings such as seniors Carlos Emory and freshman Damyean Dotson, which will help them when it comes to matching up with Le’Bryan Nash. And with their size inside the Ducks have the tools needed to exploit Oklahoma State’s defensive rebounding issues. The concern: Marcus Smart. Oregon’s small at the point with Dominic Artis and Johnathan Loyd, so they’ll need to be very good in the areas listed above in order to win.

4. (11) Bucknell over (6) Butler (East)

Dave Paulsen’s team has won 12 of its last 13 games, and with senior center Mike Muscala leading the way the Bison are more than capable of doing some damage this week. With Cameron Ayers and Bryson Johnson on the perimeter Bucknell shoots 36% from three, but given the presence of Muscala and their ability to convert inside of the arc it isn’t as if the Bison are in danger of becoming overly reliant on the shot. In order to beat the Bulldogs, Bucknell will have to do two things extremely well: don’t allow Rotnei Clarke to go off, and keep Butler off the offensive glass. Butler rebounds nearly 37% of their missed shots on the season.

5. (13) South Dakota State over (4) Michigan (South) 

Yes Michigan made an appearance on the list of ten teams capable of winning the national title. But that doesn’t mean the Wolverines can’t be picked off in their first game. This game matches two of the nation’s best point guards (Michigan’s Trey Burke and South Dakota State’s Nate Wolters), so it should come as no surprise that these are two of the most efficient offensive teams in the country. If the Jackrabbits are to pull off the upset, which looks to be a tough chore if you’re a fan of advanced stats, they need to do two things: keep Burke out of the lane (far easier said than done) and win the rebounding battle.

Four other games to consider: 

- (11) Middle Tennessee (provided they beat Saint Mary’s) over (6) Memphis (West)

- (12) California over (5) UNLV (East)

- (10) Cincinnati over (7) Creighton (Midwest)

- (13) Montana over (4) Syracuse (East)

One game to be wary of: (11) Minnesota over (6) UCLA (South)

This is the game many latched onto almost immediately, so much so that Vegas has the Gophers down as a three-point favorite. But even with UCLA’s poor rebounding (Minnesota is the best offensive rebounding team in the country) and the broken foot suffered by Jordan Adams, calm down. Minnesota enters the contest having lost seven of its last ten games, and while that came against Big Ten competition it isn’t a lock that the proverbial light bulb will turn on for Tubby Smith’s team. The Gophers certainly have some advantages they can exploit, but this is by no means a guarantee.

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Latest Posts
  1. Mixtape of 2015 wing Isaiah Moss (VIDEO)

    Sep 23, 2014, 11:45 PM EDT

    (Nike) (Nike)

    Isaiah Moss is blowing up after a strong July live evaluation period.

  2. Harvard releases non-conference schedule for 2014-15 season

    Sep 23, 2014, 10:45 PM EDT

    Siyani Chambers and Tommy Amaker (AP Photo) AP

    Harvard is a potential preseason top-25 team and they’ll face some tough non-conference opponents.

  3. College of Charleston hires another assistant coach for Earl Grant’s staff

    Sep 23, 2014, 9:45 PM EDT

    Earl Grant Earl Grant

    Earl Grant is continuing to add to his staff at College of Charleston.

  4. Report: Five-star 2015 center Stephen Zimmerman will wait until spring

    Sep 23, 2014, 8:45 PM EDT

    Franklin Bishop Gorman Basketball AP

    Stephen Zimmerman appears to be announcing his decision late.

  5. Top 2015 and 2016 prospects comment on high school-to-pro move in new report

    Sep 23, 2014, 7:35 PM EDT

    (adidas) (adidas)

    Now that Emmanuel Mudiay has gone from high school to professional basketball in China, others high school players are intrigued.

  6. Maryland’s Dez Wells finds photo of himself in college textbook (PHOTO)

    Sep 23, 2014, 6:10 PM EDT

    Dez Wells2 AP

    Dez Wells took to social media when he found himself in a college textbook.

  7. Assigned Reading: “The Owl Without a Vowel”

    Sep 23, 2014, 4:54 PM EDT

    Bettman/Corbis Images Bettman/Corbis Images

    Bill Mlkvy is one of the greatest players in the history of Temple Basketball.

  8. Phoenix/Glendale bid organizers hope to reel in Final Four

    Sep 23, 2014, 3:57 PM EDT

    San Francisco 49ers v Arizona Cardinals Getty Images

    The Final Four hasn’t been played in the western United States since 1995.

  9. Four-star 2015 shooting guard commits to Illinois

    Sep 23, 2014, 2:32 PM EDT

    Jon Lopez/Nike Jon Lopez/Nike

    Illinois now has three commitments in the Class of 2015, and there’s still a five-star point guard on the board that they’re pursuing.

  10. Maryland transfer eligible this season at Georgia Tech

    Sep 23, 2014, 2:20 PM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    The 6-foot-8 forward has two years of eligibility remaining.

  11. Houston announces plans for new practice facility

    Sep 23, 2014, 2:05 PM EDT

    University of Houston University of Houston

    This facility is a nice boost for a basketball program that has made one NCAA tournament appearance since 1992.

  12. Malik Newman, Jaylen Brown among 53 invited to US Junior National Team minicamp

    Sep 23, 2014, 12:55 PM EDT

    FIBA U17 World Championships - Dubai Getty Images

    The two-day camp will be held October 4-5 in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

  13. UConn star among 13 finalists for United States senior women’s national team

    Sep 23, 2014, 11:27 AM EDT

    Breanna Stewart Breanna Stewart

    Breanna Stewart is the lone current college player among the finalists, with the team playing one final exhibition before the world championships begin September 27.

  14. Ohio State center won’t request immediate eligibility waiver

    Sep 23, 2014, 10:10 AM EDT

    Marshall Plumlee, Trevor Thompson AP

    The former Virginia Tech big man will work hard in 2014-15 with an eye towards being a primary option in 2015-16.

  15. Purdue athletic department will sell copies of old game films

    Sep 22, 2014, 9:00 PM EDT

    Matt Painter AP

    Purdue is offering to sell old game films using a company that hopes to do the same with over 600 colleges.

  16. Florida State gets commitment from 7-foot-4 2015 center

    Sep 22, 2014, 7:47 PM EDT

    Leonard Hamilton AP

    Florida State added a big man in 2015 to go along with its three talented perimeter threats.

  17. N.C. State has three new jersey designs for 2014-15 (PHOTO)

    Sep 22, 2014, 6:45 PM EDT

    Mark Gottfried AP

    The Wolfpack have some new threads for the upcoming season.

  18. Creighton lands 2015 point guard commitment

    Sep 22, 2014, 5:30 PM EDT

    300x1 AP

    Creighton picked up a point guard in the 2015 class on Monday.