The first round of the March Madness is upon us. I’m breaking down each game and giving a prediction for each game. Region by region. The first round starts on Thursday, March 16th. The first game can be seen on CBS at 12:15.
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Villanova vs Mount Saint Mary’s/New Orleans: Villanova has to await their opponent as Mount Saint Mary’s and New Orleans will play a game on Tuesday to decide who will lose to Villanova. Either way, whoever Villanova play, Villanova will win and win big.
Prediction: Villanova defeats Mount Saint Mary’s 98-54
(8) Wisconsin vs (9) Virginia Tech: Wisconsin got really under seeded and they should definitely be higher than an 8 seed. This team knows how to play in March, they’re an experienced team and should be pissed off they just got an 8 seed after being the runner-up in the regular season Big Ten conference and runner-up in the Big Ten Tournament. This will be close because VT can shoot the ball, and if they’re shooting well, watch out. But I like Wisconsin’s defense.
Prediction: Wisconsin defeats Virginia Tech 67-59
(4) Virginia vs (13) UNC Wilmington
This game is going to be a lot better than people think. Like a lot better. Virginia can not score the ball, granted their defense is lock down. But UNCW is a very good scoring team. They average 85 points per game. That’s a lot of points t defend, even for the stifling Virginia defense. UNCW also tested Duke last year in the tournament, only to lose in the final minute. This team wants revenge. Also, this is an early game, starting at 12:40 PM, that favors the underdog.
Prediction: UNCW defeats Virginia 63-57
(4) Florida vs (13) East Tennessee State.
I like this ETSU team. They have a solid, veteran team, and they are a trendy pick to win this game. It’s going to be a close one but Florida will eek it out.
Prediction: Florida defeats ETSU 74-68
(6) SMU vs (11) Providence/USC
Again we don’t know who SMU is playing yet, but it doesn’t matter who SMU plays, I like the Mustangs in this one.
Prediction: SMU wins
(3) Baylor vs (14) New Mexico State
This is an intriguing match up, but after watching the Baylor Bears play the entire year because i’m an avid Kansas fan, i like this Bears winning and avenging their round of 64 exit from last year.
Prediction: Baylor defeats NMSU 75-54
(7) South Carolina vs (10) Marquette
Man, I don’t know. This is tough. I’ll be honest I’m just going to guess on this one. This match up to me, is a pick’ em. Marquette can shoot it and well South Carolina really can’t. That’s my driving decision.
Prediction: Marquette defeats South Carolina 83-75
(2) Duke vs (15) Troy
Duke is RED HOT. Don’t think to much about this one.
Prediction: Duke wins 84-57
(1) Gonzaga vs (16) South Dakota State
Gonzaga lost one game all year. You think they’re going to lose to South Dakota State? No.
Predictions: Gonzaga defeats SDSU 94-61
(8) Northwestern vs (9) Vanderbilt
Ahhhhh. Northwestern, after 78 long years of never making the NCAA tournament, they finally gets to dance. They will take on a 15 loss Vanderbilt team. Even though i think this game is pretty evenly matched, you don’t bet against fate, right?
Prediction: Northwestern defeats Vanderbilt 67-62
(5) Notre Dame vs (12) Princeton
Ahhhh yes, the battle of the brainiacs. The first game of the tournament. This is going to be close without people realizing it. Everyone is going to be at work or school and they’re going to get the news “quick, turn on the ND vs Princeton game. The Tigers are up 5 with 2 minutes left. They’re going to win” And then you’re going to stream the game live on your phone, use your data and be disappointed that you won’t see an upset. Happens all the time
Prediction: Notre Dame defeats Princeton 65-62
(4) West Virginia vs (13) Bucknell
WVU won’t fall subject to another round of 64 loss. They’re to talented and their press is to strong.
Prediction: West Virginia defeats Bucknell 68-49
(6) Maryland vs (11) Xavier
Ehhhh i hate this match up. I think both teams suck. Xavier, yet again, failed to live up to their preseason expectations and Maryland was just above average this year.I can see either team winning but I’ll go with..
Prediction: Maryland defeats Xavier 73-62
(3) Florida State vs (14) Florida Gulf Coast
Dunk City returns to the madness and FGCU has a good team this year, maybe even better than the 2013 team that made the sweet 16. I said all year that Florida State can either make the final four or lose in the first round and I would not be shocked either way. Everything in me is telling to pick FGCU. They can score, they have a great coach in Joe Dooley and they have experience. Every bit of a formula to pick up an upset win. But i can’t do it. FSU has to much scoring, to much size to let it happen. And this is one of the upset picks you make that come back to bite you in the ass.
Prediction: Florida State defeats Florida Gulf Coast 77-68
(7) St. Mary’s vs (10) VCU
This is going to be a classical 7 v 10 match up. Both teams are good, play tough, and play with a chip on their shoulder. But i think St. Mary’s is the better team in this match up and they’ll pull this one out.
Prediction: St. Mary’s defeats VCU 75-71
(2) Arizona vs (15) North Dakota
No, Arizona will not fall victim the recently common 15 beating 2 seed trend. Or will they? I mean Michigan State was basically picked by everyone to reach the final four, like Arizona, only to lose to Middle Tennessee State, a 15 seed. No, stop it, it won’t happen to Arizona. But it could? Damn it.
Prediction: Arizona defeats North Dakota 88-77
Midwest Region: (Not much analysis here because whatever I say about any team will come back to bite Kansas in the ass… i’m very superstitious)
(1) Kansas vs (16) UC Davis/ North Carolina Central
Again, I’m a die hard Kansas fan. I really hope they are not the fist one seed ever to lose to a 16. If they are, I will no longer be writing for wingspansports. But, we don’t know who their first round match up will be.They have fallen victim to a lot of close games this year, but i hope this is not one of them. Josh Jackson should come out with fire after being suspended for the TCU lost. Look for him to have a big game.
Prediction: Kansas wins
(8) Miami vs (9) Michigan State
This game is going to be really good. I think both of these teams are really good.
Prediction: Miami defeats Michigan State 69-61
(5) Iowa State vs (12) Nevada
Another intriguing match up, that should be a good game, but Iowa State is RED HOT.
Prediction: Iowa State defeats Nevada 81-67
(4) Purdue vs (13) Vermont
Purdue’s length is to much in this game.
Prediction: Purdue defeats Vermont 71-55
(6) Creighton vs. (11) Rhode Island
URI is RED HOT after winning the A 10 tournament. I think they still a game away from Creighton who has been injury prone this year.
Prediction: Rhode Island defeats Creighton 64-57
(3) Oregon vs (14) Iona
I think Oregon is too talented in this game for Iona too pull off the upset.
Prediction: Oregon defeats Iona 85-62
(7) MIchigan vs (10) Oklahoma State
Very intriguing match up, and should be one of the best games in the first round, but…. Michigan is RED HOT going into the tournament. They are a team of destiny and if you don’t know what i’m talking about google “Michigan Basketball Plane” you’ll understand.
Prediction: Michigan defeats Oklahoma State 75-73
(2) Louisville vs (15) Jacksonville State
No, Louisville won’t fall victim of the 15 seed beating the 2 seed. I will not do this to myself again.
Prediction: Louisville defeats Jacksonville State 85-53
(1) North Carolina vs (16) Texas Southern
North Carolina cake walks to the round of 32
Prediction: UNC defeats Jacksonville state 94-51
(8) Arkansas vs (9) Seton Hall
I like Seton Hall in this one. They played well down the road and lost to Villanova at the buzzer in the Big East tournament. That’ll play dividends in the tournament.
Prediction: Seton Hall defeats Arkansas 77-72
(5) Minnesota vs (12) Middle Tennessee State
Remember when i said Michigan State lost in the first round to a 15 seed last year? Well MTSU was that 15 seed. And you know what? They’re even better this year. And have had a better season. And have a better seed. And play an overrated Minnesota team. Hello UPSET!!
Prediction: MTSU defeats Minnesota 74-69
(4) Butler vs (13) Winthrop
Butler was not supposed to be this good this year. Tournament good? Sure. 4 seed good? No way. The Bulldogs are know for March magic, but they won’t need much magic to get by Winthrop.
Prediction: Butler defeats Winthrop 85-67
(6) Cincinnati vs (11) Kansas State/Wake Forest
We’re going to have to see how this plays out. If Wake Forest beats Kansas State, i think Wake Forest beats Cincy. But if Kansas State defeats Wake Forest, I think Cincy beats Wake Forest. So wait until those games conclude.
(3) UCLA vs (14) Kent State
Lonzo Ball is better than Steph Curry!!!! If you don’t know what i’m talking about it’s worth the humorous read. But seriously, Lonzo is too good to lose to Kent State and UCLA will advance.
Prediction: UCLA defeats Kent State 91-67
(7) Dayton vs (10) Wichita State
Wichita State got screwed!!!! They are way to good to be a 10 seed. They were ranked 20th in the nation!! They have 30 wins!!! Dayton is a good team, but Wichita is playing pissed off. This will be one of the better games in the first round.
Prediction: Wichita State defeats Dayton 62-57
(2) Kentucky vs (15) Northern Kentucky
This game will be close for the first 10 minutes because Northern Kentucky is gonna play Kentucky tough. Those Northern Kentucky players will be pissed they didn’t get recruited by Big Blue Nation. But Kentucky is way to good and they are RED HOT to let this game slip away.
Prediction: Kentucky defeats Norther Kentucky 87-64
*This is March, so every pick here could be right, every pick could be wrong. Who the hell knows what will happen. That’s why this tournament is so much fun. Enjoy!*