Thursday, March 15, 2012

March Madness 2012: Day 1 Upset Picks

Marquette alum Dwyane Wade should enjoy watching the Golden Eagles defeat BYU but there are five upset picks that will be more entertaining on the first day of March Madness.

March Madness Upset Picks: Day 1
EAST region: #16 UNC-Asheville over #1 Syracuse and #12 Harvard over #5 Vanderbilt 

SOUTH region: #16 Western Kentucky over #1 Kentucky, #12 VCU over #5 Wichita State and #13 New Mexico State over #4 Indiana.

As explained last year, these upset picks were made with the following biases:

An explanation for each upset pick on Day 1 is listed below.

#16 UNC-Asheville over #1 Syracuse
The Syracuse Orangemen only have one player with a Win Score that ranks in the top 200 and Fab Melo (#195) isn't playing in the tournament. The Asheville Bulldogs have a more productive player that's eligible for the tournament named Jeremy Atkinson (#87).

#12 Harvard over #5 Vanderbilt
Tommy Amaker is the head coach for Harvard.

#16 Western Kentucky over #1 Kentucky
All of the biases listed above point toward the Kentucky Wildcats. Anthony Davis has the highest Win Score in the country and Pomeroy gives Kentucky the best chance to win the title at 19.7%. I picked the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers because they have a player named Derrick Gordon that starred with Kentucky super freshman Michael Kidd-Gilchrist in the high school hoops documentary, Prayer for a Perfect Season. The documentary's portrayal of Gordon struggling to cope with his twin brother being locked up for an aggravated assault charge moved me to pick Gordon's Hilltoppers over his old, high school teammate MKG.

#12 VCU over #5 Wichita State
Last year's Cinderella Final Four team is still coached by Shaka Smart even though many analysts predicted he would leave VCU for a bigger school with deeper pockets.

#13 New Mexico State over #4 Indiana 
The New Mexico State Aggies are coached  by Marvin Menzies, a 2010 finalist for the Ben Jobe Award given to the top minority coach in Division I. Wade will be rooting for Indiana and his old Marquette coach, Tom Crean.

HEAT Madness: Day 1
Wade isn't the only HEAT player with a vested interest in Day 1 of March Madness. UNLV alum Joel Anthony will be rooting for the Running Rebels to beat the Colorado Buffaloes later tonight.

Below is a list of tournament teams each player on the HEAT roster attended. For more on the Miami HEAT's college connections, see the article "Value of a College Education".

Final Four Picks
My Final Four picks are listed below.
  • East: Florida State
  • Midwest: Georgetown
  • South: VCU
  • West: Missouri
I've got Georgetown beating Missouri in the title game to win it all.

My complete bracket is available here. Enjoy the Madness, everyone!

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