The entire field of 68 teams was announced yesterday, and already the upset alarms are going off in the brains of college basketball fans around the country. The round of 64 officially begins on Thursday, March 17th, with #11 Michigan taking on #6 Colorado State at 12:15 PM EST in the very first game.
So, without further ado, here are some upsets I see happening in the Round of 64.
#10 Davidson over #7 Michigan State (West Region)
Spread: Davidson +1.5 (-115)/Michigan State -1.5 (-105)
Moneyline: Davidson +105/Michigan State -125
There always seems to be a few upsets in this spot every year, and I feel another coming with this Davidson team. Don’t get me wrong, this Spartans team is incredibly talented and one of the best teams in the nation at moving the ball and finding the open man. But this Davidson team has such an explosive offense that could hurt you from any angle.
Add on the fact that Davidson is led by former Spartan guard Foster Loyer–AND this game is taking place just two hours away from Davidson’s campus in North Carolina, and you have all the right ingredients for an upset. In an interview with The Detriot Free Press, Spartans Head Coach Tom Izzo admitted that "He [Loyer] probably knows our offense better than we know his.”
One place where this Davidson team does seem to struggle is the free-throw line. They only have two players who shoot over 80% from the line, so if this game comes down to the wire and free throws become important it may be a nail-biter. All in all, I think it’s a more than reasonable upset, and it even sets up a tough matchup for Duke in the Round of 32 if Davidson advances.
#9 Marquette over #8 North Carolina (East Region)
Spread: Marquette +3 (-110)/UNC -3 (-110)
Moneyline: Marquette +135/UNC -155
All we heard throughout this NCAA Basketball season was how weak the ACC was this year–and I think it’s time for the exposure to come. We all know that UNC is one of the most prestigious programs in NCAA history–but this year marked a new chapter in their story. This is Hubert Davis’ first year as head coach of the Tar Heels, and also his first appearance as a Head Coach in the big dance. Unfortunately for him, he’ll be taking on a Shaka Smart led Marquette team–who will be making his 9th overall March Madness appearance.
If you compare these two teams side by side, it doesn’t take long to notice the difference-makers: Armando Bacot for UNC, and Justin Lewis for Marquette. Lewis is averaging 17.1 ppg and 7.9 rebounds, while Bacot is putting up 16.5 ppg and 12.5 rebounds. If UNC can shut down Lewis it will be a tough night for the Golden Eagles–but the same can be said about Marquette shutting down Bacot.
Again, these 8/9 matchups are always close, but I can really see Marquette applying the pressure early on this Tar Heels squad and taking home the victory.
#11 Michigan over #6 Colorado State (South Region)
Spread: Michigan -2.5 (-105)/Colorado State +2.5 (-115)
Moneyline: Michigan -140/Colorado State +120
Alright, so it looks like Vegas agrees with me on this upset, which is always reassuring. The Wolverines, albeit were on the bubble, got an incredibly favorable draw this March, and I actually see them making a pretty deep run in the tournament. Unfortunately for Colorado State, it starts with them.
I think Michigan Center Hunter Dickinson is just going to be too much for Colorado to handle, and they will get outworked and outplayed under the basket. Colorado State is awful at grabbing rebounds, which is music to Dickinson’s ears. Michigan will have to make sure to contain Colorado State’s leading scorer David Roddy, but if they manage to do that then the rest should come easily.
I wouldn’t be opposed to laying the 2.5 points in this one either.