Invariably, there will be some games that will be blowouts. There will be some games that will be closer than it should be. Then there are the games that we all saw coming as upset specials.
Of course, none of us saw #15 seed Hampton beating #2 Iowa State, did we? What about Valparaiso/Ole Miss? Weber State/North Carolina? VCU/Duke? Vermont/Syracuse? Northwestern State/Iowa? Bucknell/Kansas? I bet you all remember those games though...Bryce Drew, Harold "The Show" Arcenaux, Eric Maynor, TJ Sorrentine, D'or Fisher, Kevin Bettencourt? they might as well be legends.
Well, its time to crown some new legends...here are the 5 upsets that will
Midwest Region: #13 Houston def. #4 Maryland - Let it be known right now that Greivis Vasquez is one of my favorite players in college basketball (Ok sidenote, I thought Vasquez was Puerto-Rican for two years straight until someone told me he was Venezuelan. Afterwards, I made the decision that in my mind...he was Boricua. I'm still a fan) however, in big games GV has the tendency to want to take over and try to make plays by himself. He's talented, he can do this. However, Houston's playing excellent ball right now, and the guard opposite Vasquez might be even nicer. That would be Aubrey Coleman...who's leading the NCAA in scoring at an astounding 25.6 points/game. Houston's also coached by former Texas Longhorns coach Tom Penders, and I have a feeling he's trying to get back in the national spotlight. Houston 79, Maryland 75.
East Region: #11 Washington def. #6 Marquette - Trust me on this one, Marquette is probably the smallest power conference school in the entire tournament and U-Dubb is coming into this tourney with a chip on their shoulder and full of confidence. The Pac-10's been getting dogged all year, and deservedly so, yet they've got the "should-be" Pac-10 player of the year in Quincy Pondexter, and they've got the other Isaiah Thomas, the mighty mouse 5'8" version. Like I said, Washington will have height on their side, and the Golden Eagles only go 6-deep. Washingon has the chance to get up and down the court, and crash the boards...it could go in the Huskies favor. This could be a barn burner, but I believe U-Dubb prevails. Washington 61, Marquette 60.
West Region: #12 UTEP def. #5 Butler - You all do remember Derrick Caracter is don't you? The formerly disgruntled big man who played under Rick Pitino in Louisville is making it happen at the formerly named Texas Western University. However, he's not even the best player on the squad. That, my friends, would be Randy Culpepper, the 6-foot dynamo from North Memphis has helped lead the Miners to a 26-6 record and a #25 overall ranking in the polls. My boy B-Lew has been singing the praises about this team for months, and I personally just don't believe in Butler like that. Matt Howard has never been able to handle strong bigs and former Calipari disciple Tony Barbee has UTEP poised to make a legitimate run to a Sweet 16 birth. Wow...that's a lot of love for Conference USA, hope no one remembers me dogging the conference 3 months ago. UTEP 76, Butler 70.
South Region: #13 Siena def. #4 Purdue - This is actually the easiest one to call, as Purdue's leader Robbie Hummel is out for the season with a knee injury. I was able to watch Purdue up close when they got SMASHED by Minnesota (who went on to get SMASHED by Ohio State in the Big 10 final) and I'm just not that impressed with Purdue. Wasn't impressed really even when they were at full strength. If you look at the bracket, Siena has a strong chance to pull a George Mason on us and if they can get to the Sweet 16...they get Duke in Houston, Texas. Player to watch: Alex Franklin, at 6'5" 225 pounds dude is a straight beast. Siena 80, Purdue 70.
(I MIGHT BE NUTS BUT...) West Region: #14 Oakland def. #3 Pittsburgh - Pittsburgh is the type of team that is just blah to me. They don't do anything flashy, they don't have any superstars, and they have a coach who has on more than one occasion has dropped the ball in the tournament. Pitt lost to Notre Dame while only scoring 45 points in the Big East tournament. Maybe it was a bad game, but...Oakland is coming in ready to lay it all on the line. They've won 11 straight, and back in 2006 played Jamie Dixon's then ranked #4 Panthers in Pittsburgh and was up by 4 at the half. They lost by 11 at the end of the game, but also have 2 players (Johnathan Jones & Derrick Nelson) who played in that game 4 years ago. They're now starters and are integral players to their team's success. Add in 6'11" junior Keith Benson (17, 10 & 3.5 blocks/game) and they have the players to give Pitt all types of problems. Don't say I didn't warn you when you make out that bracket. Oakland 58, Pitt 55.
WHICH TEAM IS THE MOST LIKELY TO BE UPSET IN THE TOURNEY? WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE UPSET OF THE PAST 10 YEARS? WEIGH IN AND DISCUSS!