With all due respect to the First Four, the 2016 NCAA Tournament is about to really get started. Is your bracket ready? Or are you still trying to decide which teams are liable to get upset, and which are capable of making a surprise run deep in the tourney? If your answer’s the latter, then maybe these expert picks from some very reputable media outlets can help you make some of the best choices for your bracket picks.
And for some more professional guidance, check out some of the top college basketball experts’ Final Four and national championship predictions here.
March Madness News & Predictions
- 2016 March Madness Sleepers Predictions and Picks
- 2016 March Madness Longshots and Best Long Shots Picks and Predictions
- 2016 March Madness Preview
- 2016 NCAA March Madness Expert Picks
2016 NCAA March Madness Best Bracket Choices
|REGION||FIRST ROUND UPSET||SWEET 16 SLEEPER|
|South||Temple over Iowa||Wichita State|
|West||VCU over Oregon State||Texas|
|East||Pittsburgh over Wisconsin||Providence|
|Midwest||Iona over Iowa State||Seton Hall|
The Washington Post’s Jeffrey Tomik organized his March Madness predictions into three per region: a first-round upset, a Sweet 16 sleeper, and his Final Four. While his Final Four picks weren’t particularly noteworthy, his upset and sleeper picks were.-4.5 favorites over Oregon State. However, picking the Gaels to outright beat the Cyclones as 7.5-point underdogs would be something.
His pick of Seton Hall reaching the Sweet 16 is also very interesting. The Pirates are very young, and are +1 underdogs against Gonzaga in the first round. But they’ve got a legit go-to guy in Isaiah Whitehead, who could thrive in the bright lights of the tournament. The Pirates are certainly worth a look at +6,000 to win the national title.
CBS Sports writer Sam Vecenie came up with not one, not two, but six of the most likely first-round upset picks. Those are:
- Wichita State over Arizona
- Arkansas-Little Rock over Purdue
- UNC Wilmington over Duke
- Stephen F. Austin over West Virginia
- Cal-State Bakersfield over Oklahoma
- Southern over Oregon
He wasn’t really suggesting Nos. 5 and 6 would actually happen and doesn’t quite consider No. 1 an “upset” per se, but he was a lot more confident of the other three legit upsets coming to pass.
He’s most confident about Arkansas Little-Rock’s chances as a +9 underdog over Purdue. He sees the Trojans’ backcourt as a big advantage on both ends of the court. They can apply pressure on Purdue’s guards, who usually struggle under those conditions. And with Josh Hagins, they also have a go-to guy who can get key buckets.
He applies the same reasoning with UNC-Wilmington, a +10 underdog to upset defending champions Duke. The Seahawks can get after the Blue Devils and their inexperienced guards, and potentially force some uncharacteristic mistakes from the champs.
Scott Gleeson of USA Today came up with a bunch of March Madness predictions, but two were particularly eye-opening. He sees three No. 12 seeds winning in the first round, and three No. 11 seeds making the Sweet 16. Here are the specific teams he’s referring to:
|Three No. 12 seeds will upset a No. 5||Three No. 11 seeds will make Sweet 16|
|Chattanooga over Indiana||Wichita State|
|Arkansas-Little Rock over Purdue||Northern Iowa|
|Yale over Baylor||Gonzaga|
While he acknowledges that 5 vs. 12 upsets aren’t too surprising at this point, picking the +12 underdog Mocs over the Big Ten regular season champs is still pretty big. He’s also going out on a limb and choosing Yale, who are in the tournament for the first time since 1962, to be this year’s Cinderella.
Meanwhile, Gleeson is apparently very impressed with this year’s crop of No. 11 seeds, and with good reason. The Wichita State Shockers have the experience and the excellent defense; Northern Iowa defeated not one, but two top-five-ranked teams this year; and the Zags have one of the most talented frontcourts in all of college basketball. Would it be a complete shock to see all three win at least two games? Perhaps not.
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