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NCAA Tourney - Last minute upset picks

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The fear of regret makes us change our minds when it comes to brackets; decisions we thought of as sound are undercut by incredulous looks, articles from experts, and common wisdom.

This is why the Georgetown Hoyas just feel like they're put on this earth to give you agita. This is why you're really thinking about whether UNC-Asheville can become the first 16-seed to take out a 1-seed and advance to the second - I mean "third" - round. This is why you're digging in to find out more about that pesky Ohio University.

You and I are probably not going to get it right. Which doesn't mean that we can't try!

Here are some upsets that (in my opinion) are justified, assuming that you accept the risk of your upset choice flaming out in the first round. (The lesson to keep firmly in mind: NEVER bet much money on college-aged children, no matter how good they are. The hormones, you know.)

Read on, below the fold.

Reminder: join the Wisdom of the Crowds bracket challenge on Yahoo! (and have a NCAA tournament bracket with times and channels. It's on me.)

Reminder: we'll be posting picks for each day's games in an open thread, feel free to talk about the games, or the picks, as they are posted.

Yes, I used my gut (and some stats that can become meaningless with some players hot or cold day). Yes, I assigned percentages. No, there's no accountability for these percentages. Now that we have that clear, some upset picks that I am taking serious looks at.

Upset Picks

Georgetown over Belmont. But, you say, checking your brackets, the Hoyas are the three seed! Yes, but Belmont's become a trendy pick for an upset. They're very experienced, battle-tested (even if they did lose by 1 point at Duke), offensively deadly, and are on a 14-game winning streak. The Hoyas can be had by a good-shooting team, but the Hoyas are also extremely tall, talented, defensively stout, and defend the three. Remember Otto Porter's name. chances I'm wrong - low, 25%.

NC State over San Diego State. San Diego State has played in a number of close games in Mountain West play, squeaking through on the strength of Jamaal Franklin and Chase Tapley's efforts. They're short, don't do a lot well, and this was supposed to be a rebuilding year. North Carolina State isn't great, but three of their losses were to North Carolina and they split with Virginia. There's a lot of talent on the Wolfpack. chances I'm wrong - low-moderate, let's say 30%.

Purdue over St. Mary's. Neither is great at defense, but Matthew Dellavedova has been a bit reduced in recent weeks because of injury. Purdue lost to Butler, Penn State, and a number of very good teams in the Big Ten. They're not made of magic, but St. Mary's doesn't have the bodies to handle the Boilermakers. Plus, the make boilers. That's tougher than Gaelic Wind, isn't it? Even if St. Patrick's Day is coming? chances I'm wrong - low-moderate, 40%.

California over Temple. Yes, this assumes the Golden Bears get past South Florida. I like Mike Montgomery's tournament experience and Cal's solid all around play (including solid on-ball defense without fouling) to trump Temple's ability to shoot from the outside. Fans courtside might fall asleep. chances I'm wrong - moderate, 52%.

Long Beach State over New Mexico. The solid-shooting "Beach" lost a number of games early on to major-conference opponents. And New Mexico has talent, size, and an urge to play defense - and they feel "disrespected". So why pick the Beach? You know, I'm almost rethinking this one myself. But every NCAA Tournament has a guard you have never heard of that pulls off wins, and Casper Ware of Long Beach State might just be that guy. I can promise you, at least, that this game will thrill you. chances I'm wrong - moderately-high, 68%

Detroit over Kansas. Kansas is probably too much for the Horizon League's Titans. But with Ray McCallum - a sophomore who chose to play for his father at Detroit instead of starting at UCLA - and a pair of 6'10 post players, including former Indiana player Eli Holman, they could spring an upset. chances I'm wrong - really high, 89.4%.

Also considered:

Davidson over Louisville

UNLV to the Final Four

Wisconsin to the Final Four

Kansas State over Syracuse


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