The NCAA Tournament is perhaps the most unpredictable sporting event in the world, but one thing fans can always count on is that there will be a plethora of upsets - especially in the first weekend. Last year, only four lower seeds pulled off first-round upsets, but this year promises to bring many, many more.
Many have predicted that (11) Gonzaga will upset (6) Seton Hall and that (13) Stony Brook may shock (4) Kentucky on Thursday, but neither of those things will happen. Here are the three most likely upsets in Thursday's NCAA Tournament games.
(12) Arkansas-Little Rock Trojans over (5) Purdue Boilermakers
Purdue is coming off a run to the Big Ten Conference Tournament title game, but they've been inconsistent all season due to lackluster guard play. On the other hand, Little Rock has an excellent, experienced backcourt. Guard play and defense are usually the two determining factors in NCAA Tournament games, and with Little Rock ranking third in the country in points allowed per game, they have the advantage in both areas. The edge goes to the Trojans.
Iowa State likes to play a fast, up-tempo game with a small lineup. Iona does too, but they play it with a smaller and faster lineup. Led by senior guard A.J. English (son of former NBA player Alex English), the Gaels use a four-guard lineup that usually wants to shoot in 15 seconds or less. This will be the highest scoring game in the first round, and though that's how Iowa State wants to play, they are less equipped to do so. They get worn down easily due to a short a seven-man rotation - Iona will take advantage of that and pull out a close victory late.
(11) Wichita State Shockers over (6) Arizona Wildcats
Full disclosure: I picked Arizona to win this game, but it would not surprise me one bit if the Shockers continued their recent run of NCAA Tournament success. Wichita State closed their First Four win over Vanderbilt on a 20-2 run, giving them a ton of momentum heading into their matchup against Arizona. They're the top defensive team in the country according to KenPom.com, and they should be able to limit Arizona's highly efficient offense (20th in the country). Plus, the Wildcats aren't great defending opposing guards, and the Shockers have two of the best in Fred VanVleet and Ron Baker. Don't be surprised to see Wichita State move into the second round.Back to the NCAA Newsfeed
Related Topics: NCAA Basketball, Fred VanVleet, Ron Baker, A.J. English, Iona Gaels Basketball, Iowa State Cyclones Basketball, Wichita State Shockers Basketball, Arizona Wildcats Basketball, College Basketball, 2016 NCAA Tournament, Arkansas-Little Rock Trojans Basketball, Purdue Boilermakers Basketball, March Madness