Hear ye, Hear ye, Bring on the Madness! It’s that time of year where everyone gets lazy at work for two days to watch the afternoon games of the second round of the NCAA Tournament. If you were smart like I used to be, Thursday and Friday were ‘sick days’, but unfortunately I don’t have that luxury anymore although the March Madness app keeps me in the action! While there are 64 teams duking it out over 4 days starting on Thursday, Water Cooler Talk will focus only on those games in which an upset is highly in the odds on Thursday and Friday. So let’s not waste time, shall we? Hide the monitors from the boss (and in this case, your co-workers as well), lean in and let Water Cooler Talk help you be the sports guru of the office this week and the magician of bracketology.

South Region:

Depending on what happens between tonight’s game between Vanderbilt and Wichita State, I see two potential upsets in the South. Starting with the teams that play tonight, the winner plays Arizona on Thursday. While Vanderbilt is thanking their lucky stars by getting a bid into the tournament, Wichita State had to of taken a sigh of relief as they were on the bubble, though undeservedly. Yes, the Shockers record isn’t great, but injuries have hampered this team. Now is the time to show your worth Wichita State, and make a phenomenal run. I do like WSU to squeak by the Commodores tonight, and then “upset” the #6 seed Arizona Wildcats to play Miami (FL) on Saturday.

Moving to Friday in this region, we have the matchup of #4 Cal versus #13 Hawaii. The Golden Bears have already had a rough start to the tournament as assistant coach,Yann Hufnagel was fired Monday due to sexual harassment claims. As if there isn’t enough pressure on teams to perform, turmoil is the last thing you want on the path to a national title. I like Hawaii to take this game and I liked the Rainbow Warriors even before Cal had their coaching distraction. Hawaii finished the season with a 27-5 record and won the Big West Conference regular season and tournament title.

West Region:

I also see two potential upsets in this bracket. On Thursday, #5 Baylor will play #12 Yale. I know Yale isn’t Harvard, but the Ivy League schools seem to get one win in the tournament before bouncing out. I see no exception here, as I like Yale to knock off the Bears and those hideous jerseys.

On Friday, #6 Texas plays #11 Northern Iowa. UNI hasn’t been shy about upsets all season as they beat then #1 UNC, then #5 Iowa State and then #25 Wichita State. After a 10-11 start to their season, the Panthers have won 12 of their last 13 which suggests their hot streak should continue for at least one more game.

I don’t know if you can call this an upset as it’s a 7-10 matchup, but I also like VCU to top Oregon State on Friday afternoon.

East Region:

If Michigan beats Tulsa, I like Michigan to upset #6 Notre Dame. The Wolverines are extremely dangerous on the perimeter, though they do lack size. The Fighting Irish do have Zach Auguste, but they’re too hit or miss on offense for me to give them much of a chance.

Midwest Region:

Remember when everyone was high on Iowa State last season as a #3 seed? Well, they lost their first game to UAB. This year the Cyclones are the #4 seed and their first game is against a tough Iona squad, who’s ranked #13 in this bracket. Despite the Gaels being 0-2 against tournament teams this season, this team is also hot at the right time as they’ve won 12 of their last 13 games. Old habits die hard, and the Cyclones are no exception.

Seton Hall probably deserved more than their #6 ranking seeing how they are the Big East Tournament champions and have a 25-8 record, but it doesn’t negate the fact they have a tough test to open the tourney. While Gonzaga was not the team we’re used to seeing this season, Mark Few always has his squad ready to go when the calendar turns to March. I have always in the past knocked the Bulldogs for the conference they’re in and this year is no exception. They were just 1-2 against top 25 teams and didn’t have much competition in the WCC, but I have faith in Mark Few.

Those are my 2nd round upsets for the 2016 tournament. Were there any games I didn’t mention? Or games that you think I’m dead wrong about? Give me your opinions by following me on Twitter and telling me what you think the upsets are this year in the 2nd round. I hope everyone enjoys the tournament and I look forward to giving my Sweet 16 and Elite 8 predictions next week.

The NFL Pre Season year doesn’t officially begin until tomorrow, but what a start to the league year already. Retirements, free agents signings (pending of course), trades and releases have already shook up the new league year. The next 52 days leading up to the draft should be exciting, so sit back, relax and let Water Cooler Talk help you become the sports guru of the office this week.

The news of Calvin Johnson retiring broke just about 40 minutes before I sat down to start writing the column for the day, obviously I had to change the strategy. For the first time since 2006 and 731 receptions later, the Detroit Lions will be without who could be considered one of the most dominant WRs of all time. What does this mean for the Lions? For now, it should mean they’re in scramble mode as they try to find a piece (or pieces) to replace Megatron. With Johnson retiring, the cap number gives the Lions more breathing room, but the crop of receivers on the market aren’t great. And while the Lions need to address defensive issues in the draft, perhaps it’s now time to look at a WR who you can try to build around for the future and to keep Matthew Stafford happy for the foreseeable future.

DeMarco Murray, you know, the guy who ran for over 1,800 yards with the Cowboys in 2014, has been traded to the Tennessee Titans. After a tumultuous season with Philadelphia in 2015 in which he only rushed for 702 yards, Murray is headed to a much friendlier offense that fits his style under Mike Mularkey. Questions arose about Murray’s commitment to Philadelphia even after Chip Kelly was fired, but it’s apparent that the damage is done which is why Murray is on the go once again.

Staying with the Eagles, they’ve decided to drop most of the pieces of Chip Kelly moves by shipping off Byron Maxwell and Kiko Alonso to the Miami Dolphins. Maxwell was paid prior to the 2015 season as a #1 corner which didn’t pan out at all and Alonso was acquired in a trade with the Buffalo Bills for LeSean McCoy. It’s apparent that the Eagles want to forget Chip Kelly ever being in the organization in any capacity.

Retirements and trades have been a hot topic the last 16 hours or so, but a release has made some buzz as well, though it doesn’t come as a surprise. Robert Griffin III, more easily known as RGIII, is on the market after the Washington Redskins declined his 5th-year option. RGIII set the NFL world on fire in 2012 as a rookie, but a devastating knee injury in the finale of that season saw a major decline in production. After sitting out all of this past season, it appears that RGIII will best be suited in a backup role with a prominent QB who can learn the ropes on what could be a comeback trail.

That QB in which RGIII can sit back and learn won’t be Peyton Manning as he officially retired yesterday. However, Brock Osweiler was able to learn from Manning and as an unrestricted free agent, can let the dollars fly his way. While Denver has offered Osweiler a sizable contract (3 years, $45 million), other teams are in the market for a QB and could offer more (Houston comes to mind). I think Brock stays, but if he waits too long to sign with Denver they may move on since Denver wants to keep Malik Jackson as well, Denver currently only has $9 million in cap space.

All of this buzz comes at a good time for the NFL as most sports fans are anticipating the bracket release on Sunday surrounding college basketball. So for now, the NFL buzz is amplified leading up to the free agency period which begins on Wednesday at 4 p.m.

No, I haven’t forgotten about college basketball, but the latest NFL news has trumped that talk for now. Next week’s Water Cooler Talk will solely focus on March Madness and the bracket. So be sure to come back next week as I give you my prediction for the upcoming tournament (I did pick the eventual Final Four and champions last year). In the meantime, enjoy the warm weather and be sure to follow me on Twitter, @JasonSaulter. Have a great week everyone.

It took an extra day for March to come this year, but with the day finally here it’s time to get excited about March Madness. While there’s still quite a lot of parody in college basketball thanks to the continuing “one and done’s”, it makes for predicting who will advance to the Final Four and winning the national championship hard. We’re still a bit of a ways off from that (we’ll at least let the brackets be set first) but there’s no shame in saying who needs to win during the final week of the regular season this week and make some noise during conference title games next week. So sit back, relax and let Water Cooler Talk help you be the sports guru of the office this week.


Remember when this team came out of nowhere a few years ago and made two consecutive championship games? Then head coach, Brad Stevens was a huge part of that, and then he left to coach the NBA’s Boston Celtics. Butler has held their own since his departure, but they’ve come down to earth and are again looked at as a mid-conference team. I had the privilege of watching this team in last year’s tournament when they lost in OT to Notre Dame in the Round of 32. Despite the loss, I thought this team would make quite a bit of noise for the 2015-16 season. Looks can be deceiving however as they’re currently on the outside looking in. One big win is on their resume, that was a win against Purdue in December. Overall on the season however, Butler is just 2-7 against the RPI top 50. The Big East isn’t the powerhouse conference we once knew it was, but the prestige of the conference doesn’t matter, it’s winning the conference title that counts to lock your position in the dance.


The Wolverines play NBA basketball, which hasn’t equated to as many wins as they could or should have. Their defense is lackluster at best and their front court is sketchy, but this team can shoot the lights out from long range. They easily have 4 players that spell danger from beyond the 3-point line and can easily burst plenty of brackets if they’re able to get to the dance. They have quality wins to include victories over Texas, NC State, Purdue and Maryland but the strength of schedule is a major weakness. A win against Iowa on Sunday will be a nice boost heading into the Big Ten Tournament, which begins on Wednesday. A trip to the championship game in the conference tournament may be enough to punch their ticket to the dance.