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.
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.
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.
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.
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.