The Best March Madness Upsets And Bracket Busters From MaximBet
Upsets are bound to happen in the NCAA Basketball Tournament, and MaximBet has the best picks.
Bracketology is a myth, OK? Makes no difference that mainstream media outlets pay people to be “experts” in this field. If they were that good, they would be living off their bracket winnings, wouldn’t they?
So with that out of the way, let’s move on to the business of picking upsets, because without upsets it really wouldn’t be March Madness. And March Blandness is not quite as catchy, eh? Just remember that before you pencil in Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren for your tournament MVP at MaximBet, which has odds on everything.
In order to pick upsets, you need to know something about the history of the word “upset.” That was the name of a horse who defeated Man o’ War in 1919, and legend has it that the term “Upset” gained popularity after that race, which was the only defeat in 21 Man o’ War’s 21-race career.
Regardless, an upset is what we all watch for in between Dick Vitale commercials during the NCAA Tourney, and there are upset candidates galore as we get ready to kick the tournament off Thursday after the Dayton play-in games have concluded.
Here are some teams you will want to be cheering for, along with the reasons why and comments from Ralph Russo of the Associated Press (unless otherwise noted).
Bryant is led by fifth-year senior Peter Kiss, who led the nation in scoring with an average of 25.1 points per game. Bryant began his college career at Quinnipiac in Connecticut, transferred to Rutgers and then landed at Bryant, where he scored 30 or more points 10 times but never reached 40 and was held to single digits just once, in a 56-point loss to Houston.
“Honestly, I think I have the most fun on the court out of anybody in the country,” Kiss told the New York Post. Bryant, a 3.5-point underdog, plays Wright State in the Dayton round before the winner gets the Arizona Wildcats and loses by 90-something.
Russo says: “Oof. That league is not built for upsets. They are probably not athletic enough to keep up with a major conference opponent, even though they have been dominant in their league.”
The Rams have one of the best player stories of any team in the tournament. David Roddy, a 270-pound guard (not many of those) was recruited by Iowa to play football on the defensive line after he excelled in track and field (in the discus) and football (he was a quarterback) as a high school student in Minnesota.
But he chose Colorado State and ended up being the Mountain West Player of the Year, an honor previously bestowed upon eventual NBA players Malachi Flynn, Sam Merrill, Caleb Martin and Jimmer Fredette. Roddy shot nearly 58 percent overall and knocked down his 3-pointers at a 45.5 percent clip, good enough for a tie for 94th among Division I hoopers.
His team comes in with a 25-5 record and an at-large berth despite losing to San Diego State in the finals of their conference tournament. Colorado State is only a 2-point favorite against Michigan and its hotheaded coach, Juwan Howard.
Russo says: “I love coach Medved. They played in a league where there are a lot of close games. So they are used to really close games, and they play with more tempo than other teams in their conference. I don’t even know that beating Michigan qualifies as an upset.”
Steph Curry’s old school sure can produce shooters. This year’s version is Hyunjung Lee, a South Korean who is only the second men’s player from his country to compete in Division I. He learned English at the NBA global Academy in Canberra, Australia, where he was discovered by coach Bob McKillop at a Basketball Without Borders event.
Lee averaged 16 points this season but was just 1-for-9 in the championship game of the Atlantic-10 championship against Richmond, after which he was pleased that the game was not played under Squid Game rules. Lee’s Davidson team is just a 1-point underdog against Tom Izzo’s Michigan State Spartans, which means the oddsmakers believe in these guys. Davidson would be even tougher if it had not lost Kellan Grady, who is lighting it up from 3-point range for Kentucky.
Russo says: “I watch a fair amount of A-10, and it sounds cliché because it is Curry’s old school, but they generally shoot the lights out and play fast because they have the same coach. If you can slow them down, they become vulnerable. But that is a team that is generally not pleasant to play if you have not played them before.”
The Spiders have one of the feel-good stories of the tournament in Grant Golden, a sixth-year senior who was granted an extra year of eligibility after he collapsed on the court as a freshman due to an irregular heartbeat. He was stabilized through an ablation procedure and helped the Spiders go 4-0 in the Atlantic-10 tournament to qualify for the tournament with a 23-12 record. Golden, who turned 24 in January, will need to rediscover his outside touch.
He was 13-for-27 through the first nine games of the season, then went 10-for-51 the rest of the way. Richmond is a 10.5-point underdog via MaximBet against Iowa. They have the nation’s leader in steals, Jacob Gilyard.
Russo says, “Their run in the tournament came late, and a lot of people were surprised that they even made the tournament with their coach having been on the hot seat for a couple of years. So it is a good redemption story, and they did to Davidson exactly what you need to do to Davison, made the game messy. But against Iowa, that is one of the best offensive teams in the country.”
The brainiacs among y’all will especially like the Zips, who have a player in Enrique Freeman who arrived on campus with an academic scholarship, tried out for the basketball team on a lark and became the Mid-American Conference Defensive Player of the Year. Is he NBA material? Well, he was sixth in the nation in rebounding with 10.6 per game, but he didn’t make Jonathan Givony’s latest Mock Draft, which means he will be able to put that academic scholarship (he majored in communications) to work. The Zips are 13.5-point dogs against UCLA this week.
Russo says, “They were fortunate to win the MAC. Everyone thought Toledo and Kent State were the best teams, and those teams got upset. And in the championship game they benefitted from Kent State having some players suspended.”
Keep an eye on guard Jordan Walker, who scored 26, 40 and 27 points in three Conference USA tournament games. UAB is 27-7 with a seven-game winning streak heading into their matchup with a tough defensive opponent in Houston, and Walker will need to surpass his season-high of 42 before he makes a name for himself overseas as a professional (at 5-foot-11, the NBA will not even give him a sniff).
The Blazers are 8.5-point underdogs against the Cougars, and we are not ever going to put down a cougar, OK? The bet on this one is under 135 because of Houston’s defense, which held opponents to 59.2 points per game. Of the 358 Division I teams, only North Texas, San Diego State and Fresno State were stingier.
Russo says: “They beat Middle Tennessee in triple overtime in the conference tournament semifinals and had something left for the title game, so at least we have that.”
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