March Madness 2017 First Round Underdogs Predictions

Posted by Peter Boysen on March 14, 2017 in

The stories that people remember about the NCAA men’s tournament have to do with the lower-seeded teams that make noise — the “Cinderella” stories. Last year it was 10-seed Syracuse rolling to the Final Four. In the past, teams like George Mason, Florida Gulf Coast University, and VCU have captured the imagination of the nation, and in 2014 Connecticut rode that magical chariot all the way to a national title. Which upsets should you pick in the first round? Take a look at some of March Madness betting suggestions.

March Madness 2017 First Round Underdogs Predictions

Kansas State will make the round of 32…and might keep going after that

Here’s a question. Why does Xavier have a spot in the round of 64, while Kansas State has to make it through a play-in game in Dayton? Kansas State knocked Baylor in the Big 12 title game and took Kansas to the brink not once but twice this season in conference play. So I like the Wildcats to get past Wake Forest in that title game — Wake might have a high-powered offense, but Kansas State has plenty of film to watch other ACC teams exploiting the Demon Deacons’ porous defense and getting stops when they need them — and then to get past Cincinnati, which has no quality wins over tough opponents since January.

What about UNC Wilmington?

They did push Duke hard last year in the first round before going down, and they return three seniors to the tournament this year, as well as sophomore guard C.J. Bryce who leads the team with 17.6 points per game. They face the Virginia Cavaliers in the first round — a team that brings an ironclad defense every night out. But we also saw Virginia take some bad losses late in the ACC slate because they simply could not get baskets when they needed them. If you think that’s a little dicey, though, think about this one…

Marquette will beat South Carolina

The Gamecocks started out non-conference play and the first few weeks of SEC play with some real promise. However, they just fell apart down the stretch, as teams learned that they simply could not produce offense on the interior. They can’t rely on their guards to score, because they don’t have the speed to penetrate regularly, and they don’t have the shooting skill to stretch opposing defenses. Marquette, on the other hand, has a solid center in Luke Fischer, and they led the Big East in three-point shooting percentage during the regular season. It’s not hard to see the Golden Eagles sending South Carolina home after one game.

Middle Tennessee will knock out Minnesota

The only reason Minnesota is a five-seed is because they are in the Big Ten. If they were in the MAC, they’d be complaining about their NIT snub. When guard Akeem Springs went down in the Big Ten tournament (Achilles), their odds in the Big Dance took a big tumble. Middle Tennessee State beat Michigan State last year as a 15-seed, and they have all their key players from last year — and they added Arkansas transfer JaCorey Williams.