Ring those freakin’ bells. The hour has finally come. Brackets are out, everyone has become college basketball experts, and there’s MADNESS in the air. This year is honestly looking extra wild. There isn’t that one definitive team that is going to win this. The favorites have all been beaten and it’s tough to figure out who is going to come out on top. That’s what makes March FANTASTIC BABAY.
Quentin and I took the liberty of going through the bracket with a fine tooth comb. Below we are going to run through our first round picks that should guide you to a solid first round and keep you in it for the MONEY that’s waiting at the end of this rainbow. Going to release our first round LOCKS and then keep our overall record for the tournament.
Starting things up with…
By far the easiest road to Glendale. Duke should take full advantage of this as much as I hate saying it. No wonder they are the favorite to win this thing. Enough with the talk, let’s get er’ going.
#1 Nova vs. #16 Mt Saint Mary’s
1 vs. 16 seed. 1 seeds are undefeated in tournament history and NOVA is the reigning champs. Makes this pick easier than beating the New Jersey Devils. Nova wins.
#8 Wisconsin vs. # 9 Virginia Tech
8 vs. 9. Always a toss up. Wisco played an extremely hot Michigan team and got beat pretty bad in the Big Ten final. They did make the Big Ten final which is a feat in itself. I love the Hokies though. VT has been playing a REALLY strong ACC field and this will be a great game. Virginia Tech wins.
#5 Virginia vs. #12 UNC Wilmington
5 vs. 12. The most common channel for the cinderella stories and they won’t stop here. Virginia, who has been ranked number 1 for a good amount of time this season, has lost it’s steam. UNC Wilmington on the other hand is absolutely on fire and can shoot the shit out of the ball. UNC-W wins.
#4 Florida vs. #13 East Tennessee State
4 vs. 13. Usually self-explanatory. ETSU is a 27 win team with no competition. Florida, on the contrary, has been clawing their way through a tough SEC and out-of-conference schedule. Florida wins.
#6 SMU vs. #11 USC
6 vs. 11 is a little more difficult for common folk. SMU has not lost in a WHILE… TWO MONTHS to be exact. USC is booty so that means a beat down. SMU wins.
#3 Baylor vs. #14 New Mexico State University
Bears roll. New Mexico State has been talked about highly in the upset room but the big boys from Baylor should handle all the talk easily. Baylor wins.
#7 South Carolina vs. #10 Marquette
This will be one of the most tightly contested battles in the first round. I like the competition Marquette has had in the regular season and I honestly don’t think South Carolina is strong enough to be a 7 seed. Upset alert. Marquette wins.
#2 Duke vs. #15 Troy
Troy?! What are we, in ancient Greece? Look for the Blue Devils to climb into a horse before the game, mobilize onto the court, and ABSOLUTELY demolish Troy’s dreams. Duke wins.
#1 Kansas vs. #16 University of California – Davis
The Jayhawks are looking to make some noise in this years tourney. Look for an overwhelming beatdown on the kids from Cali. Kansas wins.
#8 Miami vs. #9 Michigan State
Sparty on BABAY!!!!! Miles Bridges is the real deal. Top 10 draft pick. Calling it now. I don’t think he will be able to carry Tom Izzo and company onto the next round by himself though. His supporting cast is weak and Miami will take advantage. Miami wins.
#5 Iowa State vs. #12 Nevada
Another one of these tricky 5-12 guys. Iowa State is a very strong team. I think they have a legitimate chance of running the table and going deeper than everyone expects. People have put Nevada on my upset watch but it’s not happening. Iowa State wins.
#4 Purdue vs. #13 Vermont
Boil the freaking TOURNEY baby! Love Purdue. Well coached, well balanced, well oiled. They will get it done in the first round. Purdue wins.
#6 Creighton vs. #11 URI
To win brackets you need to be different in some way. This is a favorite upset I have in mind. URI has been playing some stellar basketball. People may not have noticed them because they are a smaller school but they can SHOOT. Creighton is good so it should be a fight but UPSET ALERT. URI wins.
#3 Oregon vs. #14 Iona
QUACK QUACK QUACK QUACK QUACK QUACK QUACK. Dillon Brooks revenge tour. Lock it in. Oregon wins.
#7 Michigan vs. #10 OK State
Michigan is ready to march. The Wolverines just put on a show in the Conference Championship beating out Wisco by a landslide. I’m thinking they are going deep here. Michigan wins.
#2 Louisville vs. #15 Jacksonville State
No brainer. Pitino gets going early. He wants a chip and so does that lanky Egyptian dude they have. Louisville wins.
#1 Gonzaga vs #16 South Dakota State
Gonzaga is arguably the worst number one seed but they’ll get it done without looking like a bunch of imbeciles. ZAGS Win.
#8 Northwestern vs #9 Vanderbilt
Northwestern coming out of the Big Ten with its first appearance in the big dance out of an always tough conference. However, they’re playing a tough team in Vandy that loves jacking up threes. They led the SEC in three points attempted, made and percentage with 38 percent. This is gonna be a coin toss but I’m gonna go with Northwestern in a matchup full of lead changes. Northwestern wins.
#5 Notre Dame vs #12 Princeton
There has been a ton of noise about this matchup, a lot of people are gassing up the Tigers from Princeton because they haven’t lost in months but who the hell did they play that actually had a pulse? Yale? Harvard? Sick one! They have one win against the rest of the field and that against Bucknell. Notre Dame will out play them the whole way. IRISH win.
#4 West Virginia vs #13 Bucknell
West Virginia is a very tough defensive team from the Big 12 but they could have their hands full with some very elite shooters by the names of Nana Foulland and Zach Thomas, but I think the Mountaineer defense will be too much for the Bucknell offense. WVU wins.
#6 Maryland vs #11 Xavier
Maryland is definitely on upset alert in this matchup. This is a winnable matchup for Xavier who is a very good team all around. It’s gonna be Melo Trimble v 5 and I don’t think he can get it done by himself he’s just not that good. XAVIER wins.
#3 Florida State vs #14 Florida Gulf Coast
“The Battle for the Sunshine State.” FGCU isn’t a stranger to making noise in the big dance and Florida State hasn’t been playing their best basketball by any means. I see a sloppy game coming from FSU but the ‘Noles will find a way to come out unscathed. NOLES win.
#7 St.Mary’s vs #10 VCU
This matchup is gross. Two low-talent teams going at it. VCU hasn’t been a threat since Shaka Smart left for Texas. I’m gonna take Mary’s in a matchup of losers. St Mary’s wins.
#2 Arizona vs #15 North Dakota
No Contest. Arizona is gonna bop Dakota. ZONA wins.
#1 North Carolina vs #16 Texas Southern
North Carolina is gonna look to come out hot in this matchup to start the momentum towards another title game appearance and they will in a much needed tune-up game in the first round against these scrubs. UNC wins.
#8 Arkansas vs #9 Seton Hall
This game is going to be crazy. Seton Hall showed how tough they are against Villanova and which player is gonna cause havoc in this tournament – Alex Delgado. Delgado is arguably the best rebounder in the nation averaging 13 boards per game. He frustrated our nation’s best team. Arkansas is going to have their hands full, and Delgado & the boys are going to move on. Seton Hall wins.
#5 Minnesota vs #12 Middle Tennessee
Minnesota is going to be on upset alert. Middle Tennessee did it last year in the first round and I think they’re good for making more noise at the big dance. They’ve improved since last year’s showing so don’t be surprised when Minnesota goes home early this year. Middle Tennessee wins.
#4 Butler vs #13 Winthrop
Butler is a force to be reckoned with this March and rightfully so, they beat Nova not once but twice. They mean business this tournament. Don’t be surprised if this game starts a lengthy run in this tournament for the Bulldogs. These kids are gonna keep their foot on the gas pedal the whole way. Butler wins.
#6 Cincinnati vs #11 Kansas State
Cincy and K-State are two pretty mediocre teams in this region but someone has to move on. Kansas State is gonna stay in the game with their defense and I say they jack up a last second shot for the win in a game of nonsense. Kansas State wins.
#3 UCLA vs #14 Kent State
Lonzo Ball is definitely going to ball in this matchup. As annoying as his father is, Lonzo makes up for the talking. The Bruins are going to violate Kent State and LaVar Ball is going to make another ridiculous statement. UCLA wins.
#7 Dayton vs #10 Wichita State
Go Shockers, they’re back at it! This year they’ll be without Ron Baker and Frank Van Vleet, but they will be just as confident. Dayton is a team that’s usually good for one or two wins at the big dance, but I think this year they meet their match. Wichita wins.
#2 Kentucky vs Northern Kentucky
Kentucky is gonna look to set the tone in this first matchup that they’re a serious contender and get that momentum going towards a rematch with UCLA. This game is going to be a walk in the park for the Wildcats. Kentucky wins.
So there it is, every winner from Round 1. Locks only. We’ll keep track of our record, and if you’re interested and think you can beat us, join the Water Cooler Sports bracket challenge on ESPN. Prizes TBD, but sure to be LIT!!!!!!!!
**NOTE FROM TAYLOR**
I believe in my staff. I believe in my writers and I believe where this site is going. As this is “Parlay Season” – I have put $1 down on 15 of these bets… Why? BECAUSE THE PAYOUT IS $20,275.52!!! I promise if this pays out every writer on this staff will be walking around in “Water Cooler Sports” fucking Patagonia’s – maybe I’ll even buy them EACH a 1989 Ford Bronco company car!! Let’s pray Oh Diggity and Q hit, the success of this company is riding on it (sort of).