It’s time for March Madness, and that means that it’s time to get that NCAA tournament bracket together. There are always bracket busters during March Madness, which provide endless opportunities for gloating if you pick them correctly.
Here are five NCAA tournament bracket busters that we’ll be picking.
South Region: No. 12 VCU over No. 5 Wichita State
VCU is a pest—the Rams force nearly 18 turnovers and 11 steals per game. One minute, the ball is there. The next minute, it’s gone and in VCU’s hoop. Wichita State certainly won’t overlook VCU after the Rams’ improbable Final Four run last year, but the Rams hold the experience advantage over the Shockers. No one on Wichita State’s team played for the Shockers in 2006, when the team from Kansas was last in the NCAA tournament. If anyone is going to get rattled by a pesky defense, it’ll be the new guys in the house.
West Region: No. 12 Long Beach State over No. 5 New Mexico
Long Beach State is mature, fielding four seniors and a junior in its starting lineup, and that maturity has yielded road victories against Pitt and Xavier and respectable road losses to North Carolina, Kansas, and Louisville this season. The 49ers certainly won’t be intimidated by the Lobos, and if New Mexico can’t keep a handle on Casper Ware, and if Big West defensive player of the year Larry Anderson can recover from his sprained MCL in time to play for the Niners, it could be all over for the five-seed.
South Region: No. 11 Colorado over No. 6 UNLV
The Runnin’ Rebels appear to be runnin’ out of gas, losing five of their final 10 games of the season and winning none of their last four games outside of their home court. The Pac-12 has been the laughingstock of the “big six” conferences this season, so Colorado will be highly motivated to justify their inclusion in the Big Dance. Their ugly 23-11 record, along with the momentum of winning the Pac-12 tournament, may be just the right combination to catch UNLV off-guard.
Midwest Region: No. 14 Belmont over No. 3 Georgetown
After getting off to a 13-1 start to the season, Georgetown went 10-7 down the stretch. Belmont, on the other hand, opened its season with a one-point loss against Duke and hasn’t seen the wrong side of the scoreboard since January. Belmont is lethal from the perimeter, averaging nearly nine treys per game, and has three starting seniors and two starting juniors who were on last year’s NCAA tournament team. A hot streak, long-range firepower, and experience give the Bruins the perfect opportunity to get past the woozy Hoyas in the first round.
West Region: No. 13 Davidson over No. 4 Louisville
Not forgotten is Davidson’s six-point victory at Kansas earlier this season. If they can pull that off, it’s hard to imagine the Wildcats being intimidated by Louisville. Davidson has some long-range marksmen, averaging 7.8 three-pointers per game, and a shrewd head coach in Bob McKillop. Louisville lost four of its last six games in the regular season before notching four straight victories in the Big East tournament, leaving the door slightly open for Davidson to sneak through.
They don’t call it March Madness for nothing, after all.