NCAA Tournament Bracket Busters: Which 12 Seeds Will Upset a 5?
It seems like every year there is at least one 12 seed that upsets a 5 seed in the NCAA Basketball Tournament. Who should you pick in your bracket? West Virginia plays the winner of Clemson Vs UAB. Kansas State faces Utah State, and Arizona plays a former NCAA contender in Memphis. Richmond was given a 12, and faces a 5th seeded Vanderbilt team. With arguably the weakest bubble in NCAA history, and a new 68 team format, which teams stand a chance at taking out a 5 this year? I’ve got two 12 seeds advancing to the round of 32. Let’s break down all four 5 vs 12 matchups in the 64-team round of March Madness.
5. West Virginia Vs 12. Clemson/UAB
The new format distorts the 5 vs 12 matchup in the East a bit. There is a play in game to see who the 12 seed will be, instead of sixteen seeds battling it out to lose to 1s. Clemson and UAB are two teams that barely squeaked into the tournament. Clemson hasn’t beaten a top 50 RPI team the entire season. UAB slipped in on a controversial strength of schedule advantage, and their only notable victory comes against VCU (who also could have easily missed the tournament). Whoever wins this game will have a game under their belt when they take on West Virginia.
Winning the qualifier is a bit of an advantage. They’ll have a day off before playing in the round of 64, and a win under their belts. There will be no fatigue, and they’ll gain a bit of confidence and momentum.
Still, West Virginia should be able to pull this game out. It wouldn’t shock me if they fell to the victor of the round of 68, but the Mountaineers have a good team. Some of these players ended John Wall’s career last year in a run to the Final Four. They’ll rise up for this season’s tournament after getting a taste of the tourney as a two seed last year. There is only one freshman on the roster.
Pick West Virginia.
5. Vanderbilt Vs 12. Richmond
Which teams will show up? Is this the Richmond squad that blew out Purdue, or the team that lost to Xavier by 23 points? Is Vanderbilt the squad that upset UNC or the one that was swept in all three games with Florida? This could easily be an upset.
Richmond was 27-7 out of the A 10 conference, and 1-2 against the top 25. Vandy was 9-7 in the SEC. Both teams are unranked.
I have Richmond advancing in my bracket. Whoever advances in this game will likely lose to a strong Big East team in Louisville, and it’s worth the risk. I’ll shoot for my 12 points for seed-times-round with Richmond. 5 points from Vandy, knowing Louisville will win in round 2, just doesn’t seem worth it.
5. Arizona Vs 12. Memphis
Arizona had a great year. They were 27-7, and 14-4 in the Pac-10. They’re 16 in the AP Rankings, and Derrick Williams is enough to beat Memphis by himself. They fell to Jimmer Fredette and the magic of BYU by a large margin, but Memphis doesn’t have the scorer that BYU does.
Memphis was 10-6 in Conference USA. They didn’t have a win against ranked opponents all season, and won’t get their first against Arizona. Arizona is young and undisciplined, but Memphis is even younger.
5. Kansas State Vs 12 Utah State
Utah State plays in a miserable WAC conference, but they dominated it. They went 30-3 this year and had just one loss in conference play. They hold opponents to 58 points per game, and have a team stacked with seniors. This is a 5 Vs 12 matchup, but according to AP Rankings, it’s a 19 Vs 23 matchup. Don’t sleep on Utah State. As a 23 seed, they could have found themselves with a much better seed.
Kansas State was 22-10 in the Big 12. They’re ranked 19 and were shaky all season. They beat Texas and Kansas, but lost to UNLV and Florida. They were also swept by a Colorado team that didn’t even make the bracket.
Pick Utah State.
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