March Madness is here, and not a moment too soon. Our writers threw down their picks here. And here are some upsets I like:
No. 12 Utah State vs. No. 5 Texas A&M
Utah State is tied for second in nation in three-point shooting (41.9 percent) and leads the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio (seventh in APG, fifth in TO). Texas A&M doesn't shoot that well and averages more turnovers per game than assists. Plus, point guard Dash Harris has a wrist injury.
No. 11 Old Dominion vs. No. 6 Notre Dame
Old Dominion plays great defense and rebounds well (third in the nation in rebounding margin). It's offense is nothing special, but Notre Dame stinks defensively. Luke Harangody still isn't 100 percent healthy. The Monarchs need a lucky bounce here and there, but they can pull off the upset.
No. 10 St. Mary's vs. No. 7 Richmond
Richmond has a solid backcourt that can score, but it is really weak in the paint. The Spiders rank 306th in the nation in rebounding margin, getting outrebounded by more than five boards a game. That's not when you're playing Omar Samhan, one of the best big men in the country. Samhan is a 6-11 beast, but the Gaels have another 6-11 tree down low in power forward Ben Allen. Plus, St. Mary's can shoot lights out too, fourth in nation in three-point shooting at 41.2 percent.
No. 13 Siena vs. No. 4 Purdue
Seems everyone is picking Siena. That makes me think twice about Purdue. But here's the deal: since Robbie Hummel went down five games agao, Boilermakers scored more than 70 points once. Against tourney teams Michigan State and Minnesota, they scored 44 and 42 points, respectively. Siena has won 46 consecutive games when its opponents have been held to 70 or fewer points.
No. 13 Murray State vs. No. 4 Vanderbilt
This is just playing a hunch. First, the two campuses are about 90 miles apart, which means Murray State sees itself as the little brother with a chip on its shoulder and will be extra motivated to stick it to the bully down the street. Second, the mother of one of Murray State's players was killed in a car crash Monday. The kid involved rides the pine, so the Racers don't have to worry about his head being in the game, and the rest of the team is likely playing with a lot of emotion and probably wants to win one for their buddy.
No. 11 San Diego State vs. No. 6 Tennessee
San Diego State is dominant in the paint, Tennessee blows in the frontcourt. SDSU can't shoot from the outside, but it shouldn't come to that. Plus, with all the turmoil the Vols have gone through this year, if they get behind, I can see them just packing it in.
And here are some upsets I do NOT like:
No. 12 Cornell vs. No. 5 Temple
Cornell is a trendy pick, but if it can't hit the three, it won't win. Yes, the Big Red lead the nation in three-point percentage (43.4), but Temple allows opponents just 28.1 percent from downtown, third-best in the nation. I'd rather bet on Temple's defense.
No. 12 UTEP vs. No. 5 Butler
Another trendy pick in a battle of two strong frontcourts. Problem is, UTEP can't shoot. I'll take the Bulldogs, who are still smarting after their first-round loss in last year's tourney.