March Madness is finally here. If you need last-minute help with your picks, check out our region previews. Also, if you're playing in a fantasy league for the tournament, here's a quick cheatsheet of tourney players.
And here are some upsets I like:
No. 12 Clemson vs. No. 5 West Virgina
This sort of feels like a sucker bet, but I'm going with it. The play-in game could benefit Clemson as the Tigers are tuned up and riding an adrenaline high, whereas West Virginia hasn't played in more than a week. West Virginia is a streaky shooting team, and Clemson led the ACC in scoring defense (60 ppg). Plus, Clemson can out-physical West Virginia.
No. 12 Richmond vs. No. 5 Vanderbilt
Both teams love to shoot the three, but Richmond plays great perimeter defense (12th in three-point defense), and Vandy's best shooter, John Jenkins, is still dealing with a turf toe injury. Richmond's 6-foot-10 power forward, Justin Harper, is an NBA prospect, so he shouldn't get pushed around by Vandy's 6-11 Festus Ezeli (gotta love that name). Richmond is a senior-laden team, led by senior point guard Kevin Anderson, who was the A10 player of the year last season.
No. 10 Florida State vs. No. 7 Texas A&M
Texas A&M is offensively challenged, its shooting is streaky and its guards aren't great. That plays into the hands of Florida State, which ranks second in defensive efficiency. Even though the Aggies top two scorers are in the frontcourt, the Seminoles should have a big-man advantage. Florida State's offense can go into hibernation, but NBA prospect Chris Singleton, who's been out with a foot injury, is expected to play.
No. 12 Utah State vs. No. 5 Kansas State
Utah State has five seniors and two juniors in its rotation, and the Aggies have a chip on their shoulder because they think they were seeded to low. They're a good shooting team – 47 percent from the field, 36.9 percent from three-point range and 73.6 percent from the line. They're very good defensively, holding opponents to 38.3 percent field-goal shooting. Kansas State is aggressive defensively, but offensively, after Jacob Pullen, then what?
And a couple upsets I don't like:
No. 11 Marquette vs. No. 6 Xavier
Marquette has lost a lot of close games to good opponents this year, and I wanted to pick them, but two factors swayed my decision. First, Xavier has a home-court advantage playing in Cleveland. Second, Xavier is at its best when its guards are penetrating. Unfortunately for the Golden Eagles, their guards aren't strong defensively.
No. 10 Penn State vs. No. 7 Temple
Penn State made a great run just to make the tournament and might already be satisfied. Temple is hungry after losing in the first round the last three years. And Temple's best three-point shooter, Scootie Randall, is expected to return from injury and play in the tournament. Plus, Penn State struggles to score.