March Madness 2014 has finally arrived and with great action already under way in the “first four” round, Thursday is when brackets around the country get destroyed. The Inquisitr is here to help with all of your March Madness needs, already making some bold upset predictions for the 2014 NCAA tournament. Here are the most important things to watch for in the 16 Thursday games.
#6 Ohio State Buckeyes vs. #11 Dayton Flyers (12:15pm EST, CBS South Region)
The first game to get March Madness 2014 underway is a popular upset pick. The Dayton Flyers have been itching to get a shot at the Ohio State Buckeyes. For some reason the Buckeyes have been avoiding the matchup, but the tournament committee pitted the two against each other. Ohio State’s defense is probably too good, so this is one upset to stay away from. Ohio State wins.
#2 Wisconsin Badgers vs. #15 American Eagles (12:40pm EST, truTV West Region)
American University is a feel good story coming out of the Patriot league. Number 15 seeds can occasionally pull the upset and provide serious March Madness. Don’t expect that in this one. Bo Ryan and the Wisconsin Badgers are much better offensively than previous Wisconsin teams and should handle the Eagles. Watch out down the road though as Wisconsin is a notorious bracket buster. Wisconsin wins.
#8 Colorado Buffaloes vs. #9 Pittsburgh Panthers (1:40pm EST, TBS South Region)
One of the better match ups of the day, the Buffaloes and Panthers will both be in for a fight. This one will likely come down to the final minutes, but defense will ultimately be the deciding factor. A much more tested and experienced Pittsburgh team should come out on top when it is all over. Pittsburgh wins.
#5 Cincinnati Bearcats vs. #12 Harvard Crimson (2:10pm EST, TNT East Region)
Tommy Amaker and the Harvard Crimson are out to prove that they are no fluke. Last season they beat New Mexico as a 14 seed and this year they look to do the same against Cincinnati. The Bearcats are looking to prove something as well. Their conference, the American Athletic Conference, has been overlooked during March Madness 2014. They want to show they belong. Unfortunately, they are running up against a dangerous Harvard team. Harvard gets the upset and wins.
#3 Syracuse Orange vs. #14 Western Michigan Broncos (2:45pm EST, CBS South Region)
Syracuse faltered late in the season and lost a chance at a number one seeding. Western Michigan is coming off of a MAC tournament championship win against Toledo and is hoping to play Cinderella in the 2014 version of March Madness. Won’t happen. Syracuse and their zone win easily.
#7 Oregon Ducks vs. #10 BYU Cougars (3:10pm EST, truTV West Region)
BYU hobbles into the tournament after suffering some injuries. A loss to Gonzaga in the West Coast Conference had many leaving them out all together. Meanwhile, Oregon has been on a tear of late. Oregon is expected to make noise in this year’s NCAA tournament. Oregon wins over BYU.
#1 Florida Gators vs. #16 Albany Great Danes (4:10pm EST, TBS South Region)
The Albany Great Danes were the first team to pick up the win in the 2014 NCAA tournament. Unfortunately, their winning streak is over. The Florida Gators are heavy favorites to win it all this year and that starts by not becoming the first number one team to succumb to March Madness. Gators win.
#4 Michigan St. Spartans vs. #13 Delaware Fightin Blue Hens (4:40pm EST, TNT East Region)
Michigan St. is President Obama’s pick to win it all, but first they have to get past the Fightin Blue Hens. While Delaware will put up a good fight, Coach Izzo’s team will be too much. Expect the Spartans to make a deep run in this year’s tournament. Michigan St. wins.
#7 Connecticut Huskies vs. #10 Saint Joseph’s Hawks (6:55pm EST, TBS East Region)
UConn was largely overshadowed by Louisville all season, but coach Kevin Ollie is trying to bring the Huskies back to prominence. A win over Saint Joseph’s would be a good start. It won’t be easy as the Hawks are coming out of a surprisingly dangerous Atlantic 10 conference. It will be a close one, but watch out for the Hawks. Saint Joe’s upsets the Huskies.
#2 Michigan Wolverines vs. #15 Wofford Terriers (7:10pm EST, CBS Midwest Region)
Michigan was an early season favorite to do well. After an up and down year in 2014, the Wolverines managed to emerge out of the Big 10 as the regular season champions. The Terriers will not get in their way of trying to return to the NCAA tournament finals. No March Madness here as Michigan wins big.
#5 Saint Louis Billikens vs. #12 NC State Wolfpack (7:20 EST, TNT Midwest Region)
NC State pulled off the win Tuesday night against Xavier, proving that they belonged off the bubble and in the March Madness mix. Saint Louis is the cream of the Atlantic 10 crop and will be looking they deserve to hang with the big boys. TJ Warren might prove that he is too much to guard for the stingy Billikens defense. Wolfpack in an upset.
#5 Oklahoma Sooners vs. #12 North Dakota State Bison (7:27pm EST, truTV West Region)
Oklahoma managed to fly under the radar in the packed Big 12 conference. North Dakota State is happy to be in the big dance. This one has the sleeper upset pick feel to it and that’s often when you should go the other way. Don’t catch March Madness here. Oklahoma wins in a close one.
#2 Villanova Wildcats vs. #15 Milwaukee Panthers (9:25pm EST, TBS East Region)
Villanova suffered a surprising loss in the Big East tournament to Seton Hall. Don’t expect a repeat let down against the Milwaukee Panthers. Coach Jay Wright will have his team prepared for their first round game. The question will be, how far can they make it? Villanova easily.
#7 Texas Longhorns vs. #10 Arizona State Sun Devils (9:40pm EST, CBS Midwest Region)
The 7 vs. 10 game is often a popular upset pick and the Sun Devils have the fire power to do it. Herb Sendek knows how to coach in the tournament and is familiar with March Madness. Texas is probably overrated and is running into a matchup nightmare. Expect Arizona State to pull out the win.
#4 Louisville Cardinals vs. #13 Manhattan Jaspers (9:50pm EST, TNT Midwest Region)
The Louisville Cardinals were left feeling under appreciated with a number four seeding. Many thought they deserved a number one, but March Madness can make some crazy things happen. The Cardinals will win this one and should go very deep into the tournament.
#4 San Diego State Aztecs vs. #13 New Mexico State Aggies (9:57pm EST, truTV West Region)
The battle of the states! San Diego St. has been impressive all season in the Mountain West conference, finishing with a 29-4 record. New Mexico State won the WAC tournament to get involved in March Madness 2014 and can really make some noise. An upset here is not too crazy. Aggies beat the Aztecs to finish out Thursday’s action.
[Image Via pregame.com]