Check and then re-check your 2016 NCAA March Madness bracket; you’ve only got a few hours left before you MUST stand by all your choices. Can you spot the bracket spoiler(s) before it’s too late? ESPN has promised “everything you need to know” details about the 68 teams, something that could prove useful while putting the finishing touches on that bracket.
Of all the “potential upset candidates” mentioned by ESPN, a few names stand out.
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) March 16, 2016
The Chattanooga Mocs have already upset Georgia, Illinois, and Dayton. The 29-5 upstarts reportedly don’t see themselves as “an underdog” team. That’s something that could be of significant risk to March Madness bracket opponent Indiana.
Despite being the No. 5 to Chattanooga’s No. 12, Indiana is viewed by Bing as having a 52 percent chance of getting upset in a big way. That would be devastating news to Yahoo’s Tourney Pick’em participants. A whopping 90 percent of those who’ve filled out March Madness brackets have the Mocs losing.
Will Chattanooga bust the brackets of a lot of people?
— Indiana Basketball (@IndianaMBB) March 17, 2016
Another potential bracket spoiler NCAA basketball fans have their eyes on is Hawaii, a team described as one “not to be slept on” as they are very “good.” The secret weapon thriving at the heart of the formidable Rainbow Warriors is Stefan Jankovic. The 6’11 center reportedly scores 2-pointers almost 70 percent of the time and is one-in-three for 3-pointers.
March Madness bracket makers should fear the standout players capable of making the kinds of plays that lead to massive upsets. If Jankovic kicks off this NCAA tournament in fine form, then we might see an early exit from the California Bears. The odds are in California’s favor, but as March Madness games of the past have taught us, slim odds usually mean very little.
If you are in the mood to gamble while setting up your bracket, this may be one match-up about which to think long and hard.
Ticket punched! Hawaii earns its 1st NCAA Tournament bid in 14 years. pic.twitter.com/OMcVbdfL1M
— ESPN College BBall (@ESPNCBB) March 13, 2016
NCAA fans may be on the lookout for a potential Texas vs. Texas A&M match-up, but there’s another Texas team that could sneak in under the March Madness radar: Texas Tech.
Considered “one of the surprise stories” of the 2016 season, this No. 8 team currently sits on your brackets opposite No. 9 Butler. While both teams are about even defensively, Butler’s higher scoring rate seemingly gives the Bulldogs a bit of an advantage.
What makes Texas Tech so dangerous to your NCAA March Madness brackets is their unpredictability. This is a team that beat serious contenders in Iowa State, Oklahoma, and Baylor (and they beat Baylor away). A loss to TCU left people scratching their head after such a fiery February winning streak.
It’s possible this Texas team has run out of steam, but it’s also just as possible they’re waiting to stun us all with a surprise victory few saw coming.
— CBS4 Indy (@CBS4Indy) March 17, 2016
There’s something about the Arkansas Little Rock Trojans that makes me uneasy. ESPN didn’t have too much to say about this team, only remarking that making it to this year’s NCAA basketball tournament is a sign that head coach Chris Beard’s dues are finally paying off.
The No. 12 Arkansas is 29-4 and has a superior defensive record to their No. 5 opponent, Purdue. Purdue is a solid contender, and logic dictates they should win. However, we’re talking bracket busters and spoilers.
This relatively low-key team, perhaps the most overlooked going into March Madness, raises one of the biggest red flags. Hopefully, it’s pure paranoia. If not, we could be talking about them for the rest of the week if they ultimately shatter many a previously perfect bracket.
— USA TODAY Sports (@USATODAYsports) March 17, 2016
One of the reasons it’s so hard to pick a perfect March Madness bracket is that it’s nearly impossible to foresee the outcome of the Round of 64. I’d go a step further and say it’s virtually impossible. The familiarity of certain names and knowledge of the skill set of top-tier teams suggests that some are bound to win easily over others.
If that were so, we wouldn’t have so many busted brackets in a matter of hours. The only chance of getting that perfect bracket is to predict this year’s upsets — and to be extremely lucky.
The teams listed represent the few I believe are most likely to pull off upsets, but perhaps you think an NCAA team not listed here will be ruining the bracket fun.
Share your predicted upsets and overall results for the NCAA March Madness tournament below. And remember: You only have a few short hours to finish filling out your bracket!
[Photo by Mark Von Holden/AP for Dove® Men+Care®]