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3 Upsets to Pick in the Opening Round of the 2018 NCAA Tournament

La Crosse, WI, United States / Classic Rock 100.1
3 Upsets to Pick in the Opening Round of the 2018 NCAA Tournament

PHOTO SOURCE: USA TODAY

USA TODAY  Here are three potential upsets to keep in mind when filling out your bracket…

No 11. Loyola Chicago over No. 6 Miami

If you were going to build a March Madness Cinderella team in a lab, it would look a lot like Loyola Chicago. The Ramblers can shoot the ball from 3, score inside the arc and are comfortable playing a half-court game. They’re going to shorten this game against Miami, which also plays at a slower tempo, and turn it into a game of who can execute better and make shots. Loyola is one of the better shooting teams in the field. If it shoots at its normal clip, the game will be close; if the Ramblers get hot, look out. Another thing to consider: Miami is one of the least experienced teams in the tournament.

 

No. 12 New Mexico State over No. 5 Clemson

If you look back at upsets from the last few tournaments, you’ll find one common theme: The bracket busting teams are typically better at rebounding than their higher-seeded opponents. That will be the case when New Mexico State takes on Clemson. The Aggies grab offensive boards at a high rate and clean up the glass on the other end. They’re going to win the rebounding battle and put up more shots than Clemson, which should negate the Tigers’ shooting advantage. If New Mexico State can make some 3’s and Clemson has a poor shooting night from the arc, the lower seed could win this one by double digits.

 

No. 12 Davidson over No. 5 Kentucky

Sticking with the rebounding theme, Kentucky has feasted on the boards throughout the season, finishing sixth in offensive rebound rate, per KenPom. The Wildcats are just an average shooting team, so if they’re not getting offensive rebounds, they can struggle on the offensive end. Well, Davidson just happens to be one of the best defensive rebounding teams in the field, and should be able to keep John Calipari’s team off the glass. The A-10 champs can also fill it up from anywhere on the court. If they can keep Kentucky off the boards, this will be a close game.

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