Every seed except the one has fallen at least once in the NCAA tournament, and while hindsight makes some of those more obvious than others, (Santa Clara has a player named Steve Nush, or Nosh or something, maybe he can help them beat a 2 seed), it’s usually a crapshoot. The best bracket strategy when it comes to picking a high seed to pull off the upset – don’t. It’s high risk, low reward, but if you feel the need to do it, here are the best picks for each seed line.
16 – The right answer of course is nobody, as no 16 seed has ever won and that’s not changing this year, but if you have to pick one, go with LIU Brooklyn. They are one of the faster-paced teams in the tournament, and their style is something Michigan State really hasn’t seen much of in the Big Ten. Percentage of happening: .00000000000000000000000000000000001
15 – Kansas has been a trendy Final Four pick due to their relatively easy run to the elite eight, but they could get a game from Detroit. It wouldn’t be the first time for Bill Self, who lost to Bucknell in 2005 and Bradley in 2006. Detroit has a legit point guard in Ray McCallum Jr., and real size in LaMarcus Lowe and Indiana-transfer Eli Holman. Percentage of happening: 10
14 – Belmont is in the tournament for 5th time in eight years, and took Duke to the wire in 2008. Unfortunately for them, they drew a team who matches up really well against their strengths in Georgetown. If the Bruins were a 14 against one of the other 3 seeds, they’d be an intriguing pick, but as it stands, they’re just the best 14 out of four bad choices. Percentage of happening: 5
13 – Ohio is the opposite of Belmont, an above average team who have a great matchup for their strengths, namely defending the three. Michigan lives and dies outside, and that means potential problems for the Wolverines. Ohio took down 3 seed Georgetown 3 years ago, and seniors D.J. Cooper, Reggie Keely, and Ivo Baltic have a great shot at doing it again. Percentage of happening: 50
12 – Like, death, taxes, and half of Kentucky’s roster going pro, you can always count on a 12-5 upset in your bracket. This year, however, no one 12 seed jumps out as a can’t miss pick. Long Beach State would have been my pick but they face an underrated buzzsaw in New Mexico. For a better shot, look at California, whose reputation has suffered due to the company they keep – a terrible Pac-12. They’re better than that reputation, and might pull out a squeaker against a tough Temple team. Percentage of happening: 20
11 – N.C State is a popular pick, but I like to shy away from teams who had to empty the tank just to make the field, and the Wolfpack did just that. Texas was seen as down this year, and they are, but part of that was a stretch where they lost 5 out of 6 to Missouri (twice), Kansas, Kansas State, and Baylor. Four of those losses were by five or less, and three of them were on the road. After that, they won seven out of eleven. Cincinnati is hot too, obviously, but I like the Longhorns. Percentage of happening: 40
10 – Two teams facing West Coast Conference teams have a shot here – Purdue against St, Mary’s and West Virginia against Gonzaga. I won’t be surprised if the Boilers’ Robbie Hummel – finally healthy in the tourney after a career of hard luck – wills Purdue to a win. I also won’t be shocked if the Zags find they have no answer for Kevin Jones and a West Virginia team that is quintessentially Bob Huggins black-and-blue. Percentage of happening (either one): 30
9 – These are barely upsets at his point, but for the sake of closure I’ll take St. Louis over Memphis. I just don’t buy the Memphis hype – they play unfocused, out of control basketball. Look for a pair with Wisconsin ties (Former Marquette coach Rick Majerus and former Whitefish Bay Dominican standout Kwamain Mitchell) to pull off the upset. Percentage of happening: 50
*Bracket disclaimer 1 – Before using my advice to fill out your bracket, remember the words of Obi-Wan Kenobi: “Who’s more foolish, the fool or the fool who follows him?”
*Bracket disclaimer 2 – Seriously, I just quoted Obi Wan Kenobi. Think twice before you expect my advice to help you win money.
Matt Regashus is the producer for The Bill Michaels Show. You can follow him on twitter @mregashus. Questions or comments? E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org