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NCAA Tournament: Why All No. 1 Seeds Will Lose (And Other Upsets)

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With the NCAA mens basketball tournament 65-team bracket announced Sunday night, you’re probably like the millions who will waste precious office time to fill out brackets in a haste for the chance to win a handful of crumpled-up one-dollar bills.

As you hastily fill out your brackets, you’re always looking for an edge. Some unheralded high seed to beat a low seed. An “upset,” if you will.

Anyone can pick the No. 1 seeds to win, but if you want to definitely make a statement, pick all upsets! So that you’re not alone, I will pick each team as an upset. And I can justify each of these picks:

ATLANTA REGION

No. 16 Southern will beat No. 1 Duke because: Southern won the SWAC, and I like saying that one-syllable acronym. Say it yourself – don’t you feel happier? Also, some guy from North Carolina told me so.

No. 9 UNC-Wilmington will beat No. 8 George Washington because: UNCW won the Colonial League, and GW’s mascot is the Colonials. So they should beat anything colony-related.

No. 12 Texas A&M will beat No. 5 Syracuse because: Gerry McNamara is overrated.

No. 13 Iona will beat No. 4 LSU because: LSU’s mascot, the Tiger, couldn’t survive a temperate climate like the United Kingdom, home of Iona’s mascot – the Gaels.

No. 11 Southern Illinois will beat No. 6 West Virginia because: Southern Illinois wasn’t cocky enough to break off from Illinois and become their own state.

No. 14 Northwestern State will beat No. 3 Iowa because: NWSU lost to Iowa State by fewer points (4) than Iowa did (12).

No. 10 North Carolina State will beat No. 7 California because: The ghost of Jim Valvano is much more powerful than the arm of Kyle Boller. Plus the East Coast bias says so.

No. 15 Penn will beat No. 2 Texas because: You shouldn’t mess with Texas, but you should never fuck with a Quaker.

OAKLAND REGION

No. 16 Oral Roberts will beat No. 1 Memphis because: Memphis didn’t pray before the game, and God has some money riding on this.

No. 9 Bucknell will beat No. 8 Arkansas because: I just want to see Bucknell pop their jerseys again.

No. 12 Kent State will beat No. 5 Pittsburgh because: Steve Martin’s remake of The Pink Panther sullied the good name of anything related to panthers.

No. 13 Bradley will beat No. 4 Kansas because: Kansas’s center is named Sasha Kaun. If you watched the Winter Olympics, you’ll know that Sasha Kaun is vastly undersized.

No. 11 San Diego State will beat No. 6 Indiana because: The SDSU Aztecs have a more violent-sounding forward (Marcus Slaughter) than the IU Hoosiers do (Marco Killingsworth).

No. 14 Xavier will beat No. 3 Gonzaga because: I’m on a business trip in Cincinnati this week, and I don’t want to make them mad. Also the East Coast bias says so.

No. 10 Alabama will beat No. 7 Marquette because: Alabama didn’t change their nickname recently like a sissy.

No. 15 Belmont will beat No. 2 UCLA because: The UCLA Bruins will be confused that Belmont is also named the Bruins, and will think that they’re passing it to themselves when in reality they’re passing it to the wrong Bruin.

WASHINGTON D.C. REGION

No. 16 Albany will beat No. 1 Connecticut because: UConn lost to Syracuse and Gerry McNamara, who is overrated.

No. 9 Alabama-Birmingham will beat No. 8 Kentucky because: Kentucky never had to endure a bus boycott. Or at least an important one.

No. 12 Utah State will beat No. 5 Washington because: USU beat Oral Roberts twice, who will beat Memphis. At least that’s God’s logic, and do you want to disagree with God? Do you!?

No. 13 Air Force will beat No. 4 Illinois because: Illinois’ mascot is banned from the postseason, unlike Air Force’s mascot — Yelly, the yelling basic training drill instructor.

No. 11 George Mason will beat No. 6 Michigan State because: The Patriots are coached by Jim Larranaga, who used to coach at my alma mater (Bowling Green). And his son, who played for BGSU, went to my high school. (The more you know!)

No. 14 Murray State will beat No. 3 North Carolina because: Some guy from Duke told me so. Also because Gerry McNamara is overrated.

No. 10 Seton Hall will beat No. 7 Wichita State because: The Wichita State Shocker mascot is a bit too … um … should that even exist?

No. 15 Winthrop will beat No. 2 Tennessee because: The Volunteers will undoubtedly slip on coach Bruce Pearl’s sweat.

MINNEAPOLIS REGION

Either No. 16 Hampton or Monmouth will beat No. 1 Villanova because: I am a raging lunatic.

No. 9 Wisconsin will beat No. 8 Arizona because: Curling is a growing sport, so you can obviously see why Arizona won’t win this argument.

No. 12 Montana will beat No. 5 Nevada because: One word: Unabomber.

No. 13 Pacific will beat No. 4 Boston College because: Teams on the West Coast have had it with the East Coast bias.

No. 11 Wisconsin-Milwaukee will beat No. 6 Oklahoma because: UWM no longer has to deal with the sweat of their former coach, Bruce Pearl.

No. 14 South Alabama will beat No. 3 Florida because: Florida couldn’t beat Alabama, so what makes you think they can beat just part of Alabama?

No. 10 Northern Iowa will beat No. 7 Georgetown because: Georgetown’s mascot makes no sense. “Hoya” is derived from the Latin word “hoia,” meaning “what.” What? So while you may not have ever seen UNI’s mascot, the Barnstormer, at least you can picture what that would look like. A guy storming into a barn. That’s kinda cool. Plus Georgetown lost to Gerry McNamara and Syracuse, who is … well, you know. UPDATE: OK, so I confused UNI’s mascot with an arena football team from Iowa. See, Kurt Warner played for both. UNI’s mascot is the Panther, but that goes against my previous argument regarding panthers. Plus, I bet you wish their mascot was the Barnstormers. So I stand by my justification.

No. 15 Davidson will beat No. 2 Ohio State because: Davidson was not required to take down any Final Four banners this year.

About Suss

  • Pete

    …brilliant thinking outside of the brackets. Inspired reasoning which caused me to revise my choices (Iowa over Northwestern State…what was I thinking?)…

  • Kris Vokoun

    University of Northern Iowa’s mascot is the Panther, not Barnstomer. (Des Moines had an arena football team a few years ago – the Barnstormers)

  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew T. Sussman

    Too late Kris — they must now change their mascot in the next three days.

  • http://leoniceno.journalspace.com Sam Jack

    Now that I think about it, I guess the Shockers mascot is a bit weird. They’re my hometown team, so I’ve been around it, but now that I look at it… yeah. It’s a shock of wheat… that’s angry. It’s saying “You don’t get any bread.”

  • Pappy

    Great post Matt…and it’s true, the PACIFIC TIGERS will crush the Boston College Eagles!!

    GO TIGERS!!!!

  • SakeOne

    Fuck the “East Coast” Bias…
    Since the tournament started(1939) or 67 tournaments, East Coast teams (shcools located along the eastern seaboard) have been crowned champion 15 times. And that’s if you allow teams below mason-dixon line to be included, primarily UNC & Duke!
    52 other champions have been crowned from midwest, southern or (primarily) West coast schools. For the record UCLA (I think they’re on the West Coast) owns a record 11 crowns…

  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew T. Sussman

    The East Coast bias is prevalent only because Eastern metros have to make deadline before many West Coast games are over and decided. The next day, nobody cares anymore. It’s a geographical inconvenience, nothing against Westerners personally.

  • Maddog

    You must be the under dog lover of the world. I think you most be doing some type of drugs to make the picks you have.

  • sal m

    i really am disappointed that the “east coast media bias” is getting all the play here, while the very real and insidious influences of the “liberal media” and “hollywood” have been totally ignored.

  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew T. Sussman

    So I’ve been wrong many times already, but you know what? It’s fun to go around saying I called all those upsets.

  • William Anderson

    Tennessee mens team was winning by good margin over smart team that should have been booted off the floor . when Tennesee would take the ball out trying to get it up the floor this smart alec team would have one of their players standing away from play next to Volunteers player not good at making free throws, completely away from the play push the poor free shot player and immediately the referee woould call the foul away from the game sport of trying to see if you could succeed in getting the ball up court. everytime Tennessee would take the ball out the scene would return to the oppositions player fouling the poor shooter no where near the ball. I dont call that basketball or consider it ncaa championship basketball.