March Madness 2017: Look out for upsets
Throughout the first two rounds, there were not a ton of upsets. In fact, there were precious few. Middle Tennessee was able to knock off the Minnesota Golden Gophers, although that was actually considering a winning favorite in Vegas. The Xavier Musketeers also pulled off a mild surprise as a No. 11 seed, taking down the sixth-seeded Maryland Terrapins.
Going into the round of 32, look for the upsets to start picking up right away. The first game of the afternoon features the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and West Virginia Mountaineers, a matchup of the fifth and fourth seeds, respectively. Regardless of who wins it will not be an upset.
After that, the potential for a ton of fun begins. The No. 8 Wisconsin Badgers are taking on the top-seeded Villanova Wildcats, aiming to take down the defending champions. This would be one of the bigger upsets of the last few years if the Big Ten representative could take care of business, considering how Villanova has been so dominant throughout the campaign. Jay Wright will have his team well-prepared for Wisconsin, which can really shoot the ball from the outside.
At 4:15 ET, we could have a very special moment. The Northwestern Wildcats wont their first tourney game on Thursday in wild fashion, taking down the No. 9 seed Vanderbilt Commodores with great thanks to an intentional foul. Now, the Wildcats will try to pull off the biggest win in program history when they play the Gonzaga Bulldogs, who were ranked first in the nation throughout most of the year. If Northwestern can hand the Bulldogs their second loss of the year, it would be a monumental upset.
The next two games features the aforementioned Cinderellas (or at least, potential Cinderellas) with Xavier and Middle Tennessee. The Musketeers are going against the No. 3 Florida State Seminoles, who dispatched the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles on Thursday night. Xavier has plenty of experience under head coach Chris Mack, who knows a thing or two about going deep in the tourney. Meanwhile, the Butler Bulldogs aim to finish off the lowest seeded team remaining in the 12th-seeded Blue Raiders. Butler has the talent to do so, but it won’t be easy.
Finally, we see the No. 2 Arizona Wildcats against the No. 7 St. Mary’s Gaels. St. Mary’s was terrific against a good VCU Rams team out of the Atlantic 10. After going 30-4 in the regular season, the Gaels should put a bit of fear into the hearts of anybody rooting for the Wildcats. Arizona is the better team and should come away with the victory, but it’s not going to be a complete shock to see the seventh seed move on.