Plenty of first-round upsets happen every year in March Madness. Here are the 10 to pick when you fill out your bracket for the NCAA Tournament.
An annual tradition of filling out your March Madness bracket is trying to identify the first-round upsets. Nailing some March Madness upsets certainly boosts your odds of winning a bracket pool and also serves as a confidence boost to your own prognostication abilities if you have that 13 over a 4 that the experts counted out.
After scouring the bracket there are 10 very good candidates for upset picks when you fill out your brackets over the next few days. A few upsets not featured here will definitely happen so don’t be shocked if anyone on the top three lines, who we haven’t featured here, gets picked off in the first round.
One further note before we dive in is that no 8-9 matchups are eligible for this exercise. The 8-9 game is a virtual coin flip historically so picking the 9 to beat the 8 isn’t exactly the stuff of legends.
10. Potential March Madness upsets – West Region: No. 11 Rutgers/Notre Dame vs. No. 6 Alabama
It may seem nuts to call a shot on upsets before the results of the First Four are fully known but there is historical precedent to take a First Four team to reach the Round of 32. Since the First Four was introduced in 2011, at least one team who won a game in that round also advanced past the first round of the NCAA Tournament nine times in 10 years, a figure that includes UCLA’s run from the First Four to the Final Four a year ago.
The Rutgers/Notre Dame winner is slated to face Alabama in the Round of 64 and that game is eminently winnable since the Crimson Tide are one of the teams most likely to bust your bracket this March. Alabama has showcased an ability to beat anyone in the country, as evidenced by the fact they beat two No. 1 seeds (Gonzaga and Baylor) during the regular season, but can also lose very bad games (Iona, Missouri, Georgia, Vanderbilt) if their three-point shots aren’t falling.
Whoever wins the First Four game should also have some of their March Madness nerves removed, giving them a mental edge over Alabama. This upset feels like an easy one to call.