Which 12-seed will pull off an upset?
LAS VEGAS, NV (The Spread) - The #12 seeds vs. the #5 seeds is always an interesting topic of discussion when filling out your NCAA Tournament bracket. Let’s take a look at this year’s 12-5 matchups.
Harvard vs. Cincinnati-----Harvard is a legit threat that is not a typical Ivy league team. Harvard is a polished team with 5 guys averaging double figures. They have basically three point guards who can all score, dish the rock, and take care of the ball. These guys are smart and play with a high basketball IQ. While Harvard has a chance of knocking off Cincinnati, it will not be easy. The Bearcats are a tough, defensive team that held Louisville to 57 points, Memphis 53 points, and played a 44-43 game with Pittsburgh earlier this season. Cincinnati's biggest problem is scoring on a consistent basis with somebody other than Kilpatrick. In what will be a close game, I will give Harvard the edge as they have more guys that can score the ball. I actually like Harvard to also devise a solid defensive plan for this game that will frustrate Cincinnati and this game will be played at a faster tempo than what the linesmakers are expecting. Take Harvard to advance
SF Austin vs. VCU-----SF Austin has the second longest winning streak in the nation and this will be their toughest game of the season and one they can win. They have a guard heavy line-up that can beat the press of VCU. VCU has struggled this season vs. smaller teams that can beat their press and I like SF Austin to have success. The Lumberjacks only committed 11 turnovers a game this season while forcing 16 turnovers a game. VCU has struggled from the floor as they lack pure shooters and this will be a problem as well as their sub-par free throw shooting (67%). SF Austin's whole starting 5 can shoot the three ball and this is a dangerous 12 seed that I see advancing. Take SF Austin to advance
North Dakota State vs. Oklahoma-----This should be an exciting up and down game but one that I see Oklahoma advancing in. Oklahoma has wins this season vs. Texas, Kansas State, Baylor, and Oklahoma State. The Sooners are an up-tempo team that uses its smaller lineup as an advantage by using their speed and quickness against opposing teams. They are ranked 7th in the nation in scoring at 82.2 ppg. The Sooners can play with a 4 guard lineup that causes mismatch problems. They have 6'7" shooting guard Camron Clark who is NBA ready and can carry the Sooners along with Buddy Hield. The one guy in the paint that will pose a problem for North Dakota State is Ryan Spangler. Spangler is the hustle player for the Sooners that does all the dirt work. North Dakota State has a playmaker in Taylor Braun but the overall talent does not matchup for them in this game. North Dakota State does not play good enough defense to beat Oklahoma and they will not be able to out-score the Sooners either. I see North Dakota State topping out at 75-78 points in this game while Oklahoma puts up 83-86. For all total's players, the 'OVER' is looking enticing in this game as well. Take Oklahoma to advance **Bonus**OVER the TOTAL
NC State/Xavier vs. Saint Louis------This is the toughest match-up for to breakdown and give my opinion on. Saint Louis faltered down the stretch and they are a team that struggles to score at times. NC State is a team that excelled towards the end of the season as they found their team chemistry and have a NBA first round pick by the name of TJ Warren. NC State is a team that can play away from home also and they will pose a threat to Saint Louis. If Xavier wins the play-in game, then this will be a matchup that Saint Louis can win with their overall experience and Xavier's lack of ability to play outside of their own gym. This is the toughest matchup for me to predict, especially with the play-in game but I feel both teams can be potential problems for a regressing Saint Louis team. If NC State vs. Saint Louis, TAKE NC State to advance....If Xavier vs. Saint Louis, TAKE Saint Louis to advance.