Upset Thursday?

Everyone is looking for first round March Madness upsets, and is delivering the goods with some predictions.

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UTEP (+2 ½) over Butler

5th seed Butler went undefeated in Horizon League Play, both during the regular season and the conference tournament. That offset a poor non-conference slate that saw them lose four games, and beat Ohio State with Evan Turner out.

12th seed UTEP might be the best team you haven’t seen play this year. They are big on the frontline with Derrick Caracter and Arnett Moultrie, plus have a very good scorer in Randy Culpepper. That doesn’t even include 6-foot-6 point guard Julyan Stone.

UTEP should win this game.

St. Mary’s (+2) over Richmond

7th seed Richmond finished with a 13-3 record out of the Atlantic 10. That only trailed Temple and Xavier. The Spiders got an at-large bid and this is their first trip to the Big Dance since 2004. This team has a reputation as a giant killer from past tournaments, but how will they fare as the favorite?

10th seed St. Mary’s finished the season with a 26-5 record out of the West Coast Conference. Two of those losses were to Gonzaga, but they got revenge in the conference tournament with an 81-62 win. This team has great size up with Omar Samhan and Ben Allen, both 6-foot-11.

The Gaels should pull off the small upset. 

Robert Morris (+18 ½) over Villanova

Big East Villanova was very fortunate to be a No. 2 seed after losing five of their last seven games. They have made late changes to the starting lineup in an effort to get bigger with 6-foot-10 Mouphtaou Yarou. He likely won’t get much playing time against smaller opponents.

15th seed Robert Morris is the automatic bid out of the NEC. This team only has one player scoring in double-digits, Karon Abraham (13.4 PPG), but they play a lot of guys and have enough size to match up with Villanova.

The Colonials won’t win this game, but the 18 ½-point spread is looking pretty hefty.

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Posted: 3/18/10 2:35PM ET


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