NCAA

March Madness 2019: Five upset picks to avoid during opening weekend

March Madness 2019: Five upset picks to avoid during opening weekend

Picking First Round upsets in the 2019 NCAA Tournament is easy. One could probably pick all the low seeds in the 5-12, 6-11, 7-10, and 8-9 matchups and win at least 40 percent of the time. 

The only difference is that you want to pick the correct upsets in your bracket. 

There are some match-ups though that you should stay far, far away from. Some upsets that sound good on paper or on television, which just don’t make sense. 

So, while filling out your bracket to try and get far in your bracket pool, keep this nearby.

First Round

No. 14 Yale over No. 3 LSU
Yale advancing to the Second Round over LSU is going to be a popular upset pick this week. Without their coach Will Wade it appears that once a promising season for LSU will fall flat very soon in the NCAA Tournament.

Currently suspended by the school, Wade is not involved with the program as they prepare for their first tournament since 2015. With a cloud around the program it is easy to say the players will be distracted, unprepared and not ready to play on Thursday. 

Despite all of these things, there is no reason to pick Yale here. The coaching staff is still intact. It is the same coaching staff that got them to a No. 3 seed and becoming the No. 11 overall team in the country. They’ve already played two games without him, winning one and losing the other in the final minute. 

And it is not like Yale is a barnstorming mid-major team. They wouldn’t be here if they lost to Harvard on Sunday.

No. 13 UC Irvine over No. 4 Kansas State

This is going to be another popular upset pick among brackets. UC Irvine has won 16 straight games and boast a 30-win season coming into the tournament. They’re up against a slightly depleted Kansas State team, who might be without their second leading scorer Dean Wade. 

However, don’t be so quick to count out the Wildcats in this First Round matchup. They shared the Big 12 regular season title, breaking Kansas’ long streak of championships. 

Besides, they’ve already played without Wade this season. Kansas State went 4-2 in that stretch with only losses to Texas and Texas Tech. The team is also hopeful that he can play by this matchup on Friday. 

K-State probably won’t go far this year, but it won’t end in the First Round. 

No. 11 Saint Mary’s over No. 6 Villanova

Looking at Saint Mary’s win over Gonzaga one might jump on the Gaels bandwagon as they go into the NCAA Tournament. But, if anyone has learned anything about Jay Wright’s teams in recent NCAA Tournaments, his teams will go on a run. 

It might not be to the level of a National Championship run this year, but they match-up well against Saint Mary’s. 

Villanova has a balanced rotation of seven players getting everyone involved in the scoring. That’s juxtaposed to the Gales who don’t go much deeper than their starters. 

It’s always turned up a notch in the tournament for the Wildcats. This should be no different.  

No. 10 Seton Hall over No. 7 Wofford

Wofford is the mid-major to watch this tournament. All four of their losses this year are to teams in the NCAA Tournament and in their wins it has not even been close. 

Fletcher Magee is truly special, bringing home 20 points a contest while shooting 43 percent from behind the arc. His team averages 83 points a contest and last scored below 70 points back on Jan. 19.

They’re rolling on a 20-game winning streak and are against one of the most up-and-down teams in college basketball this season. 

Seton Hall, while they have impressive wins, cannot be counted on to deliver in a big performance. 

You might look foolish if you have Wofford out in the First Round. 

Second Round

No. 7 Cincinnati/ No. 10 Iowa over No. 2 Tennessee

People will be high on Cincinnati to go on a run based on the manner they won the American this past week. In fact, of all of the No. 2 seeds Tennessee probably is the one many will feel uneasy about going far in the tournament. 

That is not to say though that the Volunteers will lose in the Second Round. As scrolling through tournament history one would notice that 2009 was the last time all No. 2 seeds made it to the Sweet 16. With Kentucky, Michigan and Michigan State all holding the other spots, Tennessee will probably get the short end of the stick.

Tennessee will force the issue sometimes, but more often than not, it will work for them. All five of their starters can score and their top six can all score. Not many teams can play at their pace.  
 
No. 8 Mississippi/ No. 9 Oklahoma over No. 1 Virginia

Given Tony Bennett’s recent history in the NCAA Tournament, and the Cavaliers loss to UMBC in 2018, it is fair to question how far Virginia will go this season.

But keep in mind, Virginia is one of the best teams in the country. On the defensive end, there is no one better than the Cavaliers. They have only three losses, two to Duke and one to Florida State. 

Match-up wise there is no reason to pick Ole Miss or Oklahoma in this matchup. Virginia has a more complete team, better offensive balance, more experience, everything you need for a run. 

All of which will get them back into the Sweet 16 this season. 

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Jamion Christian, GW basketball receive commitment from Jameer Nelson's son Jameer Jr.

jameer-nelson-jr-commits.jpg
USA TODAY SPORTS

Jamion Christian, GW basketball receive commitment from Jameer Nelson's son Jameer Jr.

The George Washington University men's basketball team landed the son of longtime NBA point guard Jameer Nelson Tuesday. 

Jameer Nelson Jr., a 2019 guard out of Pennsylvania's Haverford School, decommitted from his father's alma mater (Saint Joseph's) following the news that Phil Martelli would not return for the 2019-20 season. 

This marks first-year head coach Jamion Christian's second commitment since being named head coach of the Colonials after one year at Siena College. 

Nelson Sr. played in the Association from 2004 to 2018, including 10 seasons in Orlando. The point guard averaged a career-best 16.7 points per game during the 2008-09 campaign. 

The 10 moments that defined Zion Williamson's lone year at Duke

The 10 moments that defined Zion Williamson's lone year at Duke

Duke Blue Devils freshman sensation Zion Williamson officially announced on Monday what everyone knew was coming: the 6-6 forward will be foregoing his final three years of collegiate eligibility and declaring for the 2019 NBA Draft.

Williamson is expected to be the No. 1 overall pick. He announced his intention to enter the draft via his Instagram.

While he spent just one year at Duke, and the Blue Devils fell short of expectations when they fell to the Michigan State Spartans in the Elite Eight, Williamson's lone season in a Blue Devils uniform was nothing short of spectacular. 

Here are the 10 most memorable moments from his Duke career, in chronological order.

1. Debuting with a bang.

The then-No. 4 Blue Devils blew out the then-No. 2 Kentucky Wildcats 118-84 in the opening game of the 2018-19 season. All three of Duke's heralded freshman -- Williamson, R.J. Barrett, and Cam Reddish -- scored over 20 points in the win. 

Williamson went 11-13 from the field en route to 28 points in just 23 minutes. Barrett finished with 33, and Reddish added 22 as well.

  

The dynamic duo of Williamson and Barrett, who both would eventually become All-Americans, was born.

2. Dropping a 27-16-6 slash in his home debut.

In the first regular season home game, Williamson put on a show for the Cameron Crazies.

The freshman led all scorers with 27 points, and added 16 rebounds, also a game-high, in a 94-72 dominant win over Army.

He also had a season-high six blocks, and became the first Duke player under Coach Mike Krzyzewski to score 25-plus points, 15-plus rebounds, and 5-plus blocks in a game.

3. Two jaw-dropping dunks against Eastern Michigan.

The Williamson hype-train continued into the third game of the season against Eastern Michigan, where Williamson had two of his most impressive dunks of the season in the 84-46 thrashing of the Eagles.

Here's the first, an allep-oop from Reddish. Look how high his head is.

The second, with the game well in hand, Williamson unleashed a right-tomahawk dunk that was very reminiscient of early LeBron James days.

4. Steal and 360 dunk against Clemson.

In a season full of highlight plays, Williamson's dunk against Clemson might be near the top of them all.

Just take a look for yourself:

5. Block on Virginia's DeAndre Hunter.

While the Virginia Cavaliers ended up having the last laugh, as they were crowned National Champions last Monday, the Blue Devils got the better of them in both meetings this season.

In the team's second meeting with Duke up seven late in the second half, Virginia forward DeAndre Hunter looked like he had an open three-point shot from the baseline to cut the lead to four. Then Zion entered the picture.

Williamson used his world class athleticism to contest Hunter's shot, sending it several rows into the Virginia crowd. 

6. Infamous shoe incident.

When the then-No. 1 Blue Devils hosted the then-No. 8 North Carolina Tar Heels in the most hyped-up college basketball game in quite some time, the cheapest tickets were $2,989 each for a pair of them.

Unfortunately, those who were in attendance, including President Barack Obama, only caught a glimpse of the freshman sensation. WIlliamson lasted just 36 seconds before having to exit the game with a leg injury after literally bursting through his left shoe when trying to plant.

Obama even pointed it out.

The Tar Heels took advantage of Williamson being out, as Carolina forward Luke Maye exploded for 30 points and 15 rebounds in the 88-72 victory over Duke.

7. Return from injury, perfect from the field against Syracuse.

Williamson missed the next five games with an MCL injury, and Duke struggled in his absence. The Blue Devils went 3-2 over that stretch, with losses coming to Virginia Tech and North Carolina, again. They barely squeaked out a road victory over Wake Forest, who they defeated by 22 earlier in the season.

But Williamson returned for Duke's ACC Tournament campaign, and turned in arguably his most impressive performance of the season in a 84-72 victory over Syracuse.

Zion went a perfect 13-13 from the field, scoring a game-high 29 points, and added 14 rebounds as well.

8. Sweet, sweet revenge against UNC.

After missing the practically the entire first matchup and all of the second against the rival Tar Heels, Williamson and the Blue Devils got their revenge against Carolina in a 74-73 victory in the ACC Tournament semi-finals.

Williamson led Duke with 31 points (more than double than any other Duke player) and 11 rebounds in the victory. He put the Blue Devils ahead for good with a tip-in following his own miss with 31 seconds to go.

Both UNC's Coby White and Nassir Little had a chance to win it at the end, but neither could convert.

Zion got his revenge, and Duke advanced to the ACC Championship game.

9. Bounce Pass against Florida State.

The Blue Devils faced off with the Florida State Seminoles in the ACC Tournament Championship, after Florida State pulled off the upset over Virginia in the semi-finals.With Duke up by five early in the second half, WIlliamson used his dominant left hand to thread the needle between two Seminole defenders to find Tre Jones for the layup. 

Williamson showed he could do it all with one of the best passes of the college basketball season. Duke ended up winning 73-63 to take home the tournament crown.

10. And-1 against UCF.

The UCF Knights had given the No. 1 overall seed Blue Devils everything they could handle during their second round matchup in the NCAA Tournament.

The Blue Devils were on the verge of getting upset, down three points with 14 seconds remaining when Williamson came to the rescue.

Zion missed the free throw, but Barrett was able to corrall the rebound and put Duke ahead by one on the put back layup.

The Knights still almost pulled off the upset, but two final attempts rolled off the rim, and Duke lived to see another day.

While Williamson may be headed to the NBA, he provided college basketball fans with a whole lot of thrilling moments; moments that NBA fans will enjoy for years to come.

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