Selection Sunday has passed, and we know what the bracket looks like for the 2023 NCAA Tournament. That means it is time to look at all the matchups and find where you think the upsets will be in March Madness.
There were some interesting matchups, with storylines all over the place for March Madness. There are four matchups I like for upsets in the NCAA Tournament, let's get into them.
No. 13 Furman Paladins over No. 4 Virginia Cavaliers
This game is more because Virginia is arguably a weak four seed. The Virginia Cavaliers come in with a 25-7 record on the year, having lost the ACC championship game to Duke, and only scored 49 points in that game. That is the type of game that Tony Bennett's Virginia Cavaliers are known to play over his tenure. Furman is a scary matchup here, they went 27-7 this season, winning the regular season and conference tournaments in the Southern Conference.
Virginia is 74th in adjusted offensive efficiency and 25th in adjusted defensive efficiency according to KenPom. Furman is a much better offensive team, they are 33rd in offensive efficiency and the 183rd in defensive efficiency. They call it March Madness for a reason. If Virginia's shots aren't falling, there's a good chance Furman scores enough to take the win.
No. 11 NC State Wolfpack over No. 6 Creighton Bluejays
The Creighton Bluejays were the favorites in the Big East before the season, and they have put together some stretches of elite play, but they also have had moments of just being disjointed. Ryan Kalkbrenner has been a very important player for the Bluejays, but the NC State Wolfpack has the size to battle with him inside with DJ Burns. Creighton will need big games from players like Arthur Kaluma and Baylor Scheierman. Arthur Kaluma could be the x-factor here, as he will be the best athlete on the floor.
If NC State can hang with Kalkbrenner inside, it is hard to trust Creighton to shoot super well outside. NC State seems to have a decent shot at an upset here.
No. 11 Pittsburgh Panthers or No. 11 Mississippi State Bulldogs over No. 6 Iowa State
The Pittsburgh Panthers and Mississippi State Bulldogs will face off in the First Four, but no matter who wins, they should be viewed as having a good chance to upset Iowa State in the NCAA Tournament.
Despite two recent wins over the Baylor Bears, Iowa State has had a rough finish to the season. Iowa State was as high as 12 in the AP poll at points this season, but it is hard to believe they have recaptured their peak form at this point of the season. Iowa State won two games in February, before its two wins against the Baylor Bears.
No. 11 Providence Friars over No. 6 Kentucky Wildcats
This game arguably has the best storyline of any first round game. There have been some rumors about Ed Cooley and the Georgetown job, so if you buy into that, it could be scary picking the Providence Friars. However, there is no way that Bryce Hopkins does not show up. He was on the bench for John Calipari with the Kentucky Wildcats, and has been one of the key players this season for the Providence Friars.
Ed Cooley's team closed the season out poor, but it looked like it found something against the UConn Huskies, nearly coming back from a 26-point deficit in the second half of the matchup in the Big East tournament. Kentucky isn't the usual great Kentucky, and Providence should be a motivated opponent with a quality coach in Ed Cooley.