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Five First-Round March Madness Upset Picks

By Stephen Douglas
Richmond v Davidson
Richmond v Davidson / Rob Carr/GettyImages
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March Madness has arrived and the most important part of filling out a bracket or placing bets is picking upsets. Is there skill or luck in picking the right mid-major or underachieving power school to make a run? Probably a little of both. With that in mind here are five first-round matchups where an underdog could pull off the upset. Odds via WynnBet.

(11) Virginia Tech Hokies (+1) over (6) Texas Longhorns

Coach Chris Beard has had quite a bit of success in March Madness, including a run to the NCAA Championship Game with Texas Tech, but this team has lost three straight games heading into the tournament and it wouldn't make much sense for Texas basketball to truly be back before Texas football. The Hokies went 11-9 in the ACC this year, but won the ACC Tournament by beating three NCAA Tournament teams in a row (Notre Dame, North Carolina and Duke).

(12) Richmond Spiders (+10) over (5) Iowa Hawkeyes

Richmond is back in the tournament for the first time since 2011 when they made a Sweet 16 run. After losing their regular season finale, they ran through the A-10 Tournament and earned their way into the tournament with a close win over Davidson who earned an at-large bid. Iowa won the Big Ten Tournament, but they have never made it out of the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament under Fran McCaffery.

(12) New Mexico State Aggies (+6.5) over (5) UConn Huskies

UConn is a decent team from a traditional power conference. They didn't win the the Big East regular season or tournament. New Mexico State, coming from the WAC, played in and won a mid-major conference regular season and tournament. These are the types of upsets that put the madness in March, but actually make perfect sense.

(13) South Dakota State Jackrabbits (+2) over (4) Providence Friars

Providence cannot be feeling good right now having lost two out of their last three games, including a blowout loss to Creighton in the Big East semifinals. This is South Dakota State's sixth appearance in March Madness since moving to D1 earlier this century. They are 0-5, but seem poised to break through. They have already won 30 games this season and haven't lost since December 15th.

(14) Colgate Raiders (+7.5) over (3) Wisconsin Badgers

Colgate had a rough start to the season as they opened 4-10 and had multiple games postponed because of COVID, but they've only lost twice in 2022. They are currently riding a 15-game winning streak and have won 18 of 19 overall. Meanwhile, Wisconsin has dropped two straight games to unranked opponents Michigan State and Nebraska. The Badgers also have losses to Providence and Rutgers this season.

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