NCAA March Madness ’14: First Round LOCKS

I realize that the First Four is technically the true first round of the NCAA Tournament, but it’s a set of play-in games, doesn’t count.

First Round LOCKS

You can still join our Yahoo! Bracket Pick’em group. Here’s the link. The password is: ronswanson
Make sure you join before the first games start

The Great Rivalry has returned! Matty D vs. G-ManAs I’ve declared before, I come ALIVE in March. I will be King of the Bracket.

South Regional

Seed, School (Record, Overall Rank, Conference) vs. Seed, School (Record, Overall Rank Conference)
Day, Time, Channel, Location

#1 Florida Gators (32-2, 1st, SEC) vs. #16 Albany Great Danes (19-14, 66th, America East)
Thursday at 4:10pm on TBS in Orlando, FL

My Pick: Florida – A #1 has never lost to a #16. It will happen eventually but not in this one.
Matty-D: Florida – No explanation needed

#8 Colorado Buffaloes (23-11, 32nd, Pac-12) vs. #9 Pittsburgh Panthers (25-9, 36th, ACC)
Thursday at 1:40pm on TBS in Orlando, FL

My Pick: Pittsburgh – Pitt hit a snag in the regular season but caught fire in the ACC Tourney.
Matty-D: Pittsburgh – Coach K thinks Pitt doesn’t get enough love. Spencer Dinwiddie (I have the same opinion) has been out too long for the surprising Buffs and Jamie Dixon always has his Panthers ready to play.

#5 VCU Rams (26-8, 19th, A-10) vs. #12 Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks (31-2, 50th, Southland)
Friday at 7:27pm on TruTV in San Diego, CA

My Pick: Stephen F. Austin – Since the Tournament expanded to 64 teams, a double-digit seed has made the Sweet Sixteen in every year except two. I believe the Lumberjacks are that team this year.
Matty-D: Stephen F. Austin – Everyone knows about VCU’s Havoc defense by now. What they don’t know about is that SF Austin has the NCAA’s second longest winning streak in the nation. They play tough, they rebound hard, they defend well, and they never get rattled. They never lose focus and will beat Shaka Smart’s defense.

#4 UCLA Bruins (26-8, 15th, Pac-12) vs. #13 Tulsa Golden Hurricane (21-12, 52nd, C-USA)
Friday at 9:57pm on TruTV in San Diego, CA

My Pick: Tulsa – UPSET CITY BABY!!!
Matty-D: UCLA – Too much talent on UCLA to drop this game. Watch for Zach LeVine to show why he is a lottery pick. Athleticism jumps out of the gym.

#6 Ohio State Buckeyes (25-9, 22nd, Big Ten) vs. #11 Dayton Flyers (23-10, 41st, A-10)
Thursday at 12:15 on CBS in Buffalo, NY

My Pick: OSU – Ohio is the Buckeye State, not the Flyer State.
Matty-D: OSU – Aaron Craft will grit, grind, and will the Buckeyes on. Best on-ball defender in college. Most unselfish player in college. “Craft”iest player in college. Hate Ohio St, love Aaron Craft.

#3 Syracuse Orangemen (27-5, 10th, ACC) vs. #14 Western Michigan Broncos (23-9, 55th, MAC)
Thursday at 2:45pm on CBS in Buffalo, NY

My Pick: Cuse – In Buffalo, this game is practically a home game for Syracuse.
Matty-D: Cuse – Forget about the ‘Cuse’s late swoon. Tyler Ennis and company can still ball and are healthy again. 2-3 zone suffocates lesser teams.

#7 New Mexico Lobos (27-6, 28th, MWC) vs. #10 Stanford Cardinal (21-12, 37th, Pac-12)
Friday at 1:40pm on TBS in St. Louis, MO

My Pick: New Mexico – The Lobos don’t want another one-and-done again.
Matty-D: New Mexico – Aussie Cameron Bairstow, enough said. (A matchup with Embiid leaves me giddy).

#2 Kansas Jayhawks (24-9, 7th, Big 12) vs. #15 Eastern Kentucky Colonels (24-9, 59th, OVC)
Friday at 4:10pm on TBS in St. Louis, MO

My Pick: Kansas – Easy pick.
Matty-D: – Wiggins, unleash your inner beast so my Sixers will grab you. He is a much-watch every time he steps on the court.

West Regional

Seed, School (Record, Overall Rank, Conference) vs. Seed, School (Record, Overall Rank Conference)
Day, Time, Channel, Location

#1 Arizona Wildcats (30-4, 2nd, Pac-12) vs. #16 Weber State Wildcats (19-11, 64th, Big Sky)
Friday at 2:10pm on TNT in San Diego, CA

My Pick: Arizona – Who are we? The Wildcats! Who are we gonna beat? The Wildcats! All jokes aside, Zona will run over Weber State. I would love to see the Lillard-led Weber State teams of old go up against this Arizona team.
Matty-D: Arizona – The #1 seed gets by here, but what looms next…

#8 Gonzaga Bulldogs (28-6, 30th, WCC) vs. #9 Oklahoma State Cowboys (21-12, 35th, Big 12)
Friday at 4:40pm on TNT in San Diego, CA

My Pick: OK State – If Smart hadn’t gotten suspended, Cowboys would be much higher seeded.
Matty-D: Oklahoma State –  When Marcus Smart has been playing, this team can beat anyone (see Kansas, Kansas St, Memphis, Colorado). Look for Smart to keep his college career going.

#5 Oklahoma Sooners (23-9, 20th, Big 12) vs. #12 North Dakota State Bison (25-6, 48th, Summit)
Thursday at 7:27pm on TruTV in Spokane, WA

My Pick: Oklahoma – Serious upset potential here, but Boomer Sooner will pull it out.
Matty D: North Dakota State – Marshall Bjorklund leads the nation in field goal percentage while Oklahoma allows opponents to shot 48.6% from 2-point range on the year, not good. ND St plays a pack-line defense which frustrates opponents. I caught their conference championship game. You have to make jump shots to beat them. I’m betting Oklahoma won’t.

#4 San Diego State Aztecs (29-4, 16th, MWC) vs. #13 New Mexico State Aggies (26-9, 53rd, WAC)
Thursday at 9:57pm on TruTV in Spokane, WA

My Pick: San Diego State – Aztec defense shuts them down.
Matty-D: San Diego State – The Aztecs are the 8th-best defense in the country and force turnovers constantly. Just ask upset-victims Kansas and Creighton. Scary, scary team.

#6 Baylor Bears (24-11, 24th, Big 12) vs. #11 Nebraska Cornhuskers (19-12, 42nd, Big Ten)
Friday at 12:40pm on TruTV in San Antonio, TX

My Pick: Nebraska – The Huskers will be motivated to face-off with Creighton.
Matty-D: Baylor – These two teams, meh. I guess Baylor and Isaiah Austin win (I will miss Brady Heslip’s hair though).

#3 Creighton Blue Jays (26-7, 11th, Big East) vs. #14 UL-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns (23-11, 57th, Sun Belt)
Friday at 3:10pm on TruTV in San Antonio, TX

My Pick: Creighton – Dougie McBuckets, enough said.
Matty-D: Creighton – I want McBuckets on the Sixers. He is the most diverse offensive weapon in college with no shot he can’t make and no move he doesn’t have in his arsenal. Get ready for the show.

#7 Oregon Ducks (23-9, 27th, Pac-12) vs. #10 BYU Cougars (23-11, 39th, WCC)
Thursday at 3:10pm on TruTV in Milwaukee, WI

My Pick: Oregon – I refer you to Matty-D’s pick…
Matty-D: Oregon – Pac 12 over West Coast Conference. I miss Jimmer.

#2 Wisconsin Badgers (26-7, 8th, Big Ten) vs. #15 American Eagles (20-12, 62nd, Patriot)
Thursday at 12:40pm on TruTV in Milwaukee, WI

My Pick: Wisconsin – Easy pick. Still bummed about Lehigh’s down year.
Matty-D: Wisconsin – If Lehigh were playing here…

Midwest Regional

Seed, School (Record, Overall Rank, Conference) vs. Seed, School (Record, Overall Rank Conference)
Day, Time, Channel, Location

#1 Wichita State Shockers (34-0, 3rd, MVC) vs. #16 Cal-Poly Mustangs (14-19, 68th, Big West)
Friday at 7:10pm on CBS in St. Louis, MO

My Pick: Wichita State – Cal-Poly wants to win the Tournament so they can finish this season above .500. No chance.
Matty-D: Wichita State – Time to figure out why the Shockers are worthy of a #1 seed America. You will be pleasantly surprised and will wish you put them farther along in your bracket.

#8 Kentucky Wildcats (24-10, 29th, SEC) vs. #9 Kansas State Wildcats (20-12, 33rd, Big 12)
Friday at 9:40pm on CBS in St. Louis, MO

My Pick: Kansas State – Another battle of the Wildcats. Kansas State’s ability to slow down the ball will confuse Kentucky. Watch out for Marcus Foster
Matty-D: Kentucky – The Wildcats simply have too much talent. But unless the train-wreck comes together, this is as far as their run goes. Plenty of NBA scouts are excited though.

#5 St. Louis Billikens (26-6, 18th, A-10) vs. #12 NC State Wolfpack (21-13, 47th, ACC)
Thursday at 7:20pm on TNT in Orlando, FL

My Pick: NC State – See Matty-D’s thought…
Matty-D: NC State – This pick is based solely on the fact that T.J. Warren will drop 40+ points on the Billikens.

#4 Louisville Cardinals (29-5, 13th, American) vs. #13 Manhattan Jaspers (25-7, 51th, MAAC)
Thursday at 9:50pm on TNT in Orlando, FL

My Pick: Louisville – Easy pick considering Louisville shouldn’t be a 4-seed
Matty-D: Louisville – Russdicilousness is simply too much for Pitino’s protege and crew.

#6 UMass Minutemen (24-8, 23rd, A-10) vs. #11 Tennessee Volunteers (21-12, 44th, SEC)
Friday at 2:45pm on CBS in Raleigh, NC

My Pick: UMass – Welcome to the Zoo, Tennessee
Matty-D: UMass – The 5-9 Chaz Williams is the most emotional, in-your-face, kinda-arrogant player in the tournament. I simply want to see him keep playing so I’m picking UMass even though Tennessee is bigger and better.

#3 Duke Blue Devils (26-8, 9th, ACC) vs. #14 Mercer Bears (26-8, 56th, Atlantic Sun)
Friday at 12:15pm on CBS in Raleigh, NC

My Pick: Duke – Easy.
Matty-D: Duke – Mercer isn’t Lehigh guys.

#7 Texas Longhorns (23-10, 25th, Big 12) vs. #10 Arizona State Sun Devils (21-11, 40th, Pac-12)
Thursday at 9:40pm on CBS in Milwaukee, WI

My Pick: Texas – The Longhorns won 11 games in a tough Big 12, that’s enough to convince me.
Matty-D: Texas – Rich Barnes is a good coach, not a great one. That is enough to get by the Sun Devils and Jahii Carson.

#2 Michigan Wolverines (25-8, 6th, Big Ten) vs. #15 Wofford Terriers (20-12, 61st, Southern)
Thursday at 7:10pm on CBS in Milwaukee, WI

My Pick: Michigan – Wolverines > Terriers
Matty-D: Michigan – The Canadian Nik Stauskas is the leader but if Glen Robinson III can equal his potential with his play, the Wolverines are poised for another title run.

East Regional

Seed, School (Record, Overall Rank, Conference) vs. Seed, School (Record, Overall Rank Conference)
Day, Time, Channel, Location

#1 Virginia Cavaliers (28-6, 4th, ACC) vs. #16 Coastal Carolina (21-12, 63rd, Big South)
Friday at 9:25pm on TBS in Raleigh, NC

My Pick: Virginia – I’m not Pablo S. Torre, #16 over #1 isn’t happening this year.
Matty-D: Virginia – Perfect time to discover why Virginia is a #1 seed.

#8 Memphis Tigers (23-9, 31st, American) vs. #9 George Washington Colonials (24-8, 34th, A-10)
Friday at 6:55pm on TBS in Raleigh, NC

My Pick: Memphis – Don’t sit on the American
Matty-D: GW – Honestly know little about GW. But I know Memphis seriously underachieves for their incredible talent level.

#5 Cincinnati Bearcats (27-6, 17th, American) vs. #12 Harvard Crimson (26-4, 49th, Ivy League)
Thursday at 2:10pm on TNT in Spokane, WA

My Pick: Harvard – All in on the Crimson to repeat their upset. Matty-D, not so much…
Matty-D: Cincy – This pick is so trendy. ‘Oh, Harvard plays smart (sweet pun Matt), they won’t be fazed, they have been here before.’ Guess what, Sean Kilpatrick is an All-American who won’t be fazed either and this Bearcat squad plays devastating defense. Plus Harvard’s tallest player is 6’9″. Stop with this upset garbage.

#4 Michigan State Spartans (26-8, 14th, Big Ten) vs. #13 Delaware Blue Hens (25-9, 54th, Colonial)
Thursday at 4:40pm on TNT in Spokane, WA

My Pick: Michigan State – A lot of people, including the President, have Sparty going all the way. I don’t have them going that far but I do have them winning this game.
Matty-D: Michigan State – I like the Blue Hens, especially their great penetrating guards Devon Saddler and Jarvis Threatt. But Izzo’s boys won’t underestimate them and Garry Harris and Keith Appling are far better.

#6 North Carolina Tar Heels (23-9, 21st, ACC) vs. #11 Providence Friars (23-11, 43rd, Big East)
Friday at 7:20pm on TNT in San Antonio, TX

My Pick: UNC – See below.
Matty-D: UNC – Providence slipped in by getting hot in the Big East tourney. North Carolina would have won the Big East outright. Sorry Friars.

#3 Iowa State Cyclones (26-7, 12th, Big 12) vs. #14 NC Central (28-5, 58th, MEAC)
Friday at 9:50pm on TNT in San Antonio, TX

My Pick: Iowa State – NC Central is making their Tournament debut, that’ll make them nervous enough let alone the fact that they have to face one of the best in the nation.
Matty-D: Iowa State – Remember the names DeAndre Kane, Melvin Ejim, and Georges Niang. They are really good and will make noise.

#7 UConn Huskies (26-8, 26th, American) vs. #10 St. Joe’s Hawks (24-9, 38th, A-10)
Thursday at 6:55pm on TBS in Buffalo, NY

My Pick: St. Joe’s – Yes, I am a Philly boy and GO HAWKS! (Note: I read Matt’s comment before writing this)
Matty-D: UConn – Yes, I am a Philly boy and go Hawks. But All-American Shabazz Napier is one of the nation’s best and most clutch guards, the kind that writes his legend in March.

#2 Villanova Wildcats (28-4, 5th, Big East) vs. #15 Milwaukee Panthers (21-13, 60th, Horizon)
Thursday at 9:25pm on TBS in Buffalo, NY

My Pick: Villanova – Too Easy, Jay Wright is mastermind.
Matty-D: Villanova – Saw Villanova in person. They quietly put their opponents to sleep with a balanced and methodical attack.

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One thought on “NCAA March Madness ’14: First Round LOCKS

  1. Pingback: NCAA March Madness ’14: First Round “Awards” and Second Round LOCKS | The THUNDERBLOG

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