SI's March Madness Expert Picks and Predictions

Please check your inbox to confirm your email address and start receiving newsletters. And by the same measure the Hurricanes are the bracket's weakest No. When you see the Washington and Auburn showdown on paper your first reaction has to be that you have the class of the Pac and a potential playoff team against a team that wants to break through in the SEC and has a ceiling of a playoff appearance as well.


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Password Must be at least 6 characters and contain a number and an uppercase and lowercase letter. Confirm Password Passwords must match. The trusted voice in sports straight to your inbox. We all know that a No. The Tigers play fast and loose: Guards Demontrae Jefferson and Donte Clark average 42 points and 5. From a more rational, bracket-theory perspective: Xavier is lined up to get a stiff challenge in every game from the second round on if seeds hold, from Missouri and Michael Porter Jr.

It seems like almost everybody is shorting Xavier at some point before the Final Four—why not do away with the half-measures and commit to the principle? So why still pick the upset? Davidson may be peaking at the right time as well. It took out two tournament teams to win the A championship, is top in offensive turnover rate, two-point shooting and free-throw shooting, is a strong three-point shooting team All of those things are a good formula for a potential upset.

OK, so this is a lot crazy. Kansas has gotten Good looks from distance may not be readily available, however, against a Quakers squad that has allowed opponents to launch only Austin over Texas Tech. This is a hunch, but it feels like this could be a fast-paced, sloppy game that swings late. Both the Lumberjacks and Red Raiders love to force mistakes with pressure defense SFA is tops in the country in defensive turnover rate and can both be turnover-prone.

They have yet to take a bad loss this season, to be fair. If the pace of this game plays as fast as it should, Stephen F. Austin will have a great opportunity to bust brackets. Oklahoma over Rhode Island. Matthews and Jeff Dowtin are a strong trio that should make Rhode Island a tough out. The presence of a mid-major standout with an awesome nickname on a team with an unusual mascot—along with the instinctual impulse to pick at least one upset—makes tabbing South Dakota State to shock Ohio State in the West region an enticing proposition.

Mike Daum, the Dauminator, and the Jackrabbits are the worst No. They all came with his previous employer, Butler. I picked this upset in my SI. Like that team, they again lead the country in defensive turnover rate and are once again facing a team also strong in that area.

The Southland conference is full of teams that force miscues, and while winning the league, SFA struggled to deal with that. Also a key difference?

The Stephen F. Austin team was underseeded, entering the tournament ranked 45th on kenpom with a top 50 defense. South Dakota State over Ohio State. This is more of a strategic move than a basketball-based one, since Mike Daum and company are certainly a strong candidate to pull this off. But because so many people including me I think seem to be picking the Jackrabbits as this year's upset special, you might be best served to look elsewhere.

Picking a team seeded seventh or lower to make the Final Four. The last five years have all seen such a team make the final weekend, but when it comes to your bracket, think about it: Who saw South Carolina coming last season?

Or Syracuse in ? So while you might be tempted to send No. The First Four streak: The streak could well end in See above to understand why Penn is your best bet if you want to take a chance on a No.

In the Midwest, No. With the exception of their title run, the Wildcats have lost on the first weekend in four of the last five years, with three of those coming as a No. But this Nova team is one to trust. This is not the top seed to get cute with.

Entering more than one bracket. Allow me the pulpit for two seconds. Nobody really wants to hear about your bracket anyway, much less a second one. Rick Barnes teams will break your heart. The Bonnies stared down UCLA in a thrilling First Four victory on Tuesday, playing relentless, opportunistic defense and outlasting the Bruins down the stretch on a night when leading scorer Jaylen Adams struggled to find his shot—he was 1-of before draining a go-ahead jumper in the final minutes.

Bonaventure can carry over their effort level in Dayton to Dallas and get Adams back on track, Florida and Texas Tech will struggle to meet their level. The Aggies have a fairly favorable path, at least as favorable as you can get for a No. Their first-round matchup is with No. It could wind up a low-scoring defensive battle, and if possessions are limited, the Aggies may find themselves right in it at the end with a chance to win it.

They face a favorable matchup in the first round against a Clemson team that lost starting senior forward Donte Grantham to a torn ACL in January. Standing in the way of a Sweet 16 berth are No. Both sets of major-conference Tigers look underwhelming.

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