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NCAA tournament: What is Thursday's most likely bracket buster?

March 20, 2013
  • Oregon's Johnathan Loyd (10), Nicholas Lucenti (4) and Coleton Baker (12) celebrate the Ducks' win over UCLA in the Pac-12 championship game Saturday in Las Vegas.
Oregon's Johnathan Loyd (10), Nicholas Lucenti (4) and Coleton Baker… (Jeff Gross / Getty Images )

Writers from around the Tribune Co. discuss likely upsets from Thursday's NCAA men's basketball tournament. Feel free to join the discussion with a comment of your own.

Chris Dufresne, Los Angeles Times

There is plenty of potential for busting Thursday's bracket in the 12 versus 5 games, starting in the Midwest with Oregon against Oklahoma State. In fact, I wouldn’t even consider this an upset. The Ducks, as Pac-12 Conference tournament champions, should be miffed they garnered so little respect from a selection committee that did not factor how much better they are with freshman guard Dominic Artis back in the lineup. The only “break” Oregon received was a short trip to San Jose.

Now, for my Gumby-like reach at the South regional in Auburn Hills: No. 14 South Dakota State over No. 4 Michigan. Every tournament bracket needs a leap-of-faith longshot, so I’m banking on Jackrabbits’ star Nate Wolters to make some wild-hare three-pointer at the buzzer to shock Ann Arbor and maybe Ann Romney.

Buster buzz kill: a lot of pundits are touting No. 11 Belmont over No. 6 Arizona in the West bracket at Salt Lake, but I’m not buying it for the simple fact Belmont has been touted before but has yet to win an NCAA tournament game.

Brian Hamilton, Hartford Courant

Until midday Wednesday, the answer would have been different. But if you’re looking for a bracket-churning upset now? Plan a Montana.

The Grizzlies are clearly a pie in the Big Sky pick. They are just 144th nationally in kenpom.com’s rankings. But Syracuse is crossing three time zones and dealing with a 10 p.m. ET tipoff in San Jose while also now answering a CBSSports.com report that emerged Wednesday stating the NCAA is investigating the program for major violations.

Granted, the Orange, or at least the coaches, have known about the inquiry for some time. And the team made a run to the Big East tournament final. But Syracuse faded badly in the second half of that game against Louisville and remains just unpredictable and uneven enough to stumble in the face of cross-country chaos. Montana is no sure bet, but the point is, neither is Syracuse.

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