Mar 14, 2012; Albuquerque, NM, USA; Colorado Buffaloes head coach Tad Boyle during practice for the second round of the 2012 NCAA men's basketball tournament at the Pit. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-US PRESSWIRE
We're just a few short hours from tipoff as Murray State and Colorado State get things going in the round of 64 at 12:15 p.m. EST. That means you better have your bracket pretty much finalized. But just in case you are still looking for a way to set yourself apart from the crowd, here's a few last minute bracket buster picks on the docket.
#11 Colorado v #6 UNLV
Something has to go right for the Pac 12 doesn't it? Cal was dismantled last night in the first four while Arizona dropped a game at home in the NIT to the 8th seeded Bucknell Bison.
The Buffs are hot coming off of the Pac 12 tournament and Tad Boyle, a former Jayhawk, understands what he has in his team and they seem bought in. That isn't to say that this is a really good Colorado basketball team, but they buy in defensively and that has been big for them. Playing just six hours from Boulder helps the cause and if they continue to follow the leadership of their coach, Colorado can get their first tourney win since the 90's.
#12 Long Beach State v #5 New Mexico
At the moment New Mexico seems to be a trendy pick to knock off top seeded Michigan State. But what about LBSU? All the did was play six tournament teams in the non-conference, including a no. 1 and no. 2 seed, then follow that up with a 15-1 league record. The only loss coming to 2nd place Cal State Fullerton on the road by three.
This team is battle tested, they are more than capable and they won't be intimidated by New Mexico in the least. They've played tougher opponents, and they played them well.
#13 Montana v #4 Wisconsin
Montana is on a 14 game winning streak coming into this one, that's the longest of anyone in the country. Wisconsin's calling card is well known. They are a deliberate and efficient offense that slows it down and takes excellent care of the basketball.
Montana, on the other hand, has the capability of scoring some points. They aren't Iona or anything but they can shoot it pretty well and they get to the free throw line at a decent rate. Given the Big 10's style, they sometimes struggle in the early rounds when they move away from Big 10 officiating and if the Badgers get down early, they aren't great at changing their game and speeding things up.
#5 Temple v #12 USF
South Florida pretty much dictated the style of play against Cal. Yes it's a Pac 12 team, but Cal was believed to be the most capable Pac 12 team. The Bulls thrive on defense and they'll have a tough test against Temple who is an efficient offensive team. But finishing 12-6 in a tough Big East has to count for something and right now South Florida is fighting a host of critics who don't think they belong.
I'd throw on top of that two things. First off playing in the first four might be a benefit. Rather than a full week off to build up a little rust, you've continued to play. That might benefit the Bulls or any team relying on momentum. Secondly, it's a no. 5 v no. 12 and this is the most common upset.
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