You are hereNCAA March Madness Tournament - 1st Round Locks (Seeds 1-3)

NCAA March Madness Tournament - 1st Round Locks (Seeds 1-3)

By hagrin - Posted on 05 August 2006

Editor's Note - If you are looking for 2007's first round selection advice click here.

As everyone fills out their brackets to try and win their office pools, many people need help picking the winners for each game. We'll start with the first round games and try and help some people out. Obviously, this is not a science although I will be using some hard statistical analysis to back up most of my picks in this post. Now, on to the picks.

#1 Seeds::
Duke, UConn, Villanova and Memphis all win. A #1 seed has never lost to a #16 seed and it's not going to happen this year. The two closest games with probably be Memphis vs. Oral Roberts (the best 16 seed in recent history) and UConn vs. Albany since UConn has shown the tendency to play down to the level of their opponent.

#2 Seeds::
Texas, UCLA, Ohio State all win. Tennessee probably wins, but their #2 seed was unwarranted, they have lost their last three games and you might want to evaluate this game a little more closely than any of the other #2 seed games.

#3 Seeds::
Although, 3 of 4 (and most likely 4 of 4) will win their games, I only have one #3 seed as a lock - North Carolina and even that is an iffy pick due to their age. UNC gets the nod however since they won the tournament last year and do have a few players remaining from that team which should provide the upperclassman leadership that you need. Iowa isn't nearly the same team on a neutral court, Gonzaga gets the hardest #14 seed in recent years in Xavier who won the A-10 tournament and who should have beat GW this year and Florida is a very young team at a school which has underperformed in the tournament.

If you're looking to pick an upset at this seed level, you should take the advice of Peter Tiernan, an ESPN stat guy who has followed the tournament very closely over the years. #14 seeds have gone 14-70 and the #14 seeds that have won in the past have all been high scoring teams who average over 77 points a game. Also, #3 seeds are more vulnerable to the upset in their margin of victory is less than 12 points a game. So which teams in this year's field follow this analysis?

Iowa has a margin of victory of less than 6 points and Northwestern State scored 76.7 points a game on average. According to the stats and previous history, you might want to look at this game above all others as the upset special of the year.

I'll post more about the lower seeded games later. Any questions, use my Sports forums and leave me a message.