Top Eight Potential First Round Upsets to Watch for in the 2016 NCAA Tournament

Mark Few's Gonzaga Bulldogs is one of the lower-seeded teams that could mess up some brackets as early as Friday

The 2016 NCAA Tournament bracket is out and now it's time to find out those higher seeds that are going to make you regret not watching that late-night game out of the Midwest. Every year there are mid-majors that the common fan knows nothing about and picks against them in their pool. I'm here to educate you on the top eight first round upsets that could happen on Thursday and Friday.

 

12 Chattanooga over 5 Indiana

Matt McCall's boys went 29-5 this season and have won five straight games. Chattanooga has road wins over Georgia, Dayton and Illinois already this season so the Mocs won't be intimidated by the Hoosiers. Pardon me if I'm not ready to buy Indiana quite yet after skating through the Big Ten with an easier schedule than others. Yogi Ferrell is very good, but he'll be tested by Chattanooga. These Mocs are balanced — seven players average at least seven points per game.

 

13 Iona over 4 Iowa State

The Cyclones aren't very deep and their recent tournament history has been questionable. Last year they lost in the first round with essentially the same team. Iowa State’s starting five is very good, but also prone to foul trouble. The Gaels have A.J. English and if you haven't seen him play, he can take over games. This matchup will be a track meet and sometimes that keeps the higher seed in the ball game. The experts will point to Iona's struggles against Tournament-caliber teams, but the Gaels did beat Monmouth, which should have gotten into the field of 68.

 

11 Gonzaga over 6 Seton Hall

I'm always leery of teams that go on prolonged runs in their conference tournament. Both of these teams did, but the Zags have been off for at least a week. There's no denying Isaiah Whitehead and the advantage the Pirates will have in the backcourt in this one. The problem for them comes in trying to slow down Kyle Wiltjer and Domantas Sabonis. Gonzaga has won five straight and won't mind playing as an underdog for once. Seton Hall hasn't won in the Tournament since 2004.

 

10 VCU over 7 Oregon State

Congratulations to Oregon State for making the Tournament as a 19-12 team. Gary Payton II is an awesome player who does it all, averaging almost 16 points per game and eight rebounds per contest as well. The Beavers average just 11 turnovers per game, but they don’t possess the effective size to scare VCU. The Rams are arguably the better team in this matchup. I'd make sure guard Melvin Johnson is 100 percent in this one because he didn't look like it on Sunday. Also, Tres Tinkle's status (foot injury) is important considering he's Oregon State's second-leading scorer. Mo Alie-Cox could have a field day in this one for VCU.

 

11 Northern Iowa over 6 Texas

UNI already has a win over North Carolina and a road victory over Wichita State. The Panthers have been here before and won't be intimidated by Texas. Wes Washpun is an underrated point guard and he's got several weapons around him. Shaka Smart has done great things with the Longhorns in just his first year there. Longhorn big man Cameron Ridley will have more time to get ready after playing just two minutes in his return from injury, but who knows how effective he will be. This game features two very good coaches in Smart and Ben Jacobson.

 

10 Temple over 7 Iowa

My how far the Hawkeyes have fallen, having lost six of their last eight games including a tough one to Illinois in their opening game of the Big Ten Tournament. Jarrod Uthoff and Peter Jok are solid scorers, but they may find tough sledding against Temple, which will grind you out both offensively and defensively. Quinton DeCosey could have been AAC Player of the Year and Obi Enechionyia is developing into a solid shooter. The Owls have five wins over Cincinnati, SMU and UConn. This one should be a low-scoring affair, which often benefits the higher seed.

 

14 Fresno State over 3 Utah

This is one of the longer shots that I'll put in the article, but the Bulldogs have talent. Marvelle Harris is a stud guard and he's got a lot of friends in Karachi Edo, Julien Lewis and Cezar Guerrero. Depth isn't an issue for Fresno, which has won nine straight and 11 of its last 12 with the loss coming in overtime at Nevada. The Utes are no slouches themselves and Pac-12 Player of the Year Jakob Poetl will be a handful, but they were undressed in their conference tournament championship game by Oregon. I like both teams, but I don't think the Bulldogs are going to get much credit nationally.

 

9 Cincinnati over 8 St. Joseph's

The Hawks won the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament and get more than 35 points per game combined from DeAndre Bembry and Isaiah Miles. St. Joseph’s does lack a bit inside and isn’t the deepest team with just eight regulars in the rotation. Cincinnati is led by Troy Caupain on the outside and Gary Clark on the inside. The Bearcats will have the frontcourt edge in this one and once again I'm leery of a team that made a deep run in their conference tourney. Cincy gets a little extra time to rest after their four OT loss to UConn.

 

— Written by Matt Josephs, who is a part of the Athlon Sports Contributor Network. Follow him on Twitter @MidMajorMatt.

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