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The “First Four” is over, so the NCAA tournament is finally in full swing. As promised I will now give you my list of first round predictions for today’s games, some are a bit crazy but I will add a few explanations at the end.

Notre Dame over Northeastern

Iowa State over UAB

Baylor over Georgia State

Arizona over Texas Southern

I have chosen all favorites in these matchups since these games seem pretty cut and clear. The only possible upset I am concerned with here is Georgia State over Baylor, Georgia State is on a hot streak and they have a bit of tourney experience thanks to the play of former Louisville guard, Kevin Ware, this game will most likely be much closer than expected.

Texas over Butler

SMU over UCLA

Ole Miss over Xavier

Ohio State over VCU

In this set I have quite a few upsets, most of them are for bracket reasons, but I honestly believe Ole Miss and Ohio state have shown they belong in the “big dance” over the past few weeks of play, and they are primed to let the nation know.

Villanova over Lafayette 

UNC over Harvard

Cincinnati over Purdue

Utah over SF Austin

The Utah game will be close, this might be the one to watch in this block of games, SF Austin has been playing hot this entire season. I won’t say much about Villanova since they have been fantastic, and watch out for UNC they are currently playing inspired basketball, I expect them to go a long way in this tournament possibly even to the final game.

Kentucky over Hampton

LSU over NC State

Arkansas over Wofford

Georgetown over E Washington

The only team to talk about in this line is Kentucky, they are young, talented, hungry, and very good. I would be shocked if they even have a close game before the “Elite 8” it may be too soon to crown them champs, but their undefeated record, and convincing wins say otherwise. It would take a tremendous miracle for anyone to beat Kentucky at this point.

That does it for Thursdays matchups, I will return tomorrow to explain how my UAlbany Great Danes have a chance at the “Sweet 16.”