March Madness 2023 – It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

March Madness 2023 – It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

by Gabriel Rauch – College Basketball analyst for

This is March, the time where the whole country tunes in to yell at teenagers for missing free throws for busting their brackets. Yes, the games rarely reach a combined score of 160, the refs don’t know the difference between a charge and a block and some teams still play the triangle offense, but gosh darnit we love it don’t we!

By the time this comes out everyone will have filled out their brackets so I won’t give you advice there, however, if you want upsets and individual games, this is for you. 

So some quick advice before we get into the picks:

Unlike NFL or NBA playoffs, we have an idea of what will come every year, which is that the unpredictable always happens. That means if you’re looking at your bets and every higher seed/media darling just happens to cover, you should probably switch something up. 

-Just because you have a team going far in your bracket doesn’t mean they’ll cover every game. If the feeling in your gut tells you to fade yourself, don’t be afraid to do it. 

-Non conference champions are strong, there is a reason they’re here. Don’t count them out just because you have no clue what city they’re in. 

Well rounded, dominant teams always make it the farthest. Fun teams are fun for a reason: they probably lack defense and make mistakes. 

Keeping this in mind, it’s time for the picks!

Maryland(8) vs West Virginia(9)

WVA is in the strongest conference with a hall of fame coach. It is easy to take them over what seems like an average B1G 10 team, but don’t overlook the Terrapins. Who I am picking in this game comes less from how much I like Maryland and more from how much I don’t like WVA. They are a very average team and would be much lower than a 9 seed if they were in any other conference. Maryland had a good non-conference record as well. 

Pick: Maryland +2

Iowa(8) vs Auburn(9)

Auburn has been the close loss kings, especially to close the season and there is no reason that will change against the high flying Iowa offense. This will be the most fun game of the first round, and if you don’t like either team the over is probably a good bet. 

Pick: Iowa ML

Duke(5) vs Oral Roberts(12)

Everyone loves a 5/12 upset, but it will not be this game. This is an unusual Duke team, and that is not even factoring in their new coach. Duke is full of veterans this year who are hungry to prove themselves after last year and Oral Roberts lost their best player to Texas Tech in the transfer window. I like Duke to win this and go far. 

Pick: Duke -6

Tennessee(4) vs LA-Lafayette(13) 

Tennessee is built to smother weaker teams with an elite defense and that will be the story of this game. Don’t worry, they still choke in the coming rounds in typical Tennessee fashion, just not in this game. 

Pick: Tennessee -11.5

Saint Mary’s(5) vs VCU(12) 

Picking two 5s over 12s is not what I intended but I really like Saint Mary’s here. They are very solid defensively and have what it takes to go far. 

Pick: Saint Mary’s -4.5

Creighton(6) vs NC State (11)

NC State is one of the best teams in the ACC and somehow underrated at 11. The narrative all year has been that the ACC is a weak conference and I think this tournament will test that starting with this game. State has one of the best backcourts in the country, while Creighton relies on Kalkbrenner way too much to be consistent. 

Pick: NC State +5

Kentucky(6) vs Providence (11)

Kentucky are one of the most inconsistent teams in the country facing one of the best coached teams in the Big East. This one seems too easy as this team has the same issues as last year. This seems destined for a repeat of their upset last tournament except they face a better team. Tshiebwe is still an excellent big man, but his presence won’t be enough. 

Pick: Providence +4

Memphis(8) vs FAU(9)

Memphis are on a huge hot streak, won their conference tournament against Houston and somehow only got an 8 seed? This all sounds good and dandy but FAU is a tough matchup and there is a reason Memphis is an 8 seed. We see the hottest teams leading up to the tournament get first rounded every year and my bet is on Memphis facing FAU’s outstanding backcourt. FAU is one of the better non-Power 5 teams and will run Penny Hardaway’s team off the floor. 

Pick: FAU +2

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