2022 March Madness Upset Picks: Eyes on the South Region

Gray Gutfreund is looking for some upset picks and he has two in mind that he would like to share.
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2022 March Madness Upset Picks: Eyes on the South Region

Colorado State vs Michigan

Is this unconventional for an upset pick? Yes - Colorado State is technically the higher seed. However, CSU is a betting underdog, as Michigan comes in as a 1.5-point favorite. You can even get Colorado State Moneyline at +105 over on BetMGM, which is my favorite pick for this game.

If you're still not sold on this being an upset, 59% of users on Yahoo Sports' tourney pick'em are rolling with the Michigan Wolverines. Let's move on to why I like CSU on Thursday morning.

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The Colorado St. Rams have plenty of offensive firepower; more than enough to out-duel Michigan in the first round. Their offense is led by the Mountain West Conference Player of the Year -- David Roddy. Roddy has the potential to pose a matchup nightmare for Michigan and other squads in later rounds in the tourney.

At 6-foot-5, 250 pounds, the big guard is too explosive for bigger defenders to hang with him and can out-muscle smaller guards quite easily. His excellent footwork and mid-range game open up opportunities to get good shots frequently. He's also a capable playmaker, and did I mention he's shooting 45.5% from three-point range this season? CSU's offense was in the 92nd percentile of Divison I teams, and Roddy is what makes them go.

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The Rams enter Thursday's matchup completely healthy. Meanwhile, Michigan will be without DeVante Jones, their starting point guard. The Wolverines are limping to the finish line, playing a tight rotation that will now be even tighter. Jones led the team with 18 points in 35 minutes of action in their first-round loss in the Big 10 tournament. Michigan hardly received a contribution from their bench, and with a large chunk of playing time and scoring missing from their rotation, they will be ultra-thin at guard on Thursday. Freshman guard Frankie Collins, who averaged 2.5 points and 9.6 minutes per game this season, looks to be in line to fill Jones' void.

Michigan's bright spot amidst a season filled with turmoil has been starting center Hunter Dickinson. At 7-foot-1, he was the team's leading scorer this season and is sure to cause problems for the smaller Rams. But, the Rams succeeded mightily in shutting down Wyoming big man Graham Ike twice this season. CSU even held Ike to 8 points on 3/13 shooting in a win over Wyoming a few weeks back.

Dickinson would likely need to put together a god-like performance for the high-powered Colorado State attack to fall victim to the size of a depleted Michigan team.

Colorado State vs Michigan Pick

Loyola Chicago vs Ohio State

This one is a more conventional upset pick. The Loyola Chicago Ramblers are 1.5-point underdogs against the higher-seeded Ohio State Buckeyes for Friday morning's contest.

When I look at this matchup, a glaring difference jumps out at me. Recent program success. The Ramblers made it all the way to the Final Four in 2018 and took down 1-seed Illinois in the second round last year to reach the Sweet Sixteen. Ohio St. has had a spottier record during these same four years, failing to make it past the second round in all three of their tourney appearances under Head Coach Chris Holtmann.

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Ohio State has some glaring cracks in their armor right now, with both Zed Key (ankle) and Kyle Young (illness) questionable to suit up. The 6'8" forwards are the tallest guys in OSU's rotation and the Buckeyes may struggle even more defensively if at least one of them sits. The Buckeyes have the 13th worst defense (according to KenPom) of the 68 teams that received a tournament bid.

Loyola Chicago may lack the offensive ceiling that OSU possesses, but the Ramblers lock in on the defensive side of the ball every single game. The Ramblers' top seven players are all juniors and seniors, and 30-year-old Head Coach Drew Valentine has ensured that the defense installed by Porter Moser over the last few years will remain stout. The team's balanced scoring attack is led by Lucas Williamson, who was a key contributor for both the Final Four and Sweet Sixteen runs from recent tournaments. They shoot the three-ball at an elite 38.3% clip as a team, yet they don't heavily rely on outside shooting to score the bulk of their points.

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I like the balanced, experienced, and focused Ramblers to upset the 7-seed Ohio State Buckeyes on Friday in their first-round matchup.

Loyola Chicago vs Ohio State

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Gray is a massive New York sports fan, and is an NBA & NFL oracle. He’s a passionate writer with a strong background in statistics, and loves putting out player props! You can follow him on Twitter @PropBetGuru.

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