March Madness 2022: Predictions for Every 6 vs. 11 Game

Ben Rajavuori previews the six seed vs 11 seed matchups in the first round of March Madness.
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March Madness 2022: Predictions for Every 6 vs. 11 Game

The number 6 and number 11 seeds have some intriguing matchups this year, so I wanted to do this article specifically on these four games. From the west, we have number 6 Alabama against number 11 Notre Dame, who won a thriller in double overtime against Rutgers in the play-in game. From the east, it's number 6 Texas taking on number 11 Virginia Tech, who shocked many people by upsetting Duke in the ACC Tournament championship. From the South, we have number 6 Colorado State against number 11 Michigan. Finally, from the midwest, it's number 6 LSU taking on number 11 Iowa State. Can any of these eleven seeds pull off the upset?

Well, historically, at least, we can expect at least one upset from an eleven seed this year. There have been 54 eleven seeds that have won in the first round since 1985 when the tournament expanded, which is good for a 37.5% upset rate. So expect one or two teams to pull it off this year. Who are my favorite upset spots for the eleven seed?

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Iowa State vs LSU

Iowa State is my first pick for an upset as an eleven seed because they're battle-tested and have the coaching advantage. That's not to discredit LSU because they also played in a challenging conference, but it wasn't the Big 12. Iowa State had the 16th hardest strength of schedule, and all but six conference games for Iowa State were quad-1 games.

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Also, Iowa State played three quad-1 games in their non-conference schedule and won all three. Defensively, these teams are nearly identical, but Iowa State actually averaged less points per game allowed even with playing the tougher schedule. Also, LSU lost their head coach Will Wade after several allegations of significant misconduct just less than seven days ago. The Tigers are also 3-8 on the road this year. Give me four points with the team that has a head coach and has proven themselves multiple times this year against NCAA Tournament teams.

Iowa State vs LSU Pick

Michigan vs Colorado State

Michigan is technically a seeding upset in the bracket, but the books have them slightly favored. Michigan suffers a significant loss in the form of Devante' Jones, who is sidelined for this contest with a concussion. Still, I think the Wolverines are balanced enough to take the lead into halftime. Interestingly, Michigan played two of Colorado State's fellow Mountain West opponents, UNLV and San Diego State, and beat both handedly.

Colorado State went 1-4 in games against the two this year. Sure, that's not the best sign of how these two matchup, but Michigan comes into this game with the worse record and worse seed and is still favored. Michigan will have a distinct size advantage in this matchup. Colorado State doesn't have a true center that can challenge Dickinson, as their best option probably lies with Dischon Thomas. Even then, Dickinson is five inches taller than him, and if they start Thomas, they will see a drop off in the frontcourt. Michigan played the sixth overall hardest strength of schedule this season, yet managed to finish above .500 and do well in maybe the hardest conference in college basketball (toss-up between the Big 12 and Big 10).

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The reason I'm taking Michigan in the first half today lies within the numbers. Colorado State has tended to come out cold and finish hot with second-half comebacks. Colorado State is 102nd in the first-half scoring margin and 10th in the second-half scoring margin. Michigan plays almost the opposite. Michigan is 58th in the first-half scoring margin, then drops all the way to 181st in the second half. I still like Michigan to win the full game, but I like the numbers for the first half. Bet on Michigan to take the lead into halftime.

Michigan vs Colorado State Pick

Alabama vs Notre Dame

What a wild ride for the Fighting Irish. They pull off the double-overtime win against Rutgers, then travel to the west coast to play the first-round matchup against Alabama. It's a tough turnaround to take a double-overtime game past midnight on the east coast, the travel to take on a more challenging opponent on the west coast barely more than a day later.

Frankly, even without the travel situation, I like Alabama to cover here. I simply think they are better. Even after losing in the first round of the ACC Tournament, Notre Dame got an at-large bid by playing well in the underwhelming 2022 ACC conference. Alabama, meanwhile, played one of the most demanding schedules in the nation and pulled off non-conference wins over Gonzaga and Houston.

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Seriously, Alabama won on the road against the first-ranked overall team, then won the next game at home against another top-ten team in Houston. Notre Dame went 3-8 in eleven quad-1 games this year. Alabama went 8-7 in fifteen quad-1 games. This is a quad-1 game for Notre Dame, coming off a double-overtime battle and traveling across the country against a well-rested Alabama team. Roll tide.

Alabama vs Notre Dame

Texas vs Virginia Tech

The last 6 vs. 11 matchup takes us to the east, where the Texas Longhorns take on the Virginia Tech Hokies. I actually did a separate article on this matchup alone because of how much I like the Longhorns here.

I like their coaching advantage with the defensive genius Chris Beard. He coaches some of the best defense and has had eight days to prepare for the Hokies. Defense wins in March. It's no surprise that Chris Beard has taken his teams to the tournament every year since 2017 and has yet to be bounced in the first round. Texas picked up two significant players in Timmy Allen and Marcus Carr in the offseason, and they are the playmakers I expect to step up in this game. Virginia Tech shoots behind the arc well and often, but Texas is a fantastic three-point defending team, and they limit looks from behind the arc.

I believe the Texas defense will be too much for the Hokies, and Chris Beard will continue his dominance in the big dance. If you want the full breakdown of this game, you can check out my article on it here.

Texas vs Virginia Tech Pick

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Ben Rajavuori is a handicapper out of Minneapolis, MN. He has been creating sports content for almost four years now and is an expert in all things NFL, MLB, NBA, UFC, and NCAAB. Ben thrives on diving deep into statistics to find the best angle on every bet. You can follow him on Twitter @WeBeatTheSpread.

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