Busting Brackets

NCAA Tournament 2024: 3 potential 1st round upsets to look out for

New Mexico v San Diego State
New Mexico v San Diego State / Ian Maule/GettyImages
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A 64-team field was assembled by conference champions, bid stealers, and teams that have played so effectively all season that they earned the right to have an at-large bid into the bracket. However, it is truly the hardest tournament to predict, game by game. The highs and lows of college basketball are astronomical, and you will see that right from the get-go on day one of the tournament. 

But that's where the excitement lies. You truly never know in March. Cinderella stories, heartbreaking losses, all of our brackets being busted within the first day. It all makes for must-watch TV, and with all that being said, we take a look at three potential teams that could add to the excitement and pull an upset over a higher-seeded team on day one and day two of the NCAA Tournament.

3. #10 Drake vs. #7 Washington State 

  • Thursday, 10:50 p.m. ET, East Region

This is one of the most intriguing matchups of the first round. Ten seeds against seven seeds always seems to stir the pot a little bit, but these are two teams that can score at a high clip, have won many close games, and have solid all-around squads. Washington State finished 24-9 and is led by forward Isaac Jones who led the team in points (15.4) and rebounds (7.4), but also guard Myles Rice, who also averaged just over 15 PPG. 

Drake is coming off a Missouri Valley title and is led by veteran Tucker DeVries, who had 27 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists in the championship game against Indiana State. Drake finished the year 28-6 and gets a lot of help outside of DeVries, but he is the focal point, averaging 21.8 PPG. 

The main reason this is a game that smells like a possible upset is because of some key numbers. Drake averages six more points per game (80.5), has a faster pace of play, shoots better from the field as a team (47.9%), shoots more threes per game and makes more threes per game, averages fewer turnovers, and has a higher free throw percentage (76%) than Washington State does. The one thing that stands out for the Cougars side is that they rebound at a much more prominent level than Drake does. But most statistical categories favor Drake in this matchup, and you should consider it as well.