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5 possible BIG upsets in the NCAA Tournament

Posted at 4:37 PM, Mar 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-15 19:37:28-04

Picking upsets is always the most exciting aspect of filling our an NCAA Tournament bracket. Here's a quick look at five double-digit-seeded teams with a real chance to get past their favored opponents in the tournament's first round on Thursday and Friday.

12 South Dakota State over 5 Maryland

With five losses in its last eight games, Maryland is limping into the tournament, while SDSU has won six straight and is a better rebounding team than the Terrapins. The Jackrabbits are also an experienced unit, as they have three seniors playing key roles on their team. 

12 Arkansas-Little Rock over 5 Purdue

The 3-point shot is often the great equalizer in these first-round games -- and this is a tough matchup from beyond the arc for Purdue. The Trojans shoot 39 percent from 3-point range, led by junior Marcus Johnson Jr.'s 46.1 percent. Meanwhile, the Boilermakers are the fourth-worst team in the Big Ten at defending the 3. 

13 Iona over 4 Iowa State

Iona and Iowa State lead their respective conferences in points per game, but the Gaels are a superior rebounding team. Also, the Cyclones have lost seven of their last 12 games, and they have a history of underachieving come tourney time: They fell to 14th-seeded UAB in the tournament's first round last year. 

13 UNC-Wilmington over 4 Duke

Only because it's fun to pick against Duke. Also, while the Blue Devils are the defending champs, they have been subject to big first-round upsets in recent years, losing in the first round as a 2 seed in 2012 and as a 3 seed in 2014.

14 Fresno State over 3 Utah

The Bulldogs have won each of their last nine games and lost close games at top-seeded Oregon and sixth-seeded Arizona during non-conference play. Also, Fresno State has by far the best turnover margin in the Mountain West (+4.29), while Utah has a negative turnover margin (-1.85), the fourth-worst in the Pac-12.