Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
The Post - Athens, OH
The independent newspaper covering campus and community since 1911.
The Post

White Pages: Three upsets to bet on in round one of the 2021 NCAA Tournament

EDITOR'S NOTE: The Post does not endorse or condone illegal sports betting of any kind. 

After last year’s NCAA Tournament was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, fans are more eager than ever to make their picks on round one of the biggest event in college basketball. Now that the money lines and spreads for each matchup have been released via FanDuel SportsBook, fans are starting to place their bets on teams who they believe can make a statement out of the first round. 

Here are the three teams you need to have faith in this year:  

12-seed Winthrop (+6.5) over 5-seed Villanova 

Villanova ended the regular season on a low note after the injury of veteran guard Collin Gillespie, who went down with a torn MCL against Creighton. After losing three of its last four games, Villanova enters the tournament with a difficult matchup against a tough Winthrop team that has been steamrolling their opponents as of recently. 

Having only one loss on the year, Pat Kelsey’s squad plays with tenacity and a fast pace that could potentially give Villanova a multitude of problems. 86% of March Madness tournaments end up having at least one 12 seed team upset a five seed team in the first round. This year it seems like Winthrop has as good chance to continue that record. 

13-seed Ohio University (+7) over 4-seed Virginia

The Bobcats entered the tournament via an automatic bid with their win over Buffalo in the Mid-American Conference finals. Virginia, on the other hand, had to opt out of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament due to a positive COVID-19 test within their locker room.

Virginia has not been able to hold any practices since the positive result and will not be able to until Thursday at the earliest. The opportunity to play in the first round matchup against Ohio is still possible, as long as there are no positive COVID-19 cases by Friday. Given that the Cavaliers will have little time to practice as a team before the tournament, it is to nobody’s surprise as to why Ohio is a popular upset pick this year amongst the fans and the media. 

Combine that with the recent surge in Ohio’s play, led by junior guard Jason Preston, Virginia will be met with a daunting task of competing against one of the better offensive units in the West region. The Bobcats have a lot to prove in their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2012. 

8-seed North Carolina (-1.5) over 9-seed Wisconsin

Wisconsin is entering the tournament with six losses in its last eight games. The Tar Heels have won four out of their last six games, with two of those losses having been by a combined margin of five points. With North Carolina being second in the nation in total rebounds and Wisconsin falling far behind at 63rd, the Badgers will be overpowered by UNC’s size and physicality in the paint. 

Wisconsin will have to be lights out from the perimeter in order for them to have a chance against North Carolina’s dominant big men. Considering that Wisconsin is only 72nd in the nation in 3-point percentage, it is unlikely that the Badgers will heat up enough to where they will be able to outmatch North Carolina’s dominance down low. 

Nicholas White is a freshman studying political science. Please note that the views and ideas of columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Want to talk to Nicholas? Tweet him @nicholaswhiiite or email him at 

Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2016-2024 The Post, Athens OH