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NCAAB Championship: Potential Upsets in 2023

Upsets are at the core of what makes the NCAAB Championship so special. Here we take a look at some underdogs who could eliminate their superior opponents this March.

There are upsets in the tourney every year and in 2022, fans were treated to a few memorable first round shocks.

15-seed Saint Peter's overcame 2-seed Kentucky, while the Midwest threw up plenty of surprises as Richmond, Iowa State and Miami all eliminated teams ranked above them.

We've picked apart the first round games this year and highlighted a few potential upsets to consider before filling out your bracket.

#12 VCU vs. #5 Saint Mary's

WhereMVP Arena, Albany, NY
When2:00 ET, Friday, March 17th, 2023
How to watchCBS
OddsSaint Mary's -4, VCU +165 ML

VCU have a history of pulling off surprise wins in the dance. Back in 2011, they reached the national semifinals as an 11-seed. This year, they enter the tourney as a 12-seed in the West Region and have what looks to be a winnable first round game against Saint Mary's.

Saint Mary's are justifiable favorites, but may be a little jaded after losing to Gonzaga in their final regular season game, meaning they had to share the WCC regular season title, before losing again to the same opponents in the conference tournament. 

VCU enter on the back of an eight-game winning streak, so they are the form team in this matchup.

#11 Providence vs. #6 Kentucky

WhereGreensboro Coliseum, Greensboro, NC
When7:10 ET, Friday, March 17th, 2023
How to watchCBS
OddsKentucky -4, Providence +167 ML

Providence are rated as the 42nd overall seed in this tournament, earning them the 11-seed in the East.

They take on Kentucky, who are considered the 23rd best team, in what could well be a close matchup where an upset is a distinct possibility.

Both of these teams have similar regular season records and had to rely on at-large bids to book their places in the tournament. Providence finished up with a 21–11 (13–7 Big East) record, while Kentucky had a 21–11 (12–6 SEC) record. 

They each come into the game after losing their conference tournament openers, and although Kentucky have a superior team on paper, Providence play in an incredibly competitive Big East conference and will feel they have a chance to go far after reaching the round of 16 in 2022.

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NCAAB Championship: Schedule, Watch Live & Printable Bracket

#13 Kent State vs. #4 Indiana

WhereMVP Arena, Albany, NY
When9:55 ET, Friday, March 17th, 2023
How to watchCBS
OddsIndiana -4, Kent State +165 ML

Kent State are back at the tournament for the first time since 2017, and have a tough first round assignment against Indiana, who are +4000 to go all the way and win the NCAAB Championship. 

Indiana are the overall 15-seeds but come into this game in mixed form with four defeats in their last eight games, while Kent State are on a six-game winning run.

This is a matchup where different styles come together as Indiana clearly have some real individual talent but Kent State have an excellent defense. 

Kent State made trips to Houston and Gonzaga in non-conference games during the regular season – although they lost both of those games, they were both close and that suggests they could well be a match for any opponent they face in March.

#12 Charleston vs. #5 San Diego State

WhereAmway Center, Orlando, FL
When3:10 ET, Thursday, March 16th, 2023
How to watchCBS
OddsSan Diego State -5.5, Charleston +185 ML

There was plenty of buzz about 12-seed Charleston in the build-up to the tournament after their impressive regular season run, where they suffered just three defeats. 

They may have hoped for a kinder draw than 5-seeds San Diego State, however, as they also arrive at the dance in fine form.

Charleston ended the regular season with a seven-game winning run and then won the CAA Tournament with relative ease, finishing up with a 31–3 (16–2 CAA) record. 

SDSU also ended the season strongly with 10 wins in 11 games as they claimed the MWC Tournament title so this is a clash between two in form teams – and it would be no real surprise to see the underdogs claim a victory as Charleston are a team who have become accustomed to winning.

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