NCAA Tournament 2018: Upset Picks for Key Friday Games and Full Weekend Schedule

Syracuse's Tyus Battle reacts during the first half of a First Four game of the NCAA men's college basketball tournament against Arizona State, Wednesday, March 14, 2018, in Dayton, Ohio. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

John Minchillo/Associated Press

As we witnessed Thursday during the 2018 NCAA men’s basketball tournament, the most unlikely teams are able to pull off upsets.

While none of Friday’s upset-minded teams may shock us as much as Buffalo did against Arizona, there’s a chance for more havoc to be wreaked upon your brackets.

A pair of 4-13 and 5-12 matchups headline the list of potential upsets, while a handful of other double-digit seeds have the opportunity to add to the list of underdogs in the round of 32.

Weekend Schedule

All times ET.

Friday

No. 7 Texas A&M vs. No. 10 Providence (12:15 p.m., CBS)

No. 2 Purdue vs. No.15 CSU Fullerton (12:40 p.m., truTV)

No. 4 Wichita State vs. No. 13 Marshall (1:30 p.m., TNT)

No. 2 Cincinnati vs. No. 15 Georgia State (2 p.m., TBS)

No. 2 North Carolina vs. No. 15 Lipscomb (2:45 p.m., CBS)

No. 7 Arkansas vs. No. 10 Butler (3:10 p.m., truTV)

No. 5 West Virginia vs. No. 12 Murray State (4 p.m., TNT)

No. 7 Nevada vs. No. 10 Texas (4:30 p.m., TBS)

No. 8 Creighton vs. No. 9 Kansas State (6:50 p.m., TNT)

No. 3 Michigan State vs. No. 14 Bucknell (7:10 p.m., CBS)

No. 1 Xavier vs. No. 16 Texas Southern (7:20 p.m., TBS)

No. 4 Auburn vs. No. 13 Charleston (7:27 p.m., truTV)

No. 1 Virginia vs. No. 16 UMBC (9:20 p.m., TNT)

No. 6 TCU vs. No. 11 Syracuse (9:40 p.m., CBS)

No. 8 Missouri vs. No. 9 Florida State (9:50 p.m., TBS)

No. 5 Clemson vs. No. 12 New Mexico State (9:55 p.m., truTV)

Saturday

No. 1 Villanova vs. No. 9 Alabama (12:10 p.m., CBS)

No. 2 Duke vs. No. 7 Rhode Island (2:40 p.m., CBS)

No. 5 Kentucky vs. No. 13 Buffalo (5:15 p.m., CBS)

No. 3 Tennessee vs. No. 11 Loyola-Chicago (6:10 p.m., TNT)

No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 8 Seton Hall (7:10 p.m., TBS)

No. 4 Gonzaga vs. No. 5 Ohio State (7:40 p.m., CBS)

No. 3 Texas Tech vs. No. 6 Florida (8:40 p.m., TNT)

No. 3 Michigan vs. No. 6 Houston (9:40 p.m., TBS)

Upset Picks

No. 12 New Mexico State over No. 5 Clemson

Both games from the Midwest region being played in San Diego could feature upsets.

No. 12 New Mexico State has been on the lips of many experts and fans over the past few days as a lock to win its battle with No. 5 Clemson.

When you look at their roster, the Aggies are a Cinderella contender, and Clemson head coach Brad Brownell is more than aware of that.

Brownell admitted the Aggies are a favorite to pull off the upset because of their experience, per Mark Rudi of the Las Cruces Sun-News.

“New Mexico State has an older group that’s used to winning,” Brownell said. “They defend you. They rebound. They do the things that you need to do to be good, so I don’t think it’s a trendy pick of it being 12-5. It’s because New Mexico State has good players and coaches and they play well.”

Four of New Mexico State’s top five scorers are upperclassmen, with the top two being seniors in Zach Lofton and Jemerrio Jones.

LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 10: Jemerrio Jones #10 of the New Mexico State Aggies shoots against Joshua Braun #2 of the Grand Canyon Lopes during the championship game of the Western Athletic Conference basketball tournament at the Orleans Arena on March 10, 2

Sam Wasson/Getty Images

Lofton averages 19.8 points per game, and he has scored more than 20 points in four games since the start of February, including all three of New Mexico State’s contests at the WAC tournament.

Jones is a double-double machine who averages 13.2 rebounds and 11 points per contest. Keeping the senior off the boards is going to be a difficult task for the Tigers, and even if they succeed for stretches, Jones is still going to find a way to do damage in the frontcourt.

No. 13 Charleston over No. 4 Auburn

The game before the Clemson-New Mexico State clash features an odd site for a team with as high a seed as No. 4 Auburn.

Since all of the sites in the south and midwest were occupied by higher seeds, the Tigers got banished to San Diego, where they have the worst home-court advantage of any team.

In addition to the less than ideal venue, the Tigers enter the NCAA tournament off a loss in the SEC tournament quarterfinals to Alabama.

Auburn sophomore Mustapha Heron talked about the Tigers finding their identity again after the early exit in St. Louis, per Greg Ostendorf of AuburnTigers.com:

Charleston has to approach Friday’s game as a neutral-court showdown since Auburn is playing so far away from home at Viejas Arena.

The Cougars are 5-1 on neutral courts, and they have road experience from nonconference games against Wichita State and Rhode Island.

The perfect storm for an upset is completed by the combination of high-scoring players on the Charleston roster, as Grant Riller, Joe Chealey and Jarrell Brantley average more than 17 points per game.

If Charleston shoots the lights out and Auburn suffers from a lack of confidence, the Cougars could spoil many people’s brackets.

No. 11 Syracuse over No. 6 TCU

No. 11 Syracuse has no business being in the round of 64, as many believed it wasn’t even worthy of earning a berth in the field of 68.

With a storm of criticism flying around them, the Orange won an ugly affair in the First Four against No. 11 Arizona State on Wednesday.

Jim Boeheim‘s trademark zone defense frustrated the Sun Devils and forced them into a good amount of unnecessary deep three-point attempts.

DAYTON, OH - MARCH 14: Head coach Jim Boeheim of the Syracuse Orange reacts in the second half against the Arizona State Sun Devils during the First Four of the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at UD Arena on March 14, 2018 in Dayton, Ohio. (Photo

Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Syracuse gained confidence with the victory and erased the memory of four losses in six games to conclude ACC play.

Oshae Brissett and Tyus Battle drove the Orange on the offensive end of the court, and if they contribute in the same fashion Friday, they would put pressure on TCU.

Syracuse also won’t have to deal with the normal struggles of a First Four team, as it had a short trip from Dayton, Ohio, to Detroit and is playing during the final quartet of contests.

However, there are concerns about the Orange since they lack depth, as two players featured for a combined 11 minutes off the bench against Arizona State.

The biggest issue with Syracuse is it is tied for 311th in the nation in field-goal percentage (.418) with teams like South Florida, Houston Baptist, CSU Bakersfield and Colorado State.

As long as they get hot early, Brissett and Battle should shoot a decent percentage in order to fuel an upset.

Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.