Predicting the correct Final Four is seen as the key to winning a March Madness office pool, but picking opening-round upsets is also important. Getting points in the first two days of the 2015 NCAA Tournament can mean the difference between winning and losing.

There are a few general rules that should always be followed when making first-round picks, such as picking every No.1 seed to win and making sure at least one No.12 seed advances in your bracket. But each year is different, and knowing a little bit about every team can make a significant difference.

Below are picks for every game in the Round of 64 in the 2015 NCAA Tournament.


Kentucky could win their first game by 30 points and Notre Dame should advance with ease, but the Midwest could see a few upsets. Kansas isn’t likely to lose, but they could have some trouble with New Mexico State. Buffalo has a good chance to be one of the No.12 seeds that pulls off an upset, considering West Virginia has been a .500 team for the past two months. At first glance, Butler might seem like the obvious pick over Texas, but even though the Longhorns are the No.11 seed, Las Vegas oddsmakers have them favored to win the game.

No.1 Kentucky vs. No.16 Hampton 

Pick: Kentucky

No.8 Cincinnati vs. No.9 Purdue

Pick: Purdue

No.5 West Virginia vs. No.12 Buffalo

Pick: Buffalo

No.4 Maryland vs. No.13 Valparaiso

Pick: Maryland

No.6 Butler vs. No.11 Texas

Pick: Texas

No.3 Notre Dame vs. No.14 Northeastern

Pick: Notre Dame

No.7 Wichita State vs. No.10 Indiana

Pick: Wichita State

No.2 Kansas vs. No.15 New Mexico State

Pick: Kansas


There might not be many upsets in this portion of the bracket. Wisconsin and Arizona were both good enough to be No.1 seeds, and they should win with no problems. Wofford might be the weakest No.12 seed in the tournament, and Arkansas is likely to advance and meet North Carolina in the Round of 32. Ohio State has the best chance of pulling off an upset. The Buckeyes have one of the best players in the nation in D’Angelo Russell.

No.1 Wisconsin vs. No.16 Coastal Carolina

Pick: Wisconsin

No.8 Oregon vs. No.9 Oklahoma State

Pick: Oregon

No.5 Arkansas vs. No.12 Wofford

Pick: Arkansas

No.4 North Carolina vs. No.13 Harvard

Pick: North Carolina

No.6 Xavier vs. No.11 Ole Miss

Pick: Xavier

No.3 Baylor vs. No.14 Georgia State

Pick: Baylor

No.7 VCU vs. No.10 Ohio State

Pick: Ohio State

No.2 Arizona vs. No.15 Texas Southern

Pick: Arizona


The top three seeds are much better than their competition, and while Louisville has struggled of late, they have one of the nation’s best head coaches and should be able to avoid an early round upset. No.7 vs. No.10 matchups aren’t always easy to predict, but it’s hard to pick against Michigan State, considering they’ve won at least one NCAA Tournament game in seven of the last eight years. No.9 seeds beat No.8 seeds more often than not, but LSU has lost six of their last 12 games.

No.1 Villanova vs. No.16 Lafayette

Pick: Villanova

No.8 N.C. State vs. No.9 LSU

Pick: N.C. State

No.5 Northern Iowa vs. No.12 Wyoming

Pick: Northern Iowa

No.4 Louisville vs. No.13 UC Irvine

Pick: Louisville

No.6 Providence vs. No.11 Boise State/Dayton

Pick: Providence

No.3 Oklahoma vs. No.14 Albany

Pick: Oklahoma

No.7 Michigan State vs. No.10 Georgia

Pick: Michigan State

No.2 Virginia vs. No.15 Belmont

Pick: Virginia


No matter who Duke faces, they won’t lose their first NCAA Tournament game for a second consecutive year. Seeds No.1-3 shouldn’t have much of a problem advancing, but the rest of the bracket could feature multiple upsets. Georgetown has a history of losing to lower seeds in the first round, while Stephen F. Austin won as a No.12 seed just a year ago. The rest of the games could go either way, though San Diego State does have the edge over St. Johns with the news that the Red Storm’s No.2 rebounder has been suspended for two weeks.

No.1 Duke vs. No.16 UNF/Robert Morris

Pick: Duke

No.8 San Diego State vs. No.9 St. John's

Pick: San Diego State

No.5 Utah vs. No.12 Stephen F. Austin

Pick: Stephen F. Austin

No.4 Georgetown vs. No.13 Eastern Washington

Pick: Eastern Washington

No.6 SMU vs. No.11 UCLA

Pick: SMU

No.3 Iowa State vs. No.14 UAB

Pick: Iowa State

No.7 Iowa vs. No.10 Davidson

Pick: Davidson

No.2 Gonzaga vs. No.15 North Dakota St.

Pick: Gonzaga