Best round-of-64 matchup: Clemson-New Mexico State. Everyone loves the No. 5-No. 12 matchups, but this might be an entertaining game because points might come at a premium. Clemson finished in a four-way tie for third place in the ACC, but the Tigers’ ceiling lowered with senior forward Donte Grantham’s season-ending knee injury in late January; they haven’t been nearly as potent offensively without him. If New Mexico State’s Zach Lofton can get going from three-point range, where he shoots almost
40 percent, he could keep the Aggies in range for a long time.
Potential upset: No. 11
seeds Arizona State and Syracuse were among the ‘‘last four in,’’ which is why they’ll play in the First Four, but either has the ability to upend No. 6 TCU. Arizona State’s résumé includes victories against No. 1 seeds Xavier and Kansas. Syracuse’s path forward seems more difficult, but the Orange own a victory against Clemson and have Jim Boeheim’s trademark zone, which can cause issues if you haven’t seen it.
The sleeper: Oklahoma. The Sooners lost eight of their last 10 games after a first half filled with promise. But go back and watch the early part of the season, when freshman phenom Trae Young was making three-pointers from the logo and Oklahoma regularly was trouncing opponents. If the Sooners awaken, we’ve seen what they can do.
The winner: Michigan State. The temptation is to pick No. 2 Duke, which features the most talented starting lineup in the field. No. 1 Kansas has very little depth — and there’s also its dubious recent history in the NCAA Tournament. No. 3 Michigan State might be lurking a little under the radar, in part because the Big Ten tournament was so long ago that it seems like it was played in late January. In sophomore Miles Bridges, the Spartans have a superstar who’s headed to the NBA lottery. But beyond Bridges, this team has a roster that not only could get to the Final Four, it could win it.