If there is ever a time to make bold predictions, it’s the NCAA Tournament. As far across the nation pretend that they have any idea of the relative merits of Wright State, St. Bonaventure and Loyola-Chicago, there’s somebody who will tell you anything.

There are people who can convince you that every possible favorite is an upset waiting to happen, that every underdog is the new Gonzaga or George Mason, and that the bracket you were sure about 15 minutes ago is garbage.

That’s where we come in. Usually, we tell you crazy random things and many of them don’t happen. This time, we’re telling you crazy random things and they will happen. Maybe. Hey, at least we’re honest about what we don’t know.

1. There is a Kentucky team involved in a first-round upset … but it’s Murray State.

Everybody hyping Davidson is doing Kentucky a huge favor. The Wildcats might have slept through this game, but Davidson has been turned into the ’84 Celtics by some upset-minded media. Sure, Davidson can shoot. But don’t forget that UK was 4th in the NCAA in 3-point defense. They’re not losing the opener.

Meanwhile, the kids from Murray State are a dangerous No. 12 seed. Murray also defends the three well (8th in the NCAA), and senior guard Jonathan Stark is one of the most prolific shooters in the country. Murray also isn’t prone to throwing the ball all over the gym, and can handle West Virginia’s non-stop pressure. Take the Racers and look smart.

2. Don’t believe the negativity: 2 SEC teams make the Sweet 16.

Since the SEC got eight teams in the Tournament, the trend isn’t to devalue the league as a whole — but just to claim that without any elite teams, the SEC doesn’t make it to the second week. Not so fast. The league will put two teams in the Sweet 16 from the South Region. Sure, Tennessee isn’t glamorous. But the Vols are tough, they rebound well, they defend well, and they’re not going to lose to either a flaky Miami team or an upset-minded Loyola of Chicago squad.

Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Meanwhile, folks outside of Lexington are busy writing off Kentucky. That’s fine. Arizona has some talent, but those Cats struggled all year, and won’t be bothered to defend enough to keep a relatively hot Kentucky squad out of the win column.

The SEC will have its struggles. Sorry, Arkansas. But two teams make the Sweet 16 from the league.

3. Either Xavier or Kansas won’t make the Sweet 16.

Sure, it’s a Tournament in which top seeds dominate … except when they don’t. Forgive us for not drinking the Xavier Kool-aid. And for that matter, Kansas is consistently the most upset-prone blue blood program in the NCAA. One or the other of these guys is going down over the weekend.

4. The bottom of the East bracket is a great place for an upset — or three.

The lower half of the East bracket looks like the NIT. Texas Tech is overvalued and ice-cold. Purdue is, well, Purdue. They’ll be given credit when they actually win a meaningful game in March. If anybody out there has any faith in Florida, they’d be a fine pick. I don’t. Maybe it’s St. Bonaventure, maybe it’s Butler. Somebody has to come out of that region, and it looks like a fine place for a high seed. Whoever it is, they’re not dislodging Villanova for a Final Four berth anyway.

5. Auburn goes down to New Mexico State.

Sorry, Tiger fans. The end is nigh, but the unexpected twist is that it’s the mighty Aggies of New Mexico State who do the job. All those guys do is defend — they allow the 10th-fewest points per game in the NCAA, and hold opponents to the fifth-lowest shooting percentage. Senior guard Zach Lofton is the best player you’ve never heard of, and after he leads the Aggies to the Sweet 16, you’ll hear plenty about him. Hopefully, Bruce Pearl can avoid any post-game dust-ups with strength coaches.

6. The Big Ten gets shut out of the Final Four.

Michigan State is kind of a glamorous pick, which is odd for a No. 3 seed, but hey, we’re all throwing darts blindfolded at this time of year. But their path runs through Duke, which is probably the most talented team in the country. Purdue inherits an incredibly weak draw — until it runs into Villanova in the Elite Eight. Michigan can’t outlast North Carolina. The Big Ten spends Final Four weekend thinking about Urban Meyer.

Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

7. Gonzaga goes back-to-back on Final Fours.

Gonzaga will avenge itself on North Carolina in the Elite Eight. The Tar Heels get a week draw, and will be overconfident in Los Angeles against the Zags. This UNC team doesn’t have the talent of last year’s edition. Surprise your boss — beat him with Gonzaga in the Final Four.

8. Collin Sexton makes Villanova really nervous.

I’ve already publicly picked Villanova to win the whole thing, but there’s an element of me that says that Collin Sexton will mess with their mojo. The eventual champion usually has that one tough early game that they’re lucky to survive. I see it being Bama for this Villanova team.

9. Michael Porter repeats his SEC Tournament one-and-done.

It’s nearly tragic, but Michael Porter Jr., will again leave us wondering what might have been. What if he had played eight or 10 games, worked himself into better basketball shape, been more prepared to actually play with his teammates instead of jacking up random shots? We’ll never know, but another ugly game against Florida State means we got three games of the SEC’s alleged top talent.

10. That lady in your office who wouldn’t know a Volunteer from a Quaker will win the Pool.

Probably because you listened to me. Chalk will do well, probably better than we all think. Have fun, hydrate well, and enjoy the best Thursday and Friday in sports.