CCS March Madness Regional Breakdown – West
Best Player you’ve Never Heard Of: Keith Benson – Center – Oakland
Avid basketball fans probably know who the NBA prospect is, but those who don’t pay attention may not realize it. Benson on the season has 19 double-doubles, and his 3.8 blocks per game rank 2nd in the nation. It’s rare for possibly the best player in the bracket to be on a 13th seed team. Benson is a player to look out for in their game vs Texas.
Most Overseeded: Penn State (10) – Big Ten
I think most teams in this bracket were seeded correctly, but the one team that jumps out as an overseed is the Penn State Nittany Lions. Without three wins in the Big Ten tourney the Lions don’t even make the bracket. Even if they lose in the semi’s they probably don’t make the bracket so to me 10 is a bit high. 11 or a play in game would have been more fitting.
Most Underseeded: Texas (4)- Big 12
Texas. Without a doubt. How did they end up with a 4 seed, when 10 days ago they were in contention for a number one seed. I know they lost 3 of 4 late in February, but they still came back and got the Big 12 championship. I thought Texas would get a 2 or a 3 at the lowest.
Upset Alert: Missouri – Big 12
Missouri over Cincinatti seems like the most logical upset, though according to Vegas it wouldn’t be an upset as the game right now is a pick ’em. Regardless an 11 over a 6 is still an upset bid, and honestly I don’t see any lower teams winning their first game.
Surprise Team: Temple Owls – Atlantic 10
I think the Owls got a pretty favorable matchup in the first round, and then will most likely play MWC conference champ San Diego State in the second round. I think this is a game the Owls can win.
The number two seed San Diego State Aztecs have never won a NCAA tournament game. Going 0-6 in their history. This year barring a huge upset they will get that first tourney win.
(1) Duke vs (16) Hampton
No 16 seed team has ever beaten a number 1 team and there is no reason to think this would be any different. This could be a low scoring affair as both teams rank in the top 10 in defense for opponents points per possession as well as opponents FG%. Still Duke wins this one easily.
(8) Michigan vs. (9) Tennessee
Despite starting 1-7 in the Big Ten the Wolverines were able to claw their way to a 9-9 conference record. Tennessee was also able to go .500 in their conference. Tennessee is an interesting team. They have a lot of quality wins (vs Pittsburgh, vs Memphis and Vandy (twice)), but they also have some awful losses (@ Charlotte??? Really???). Tennessee can beat anyone any given night but can also lose to anyone. I will take the team that has been more stable of late and pick Michigan to take on Duke.
(5) Arizona vs. (12) Memphis
While the 5-12 matchup has always been a nightmare for 5 seeds, I don’t see this one as a potential upset. All of the matchup models give Arizona at least a 67% chance of winning and I think that holds true. I think Arizona‘s offense is just too much for Memphis to handle.
(4) Texas v (13) Oakland
I realize that Oakland has only lost one game since Christmas, and I also realize that Texas is 4-4 in their last 8. I also realize that this is everyone “sexy” upset pick. I just don’t see it. Oakland has two poor losses and one quality win. Texas has 12 quality wins and no poor losses. Something will have to give though as Oakland ranks in the top 5 offensively in points per possession and FG%, where as Texas ranks in the top 5 defensively in those same categories. I think Texas wins this one easily, probably by more than the Vegas line of 9.5.
(6) Cincinnati vs. (11) Missouri
I think this is the game of the first round in the west bracket. Cinci has yet to lose a game out of conference, and all of its 8 losses were to top 38 RPI teams. Missouri however is a top 38 RPI team (28), and that could pose a threat to the Bearcats. Neither team seems to have a glaring weakness, nor a huge strength. This should be a very even game, but I think that Cincinnati squeaks one out.
(3) Connecticut vs (14) Bucknell
UConn really played themselves into a 3 seed by winning the Big East tournament. UConn had to win 5 games in 5 days to accomplish that feat. Since the beginning of the month UConn has had to play 7 games, where as Bucknell has only played 3. I think UConn could both be tired and in line for a let down game. I could see Bucknell even leading this game at the half, but I think that UConn’s talent will overcome the Bison’s and Connecticut will move on to the next round.
(7) Temple vs (10) Penn State
A week ago Penn State wasn’t in the dance, but a nice Big 10 tourney vaulted them into the bracket. They face a tough Temple squad that is looking to get past the first round for the first time since 2001 when they reached the elite 8 as an 11 seed. Temple is very strong on defense, and I think that should propel them to the final 32.
(2) San Diego State vs (15) Northern Colorado
Northern Colorado comes in as champions of the Big Sky conference, and get to face a team that has only been beaten by one other team this year in San Diego State. This figures to be an easy win for the Aztecs, as when they play inferior teams the Aztecs cruise. San Diego State in big fashion over the Bears.
——-Sweet 16 Projection——–
1. Duke vs 5. Arizona
2. San Diego State vs 6. Cincinnati
ChiCitySports Regional Breakdown – East – West – Southwest – Southeast
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