Bracket Breakdown: Midwest Regional

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By: David Kay

Synopsis
The Midwest Regional is BRUTAL.  Not as brutal as suffering through Dick Vitale’s played out schtick for two hours, but nonetheless brutal.  Kansas earned the #1 overall seed but pairing the Jayhawks with Big Ten Regular Season and Tournament champion Ohio State as a two seed seems rough.  Add onto that the three seed being a Georgetown team who seems to be clicking heading into tourney and Michigan State and Tennessee who are more talented than their respective five and six seeds suggest and this is by far, the toughest of the four regionals.

Best First Round Game: #7 Oklahoma State vs. #10 Georgia Tech
If the Yellow Jackets can contain Cowboy Big 12 Player of the Year James Anderson, they have a good chance of advancing.  But if Anderson goes off like he has time and time again this season, OSU will advance.  G-Tech’s Derrick Favors and Gani Lawal form a dangerous duo inside and played well in the Jackets’ run to the ACC Tournament title game.  If the Cowboys’ bigs can keep Favors and Lawal in check, I like their chances; especially since Georgia Tech’s play has been inconsistent throughout the season. They’re the only at-large team in the field to finish with a below five-hundred record in conference.  But with their ACC Tournament run, they may have turned the corner.

Early Out: #6 Tennessee
Given the mid-season issues the Vols went through (kicking Tyler Smith off the team, the suspension of three key players) Bruce Pearl has done a phenomenal job of keeping this team together.  They upset both Kansas and Kentucky during the regular season and deserved higher than a six seed. That said, they meet an underrated San Diego State team in the opening round who is long, versatile, and athletic like Tennessee; and winners of eight of their last nine.  Even if the Volunteers survive the Aztecs, there is no way they get past G-Town in the second round.

Sleeper: #10 Georgia Tech
John Calipari said he would take skill over experience when it comes to the NCAA Tournament.  G-Tech has a little bit of both.  Sophomore Iman Schumpert, and freshmen Favors, Mfon Udofia, Maurice Miller, and Glenn Rice Junior are all extremely talented while Lawal, D’Andre Bell, and Zachery Peacock give them a nice sprinkle of experience.  Their size up-front could be tough for the four-guard line-up of Ohio State to match-up with in the second round. They also may have enough to control Greg Monroe in a potential Sweet 16 battle with Georgetown.  The question will be whether they can string it all together like they failed to do during ACC play.

Player to Watch: Aubrey Coleman, #13 Houston
The nation’s leading scorer; Coleman led the Cougars to the Conference USA tournament title as the seven seed.  The senior shooting guard won’t light it up from deep, but is deadly when attacking the basket.  He will have to be on his game against fourth-seeded Maryland if Houston is to keep their post-season run alive.  Don’t be fooled though, the Cougars proved they are more than a one-trick pony in the CUSA Championship when they knocked off UTEP despite just 13 points on a 4-20 shooting performance from Coleman.

Regional Final: #1 Kansas over #2 Ohio State
Bill Simmons’ tweet says it all; Kansas is like the smoke monster on Lost.  If you are unfamiliar with ABC show, the smoke monster is the “security system” of the island who destroys anything in it’s path.  If you can take out the monster, the island is yours.  That is sort of like KU.  This is their tournament to lose.

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Comments

  1. paulmbanks says

    I LOVE how my regional I’m covering…is the STRONGEST by far. and everyone knows it! No expert denies that…and it’s perfect how 2 TSB teams are not only in it, but also in the Milwaukee portion where I’ll be this weekend.

    And the Midwest should be the best, as this is “your most valuable option for Midwest sports”

  2. paulmbanks says

    How many picks did you get right? and how did your # look vs Lunardi, Davis etc.

  3. Melissa W. says

    I LOVE the fact you reference the smoke monster! Perfect analogy! Although, I suppose I don’t want to give Simmons that credit. He must have stolen that from someone smarter than he…

  4. I am working on a me vs. Lunardi article for tomorrow

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