We preview the upcoming NCAA tournament by taking a look at each of the regional brackets. Next up: the Midwest regional. For a good laugh, take a look at our Midwest Regional preview from a year ago.
Best First-Round Matchup
Brian: (5) Utah vs. (12) Arizona. Zona just barely made the field of 65 but have a potent offense with Jordan Hill (18.5 ppg), Chase Budinger (17.9) and Nick Wise (15.1 ppg) leading the way. The Wildcats defense? Meh. Quietly, Utah won the Mountain West conference and have quality wins over the Zags, LSU, BYU and San Diego State. This one certainly doesn't feel like your typical 5 vs. 12 matchup.
Jeff: Boston College vs. USC. This is a game a lot of people outside of our bubbles of BC and ACC basketball are actually talking about after USC's Pac-10 run and BC's marquee wins this year capped with that near miss against Duke in the conference tournament..
Matchup We'd Most Like To See
Jeff: This is a no-brainer but Boston College vs. Louisville. If BC is still playing 10 days from now I'll have nothing to complain about.
Brian: Homer picks to follow:
1) Boston College vs. Michigan State, so that Josh Southern can get what he wants, and
2) Boston College vs. West Virginia. That would be the third time in three tries that the Eagles have faced a former Big East foe in the NCAAs since jumping ship for the ACC. Current record against Big East teams post ACC expansion? 0 and 2.
Trendy Bandwagon Pick
Brian: Michigan State. Some think that Sparty deserved a No. 1 seed, and MSU will be on a mission to get back to Detroit for the Final Four. The Spartans own the offensive glass, and are one of the top 10 best defensive teams in the country. If the seeds hold through to the 8s, Louisville vs. UCLA will be a great matchup.
Jeff: Arizona. A lot of people are looking at Arizona playing a Mountain West Conference team and are throwing out the fact that Arizona is a 12 seed. Right now the Wildcats are a pick 'em against the Utes. For comparison, all the other 5 seeds are favored in their matchups.
The Sleeper Pick
Jeff: Dayton is a good pick that not many people are going to be taking. After getting by West Virginia, beating Kansas is also possible.
Brian: E-A-G-L-E-S. Eagles, Eagles, Eagles. BC will need a complete 40 minutes to beat Sparty, but if Rice, Sanders and Trapani all catch fire, I think they can pull off the upset and get back to the Sweet 16.
Watch Out For...
Brian: USC's star freshman forward DeMar DeRozan. 13.6 points per game, 5.7 boards. DeRozan and Taj Gibson will create some tough matchups for the Eagles.
Jeff: Josh Southern against Michigan State
Random Fact about the Regional that will do you no good while selecting your bracket:
This will be the 25th consecutive NCAA tournament appearance for the (12) Arizona Wildcats. Since 1985, Arizona has gone 39-23 in the tournament including the 1997 National title. Before 1985, the Cats only made the NCAAs three times (1951, 1976, 1977), never advancing past the Sweet 16. Over the past two seasons, though, Arizona has failed to get out of the first round.
Second Round: Louisville, Siena, Utah, Wake Forest, Dayton, Kansas, Boston College, Michigan St.
Sweet 16: Louisville, Wake Forest, Kansas, Boston College
Elite 8: Louisville, Kansas
Final Four Pick: Louisville
Second Round: Louisville, Ohio State, Arizona, Wake Forest, West Virginia, Kansas, Boston College, Michigan St.
Sweet 16: Louisville, Arizona, West Virginia, Boston College
Elite 8: Louisville, West Virginia
Final Four Pick: Louisville