Fan-I Bracketology: West Region
The West Region might be the weakest of the 4. Only one team in the past 60 years has won a National Championship (Arizona 1997) while 12 of the 16 never won. The Midwest region has a combined 18 total championships.
The Arizona Wildcats were the best team in the country during the 1st half of the season. While on a 21-0 streak, they defeated SDSU, Duke, Michigan, New Mexico State, UCLA, and Arizona State, all tourney teams. Zona plays great defense with size and athleticism at each position, reason why they went on that 21-0 run. The 2nd half of the season is when things change for the Wildcats. All four of their losses were from conference foes and was on the road. Despite their troubles, they are still one of the best teams in the country. Nick Johnson and Aaron Gordon provide great energy but this a team that can run 8 players
OK State has two of the best players in their back court. Marcus Smart and Markel Brown combined averages 35 points a game, both are strong, athletic, and plays solid defense. On paper, the Cowboys look like one of the best teams in the country, too bad basketball not played on paper. Along with being a talented team, they also been one of the most inconsistent teams this year. The Cowboys have a 7 game losing streak and 2nd round exit in the BIG 12 tourney on their resume. The thing that really scares me about OK State is their size down bottom. Le'Bryan Nash is their only post presence but he stand only 6'7. Kamari Murphy and Michael Cobbins are both 6'8 but that not enough for a team like Arizona who has 7'0 and 6'10 in their front court . OK State is a tough team but the road to the final four will be a tough one.
- 14- seed UL- Lafayette - The Rajun Cajuns are 8-2 in their last 10 games and won their last 4 games by a combined 9 points. Rajun Cajuns also have a solid 1-2 punch with Elfrid Payton and Shawn Long.
Creighton played like the best team in the BIG East but 2nd in the regular season standings and a loss in the BIG East championship game didn't prove that. The Blue Jays without question has the best player in the tournament in McDermott but that's it. No one else on the starting 5 averages more than 11 points. The Blue Jays are not new to the big dance, making it to the Sweet 16 last year but they do have a winning record, 11-16 all time. They do have experience and shooters on their side, 4 seniors on the starting 5. It's hard to go against the Blue Jays because of McDermott, who can give you 30 a game this entire tournament but it's going to come down to his supporting cast.
Players to Watch
Under Coach Bo Ryan, the Badgers have never missed an NCAA Tournament. Ryan has been Wisconsin coach since 2001 and has two 30 win seasons under his belt but the Badgers have never made it past the Sweet 16. This isn't Bo Ryan's best team but they can go deep in the region. This is a team that has knocked off Florida and Michigan State, two of the favorites in this year's tournament.
- Arizona v. Oklahoma State 2nd round
- Creighton v. Baylor 2nd round
- San Deigo State v Arizona Sweet 16
- Creighton v. Wisconsin Sweet 16
Region Winner: Arizona