Monday, March 18, 2013

2013 March Madness - West Region (First Weekend)

The West region is where there could be some turbulence the first weekend. That is because mid-major but not really a mid-major darling Gonzaga is the number one seed. The Zags resume isn't overly impressive but their 31-2 overall record was too hard for the committee not to reward. Another mid-major darling in the region is number three seed New Mexico. Everyone seems to be really high on the Lobos, but I still can't shake the fact that they should have lost to mediocre George Mason back in November. The one power that hopes to emerge from this region is #2 seed and Big Ten tournament champions Ohio State, but if things go the way I forsee their season will end on Sunday.

Best Game: #5 Wisconsin vs. #12 Mississippi

Boring Wisconsin, led by stodgy Bo Ryan going up against the brashest douche you will ever see Marshall Henderson of Ole Miss. The Rebels are a strong scoring and rebounding team, but haven't seen defense the likes of what the Badgers will play. Guard Ben Brust and forward-center Jared Berggren play the inside out game for Wisconsin. For the Rebels, everyone knows Henderson but forward Murphy Holloway is also a very accomplished player. Not only does he score while shooting 56%, he also averages 9.6 rebounds per game. Games where you see two teams with very distinct styles that are completely opposite are always entertaining. Add in the personality of Henderson and you have one of the most must see games this week. Not often you can say that about a game Wisconsin is going to be involved in.

Player to Watch: Mississippi guard Marshall Henderson 

It is hard to say whether Henderson is more known for his 20 point per game average and overrated shooting ability, or for his look at me taunting attitude. Sure, if Henderson was on North Carolina or George Mason I would probably love him, but he isn't and I can't stand him. The guy shoots 38% and acts like he is God's gift to basketball. He jacks up shots constantly and that is the main reason he averages 20 points a game. One area where is excellent is his free throw shooting, so he would be better served trying to get closer to the rim. But even with what I have said, he has done things to earn attention and has me saying you better watch him this week.

Best Potential Game: #2 Ohio State vs. #10 Iowa State

They Cyclones aren't very well known but come Monday I think people will learn that they have moved on nicely from Royce White. They Cyclones rank fourth in scoring, 21st in rebounding, 14th in assists per game, and 70th in field goal percentage. Those are very strong overall numbers for a ten seed. The main reason they have struggled is they play terribly on the defensive end. Their best play is their oversized 6'7 guard. Will Clyburn. A transfer from Utah, Clyburn averages 15 points, 7 rebounds and 2 assists per game. The Buckeyes best players Deshaun Thomas and point guard Aaron Craft. If these teams meet in round three, this will be another contrast of styles matchup. The Buckeyes are a typical, grind it out Big Ten team, and it would be interesting to see if they could deal with the speed of the Cyclones.

Lowest Seed to Make It Through Weekend: #10 Iowa State

It seems there is always at least one 2 seed going down in the third round and this year I think the Buckeyes fit that bill. They are a little overvalued right now coming off win the Big Ten Tournament, and I think the Cyclones play a brand of basketball that will serve them well this week. While I have my doubts about New Mexico and Gonzaga, I feel like who they drew will allow them to survive this weekend.


First Round

#13 La Salle over #13 Boise State

Second Round

#1 Gonzaga over #16 Southern

#8 Pittsburgh over #9 Wichita State

#5 Wisconsin over #12 Mississippi

#4 Kansas State over #13 La Salle

#6 Arizona over #11 Belmont

#3 New Mexico over #14 Harvard

#10 Iowa State over #7 Notre Dame

#2 Ohio State over #15 Iona

Third Round

#1 Gonzaga over #8 Pittsburgh

#4 Kansas State over #5 Wisconsin

#3 New Mexico over #6 Arizona

#10 Iowa State over #2 Ohio State

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