The Midwest Regional boasts the number 1 Seed in the Tournament, Louisville. The rest of the field will encompass Michigan State (2), Kansas (3), Wake Forest (4), Utah (5), West Virginia (6), Boston College (7), Ohio State (8), Siena (9), USC (10), Dayton (11), Arizona (12), Cleveland State (13), North Dakota State (14,), Robert Morris (15), and either Alabama State or Morehead State at (16).
Best matchup of the Region. Dayton vs. West Virginia. West Virginia won 23 games this year, including 10 in the powerful Big East Conference. Devin Ebanks will have to be a rebounding fool if the Mountaineers are off their game beyond the arc. Dayton won 26 games this year in the A-10 but fell to Duquesne in the A-10 Tournament 66-77. Dayton lost Rob Lowery for the season on February 11 and have gone just over .500 since then. They still man a squad that is capable of putting some points on the board and could create problems for West Virginia who has played a hellatious last five games against Pittsburgh, DePaul, Louisville, Notre Dame and Syracuse.
Biggest Lock. Louisville over Alabama State or Morehead State. One of those teams will just be glad to make the tournament, however; they should pack lightly to Dayton.
Most Boring Game Ohio State vs. Siena. Have you seen the Big 10 play basketball this year? They will bore you to death, if you don't change the channel first. The Buckeyes lost to Purdue in the Big 10 Tournament 65-61. They have won 22 games this year but have fallen to Illinois twice and also lost to West Virginia by 28 points. Siena meanwhile has won 26 games this year in the MAC conference and bring a totally different tempo than Ohio State to the floor. Whoever controls the game's tempo will win this one. Look for Ohio State to half-court Siena to death while Siena will look to run off of tournovers and beat Ohio State down the floor.
Arizona's Draw Many were skeptical of Arizona even making the dance, but here they are. Matched up against a potent Utah team who has won 24 games this season in the Mountain West Conference. Utah has lost to Oklahoma this year by 18 points and Utah State by 2. If their guy Nevill gets shut down, they are going to be forced to try and make something happen on the perimeter. Lawrence Borha is the man to watch out for. He shoots 40.7% from beyond the arc and averages 11.7 ppg. Shaun Green can also light it up from outside, hitting 40.3% of his three pointers. They average 71.2 ppg while holding opponents to 40.1% from the field.
Arizona's 12 seed is their first ever. It is also the Cats lowest seed since the inception of the seeding process in 1985. The dreaded 12-5 matchups for the higher ranked team is about to pay off again, in my opinion. The Cats are poised to breakout of their slump and have had success against the Mountain West Conference in the past. We'll get more into the preview later this week, but for now, let's just say that this game is going to be a great matchup (favoring Arizona of course) on Friday.