The final region of our Regional Breakdowns
The Connecticut Huskies will be the #1 seed in this region. UConn will be followed by a field including: (2) Memphis, (3) Missouri, (4) Washington, (5) Purdue, (6) Marquette, (7) California, (8) BYU, (9) Texas A&M, (10) Maryland, (11) Utah State, (12) Northern Iowa, (13) Mississippi State, (14) Cornell, (15) Cal State Northridge, and (16) Chattanooga.
Best Matchup. BYU vs. Texas A&M. Last year these two teams met in the tournament in the exact same matchup. The #8 BYU against the #9 Texas A&M in the first round of the west region. The selection committee must've liked the matchup because they're matched up again this year. In last year's game the Aggies won by a score of 67-62 led by Junior Josh Carter's 26 points. Well he's back this year averaging 2 points per game more than he was last year so expect the Cougars to pull out all kinds of defensive schemes to stop him. Brigham Young started off their season with 10 straight wins and hit a bumpy stretch, but have finished their season winning 9 of their last 10. Expect this game to be a close game with good shooting from both teams.
Biggest Lock. Memphis vs. Cal State Northridge. I stepped out of the box a little bit by not picking the 1 vs. 16, but not by too much. Memphis is the strongest of the 2 seeds and Cal State Northridge is lucky to not be a 15. The Big West was very weak this year and CSUN got in after a thrilling overtime victory over Pacific. The Matadors will be playing inspired basketball, but they wont have nearly enough to take down Memphis.
Best Sleeper Pick. Marquette. The Eagles are a very strong team that struggled down the stretch against the very strong Big East. If this team gets hot again starting with a win against Utah State we could see more proof of how strong and deep the Big East was this year. They will need strong performances by their senior leaders, Jerel McNeal, Dominic James and Wesley Matthews, to get back to level they were earlier in the season.
Pac-10 Draw. California got a tough draw with Maryland who has the ability to surprise not only the bears, but maybe even Memphis if they can get past the first round. Jerome Randle will get his first tournament action and he'll be the key to Cal's success if he can shoot even half as well as he did against Arizona a few weeks ago.
Washington will also compete in this region and they get a favorable first round matchup against Mississippi State who only made the tournament by the hairs on their chinny chin chin. If the Huskies can get by the first round they'll probably be playing the Purdue Boilermakers which would make for a great 2nd round matchup.