Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Sportz Assassin's Midwest Region Preview

TEAM TO BEAT: Louisville. The won a wicked Big East tournament and get a very favorable venue list to get to the Final Four.  I buy into the notion that guard play is paramount in the NCAA tournament and the Cardinals have that in spades.

TEAM THAT WILL WIN THE REGION: Louisville. I think it is laid out pretty well for Rick Pitino's bunch.  Short trips to Lexington and Indianapolis, a paved road to the Elite 8 and a very flawed No. 2 seed possibly waiting for them.

TEAM TO WATCH FOR (LESS THAN A NO. 3 SEED):Creighton. Stop if you've heard this before: an experienced team with a player that can carry them.  Doug McDermott is a POY candidate who can put up points on anyone and the experience of playing tough teams in the tournament.

YOUR CINDERELLA: Oregon. The Ducks are tough and underseeded (see below).  In a region that I feel will be mostly chalk, Oregon could be the one school to sneak into the Sweet 16.

WORST SEEDING ERROR: Oregon. The Pac-12 tournament champions were completely disrespected with a No. 12 seed.  They struggled without freshman point guard Dominic Artis during the season, but he's back and the Ducks are playing very well of late.

HOME COURT ADVANTAGE: Louisville. A no-brainer and the spoils of being the top overall seed.  Lexington, then Indianapolis, then Final Four.

MUST WATCH GAME: Oklahoma State vs Oregon. Sorry for acting like I'm sounding the Oregon trumpet, but a woefully underseeded Ducks team plays a sketchy Oklahoma State team making their first tournament appearance since 2010.

MUST WATCH (POTENTIAL) SECOND ROUND GAME: Duke vs Creighton. Two experienced and talented teams squaring off in Philly.  Duke has lost just once with Ryan Kelly playing ... that that was also the last game they played.  I'll love watching this game to see a tough nosed battle.  Maybe McDermott and Seth Curry can put on a show.

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