Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Sportz Assassin's Midwest Region Preview

Chicago's "Bean"

TEAM TO BEAT: Virginia. The Cavaliers are the only No. 1 seed to not win either a regular season or conference tournament title (they finished 2nd to North Carolina in both instances).  But the Cavs have one of the most efficient offenses in the country to go along with that stout Pack Line defense.  Malcolm Brogdon has had one of the best seasons in the nation and is so tough to guard.  With limited amount of time to prepare, teams will have a tough time against the Cavs. 

TEAM THAT WILL WIN THE REGION: Michigan State. Sparty won the Big Ten tournament title and has possible POY candidate Denzel Valentine.  Michigan State is notoriously known as a tough tournament squad and Tom Izzo one of the best tournament coaches.  This is a great shooting team that passes well and plays tough.

TEAM TO WATCH FOR (LESS THAN A NO. 3 SEED): Purdue. The Boilermakers are tough, physical and big.  They are also not scared of a team like Virginia or Michigan State.  

YOUR CINDERELLA: Gonzaga. The irony is that the Zags may be more dangerous when no one expects anything from them.  Mark Few still is a pretty darn good coach and Kyle Wiltjer is still a pretty darn good player.  The Bulldogs have less room for error than usual, but they can pull off a few upsets and get to the Sweet 16.  

WORST SEEDING ERROR: Syracuse. I am not sure they should even be in the tournament, but here they are.  The fact that they are a No. 10 seed is stunning.  How are they not in a First Four game?  The Orange have lost 5 of 6 with a shaky resume yet somehow made it in.    

HOME COURT ADVANTAGE: Michigan State. Well, there are some interesting home deals.  Virginia in Raleigh and Utah in Denver.  But when this thing gets to Chicago, that's where Michigan State, Purdue and Iowa State will shine.  Still, I think the mix of St. Louis and Chicago is the best here.

MUST WATCH GAME: Seton Hall vs Gonzaga. Gonzaga is my Cinderella, but Seton Hall is also a team who could make an unlikely run in this region.  They are a really, really, really good team who can do some damage.  There are next level players in this one and Gonzaga could have a better fan advantage in Denver.

MUST WATCH (POTENTIAL) SECOND ROUND GAME: Iowa State vs Purdue. Purdue's big front line against Georges Niang.

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