Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Sportz Assassin's West Region Preview

Which teams will know the way to San Jose?

TEAM TO BEAT: Gonzaga. The Bulldogs waited for the final regular season game to lose for the first time.  We all know that the Zags are usually good but just haven't broken through to a Final Four despite other instances when they were deemed great.  I get the skepticism, but this team deserves its seed and deserves our respect.  You will all know Przemek Karnowski by the time the month is over. 

TEAM THAT WILL WIN THE REGION: Arizona. They are peaking at the right time and could be the first Pac 12 team to make the Final Four since UCLA did in 2008.  They are star studded and are hitting their stride at just the right time.  The Wildcats would love nothing more than to avenge their earlier loss to Gonzaga when they were without Allonzo Trier.

TEAM TO WATCH FOR (LESS THAN A NO. 3 SEED): Notre Dame. Think about this for a second.  Heading ito the final week of the season, Notre Dame was the only team would could have caught North Carolina for the ACC regular season crown (they finished just behind).  A week later, they lost the ACC title game to Duke.  This is a good team with a great player in Bonzie Colson.  They've also been to two straight Elite 8s.  

YOUR CINDERELLA: Florida Gulf Coast. Lob City is no secret ... and no fluke.  They get in-state foe Florida State in Orlando right off the bat.  An upset there and they get a wobbly Maryland or Xavier in the 2nd round with a decent shot at getting back to the Sweet 16.  Remember, the Eagles are 3-2 in NCAA Tournament play.   

WORST SEEDING ERROR: Vanderbilt. I get that their RPI and those things are good ... but this team lost 15 games this season.  Those 15 losses are the most EVER by a team that received an at-large bid.  So how in the heck did they score a No. 9 seed? .    

HOME COURT ADVANTAGE: Saint Mary's. No one playing in Salt Lake City this weekend is enjoying a huge home advantage, but if the Gaels can get to the Sweet 16, they won't have to travel far at all to San Jose.

MUST WATCH GAME: Florida State vs Florida Gulf Coast. Florida State has a ton of talent.  The Noles are deep with athletic guys who just keep coming after you.  FGCU doesn't have the level of talent, but they earned the Lob City nickname, bruh.  It should be a sparkling offensive game that has upset potential and played in both teams' home state of Florida.  Well worth watching.

MUST WATCH (POTENTIAL) SECOND ROUND GAME: West Virginia vs Notre Dame. Both teams are so tough to prepare for, especially in that second game of the weekend.  West Virginia has that interesting defense while Notre Dame's offense gives opponents fits.  Should be a great battle. 

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