MIDWEST REGION PREDICTIONS – 2012 NCAA Tournament Free Picks & Sleepers
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The Midwest bracket in this year’s Big Dance is a sweet one and can any team disrupt which what would be a killer match up in the Elite 8 with the region’s top seed North Carolina facing 2nd seed Kansas? While that remains to be seen all other teams after UNC and Kansas are seen as somewhat long shots to win the region.
Midwest Bracket – The Elite
1. UNC Tar Heels
Yeah, the Tar Heels lost the ACC Championship game falling to Florida State, but UNC is simply stacked and they have the nation’s 2nd highest scoring team and they are the best rebounding team in the nation. They have the best frontcourt in the nation with the trio of Harrison Barnes, Tyler Zeller, and John Henson. Not only that, but G Kendall Marshall ranks 2nd in the nation in assists per game.
Kansas lost in the semis of the Big 12 tourney and that loss was big, as it likely cost them a #1 seed. Still, the Jayhawks are loaded with Player of the Year candidate Thomas Robinson (17.9 ppg 11.8 rpg) and senior G Tyshawn Taylor (17.3 ppg). One player that is key, especially if they face UNC in the Elite 8, is 7′ C Jeff Withey, who must play well in the paint to take some pressure off Robinson.
It is hard to put any other team in the Midwest Region in the contenders’ list, as the region may be the weakest after looking at UNC and Kansas. Still, here are a few.
The Hoyas played in the tough Big East this season and while they beat 5 ranked teams they did lose to Kansas early in the season. Georgetown has lost their last 2 Big Dance opening round games and they have to win with their D since they are not a high scoring team.
The Wolverines have a solid defense and they had some good wins this season, but were spanked by Ohio State in their last game.
The Owls are a bit of a wild card factor, but I will put them with the contenders since they beat Duke this season. Temple has a solid offense with a couple of guys averaging over 17 ppg, but their D is suspect and if they face UNC in the Sweet 16 they may get killed on the boards. Still, the Owls can light up the scoreboard and if they are hot they have a chance to beat anybody, just ask Duke.
I think all the teams in the Midwest Region are sleepers, but here are a few teams that may do some damage. A couple face each other in the first round in 11th seed NC State (21.00) and 6th seed San Diego State (36.00). The Aztecs have been overachievers all season, but they can score and face a NC State team that is playing well and only lost to UNC by 2 points in the ACC tournament.
Can you name the first team All American’s in the Midwest Region. Well, Kansas’ Thomas Robinson and North Carolina’s Tyler Zeller are 2 and the other is Creighton’s Doug McDermott. He averaged over 23 ppg this season and the team ranks 7th in the nation in scoring and 1st in team FG%.
The Bluejays beat SDSU this season, but they not only have to get past a tough defensive team in Alabama in the first round, but then possibly face UNC in the 2nd round.
I do not see any way there is not a UNC vs. Kansas match up in the regional final and even though I like the Jayhawks I have to go with the Tar Heels to win the Midwest since their frontcourt will be able to deal with Robinson in the paint.
Here are the odds to win the Midwest Region:
411 North Carolina +162
412 Kansas +217
413 Georgetown +1100
414 Michigan +1726
415 Temple +2029
416 San Diego St. +3043
417 St. Mary’s +3043
418 Creighton +5071
419 Alabama +3986
420 Purdue +2029
421 North Carolina St. +1726
422 California +5071
423 South Florida +10142
424 Ohio +10142
425 Belmont +2029
426 Detroit +15211
427 Vermont +20281
428 Lamar +20281