West Region Preview
March 14, 2011
Here is a preview of the West Region and the odds for each team at 5Dimes to win the NCAA Tournament.
Big shock that Duke (5.35/1) snagged a number one seed and they won the ACC conference tournament beating North Carolina in the final. The defending champions have G Nolan Smith (21.3 ppg) and F Kyle Singler (17.1 ppg) and the Blue Devils’ defense has been stellar in their last few games.
Hard to put second seed San Diego State (19/1) as a favorite, but the Aztecs did win 32 games this season and they have the nation’s 6th ranked defense. Still, SDSU was only 2-2 against ranked teams this season.
Third seed UCONN (26/1) is definitely a favorite to come out of the West, as they won the killer Big East conference tournament beating four ranked teams in the process. Star G Kemba Walker is one of the best players in the nation and the Huskies rank 11th in the nation in rebounds per game. Also, they are in the bottom half of the West bracket, which is much weaker than the top half.
Texas (19/1) is the fourth seed and they advanced to the Big 12 conference finals and they have a couple of stars in Jordan Hamilton and F Tristan Thompson. They were 6-3 against teams ranked in the top 25 this season including beating Kansas on their home court.
Maybe With a Little Luck
I think fifth seed Arizona needs a lot of luck, as while the Wildcats are a good team they only rank 195th in the nation in rebounds per game and they only rank 149th in opponents’ points per game.
Sixth seed Cincinnati (116/1) was in the tough Big East and they won 25 games on the season. The Bearcats have the nation’s 8th ranked defense and they will need to win with their D since they are not a high scoring team.
There are a lot of sleepers in this region, but the top seeds of Duke, SDSU, UCONN, and Texas make it unlikely that a dark horse will make it out of the West. Both eighth seed Michigan (276/1) and Tennessee (251/1) have good teams, but the winner of their first round game will face Duke in the second round. Seventh seed Temple (176) has a legitimate shot to upset SDSU in the second round if they can get by a good Penn State (276/1) in the first round. A couple weeks back I would have said 11th seed Missouri (136/1) was a good dark horse in this tournament, but I think the West is one of the tougher regions and the Tigers lost four of their last five games.