CDA News’ look at the NCAA tournament continues with a full breakdown of the Midwest Region. Kansas is the top seed in the region, which includes Louisville, Purdue, Oregon, Iowa State and others. The 16 teams here will be playing for the right to get to Kansas City, Mo., for the regional semifinals and finals.
Most Intriguing Game: Purdue vs. Vermont. Nobody has been able to beat the Catamounts in quite a while, as Vermont brings the nation’s longest winning streak into the tournament. That usually bodes well for teams, and so does the fact that in recent years, every team that sweeps through its league undefeated has won at least one NCAA tournament game. But Vermont hasn’t seen a team like Purdue all season, and the Boilermakers have bulk down low. This one could go either way.
Most Likely Upset: Rhode Island over Creighton, and the Rams might not stop there. Rhode Island enters the Midwest Region having just won its conference tournament and finally having its lineup healthy after injuries nearly derailed Dan Hurley’s team. Creighton, meanwhile, isn’t all that healthy. The Bluejays have managed to stay afloat, but that eventually catches up with a team, and this might be where that happens.
Lowest Seed In the Sweet 16: Remember how Creighton isn’t healthy? Neither is Oregon, Rhode Island’s likely second-round opponent. Chris Boucher’s injury in the Pac-12 tournament dropped the Ducks down to the 3 line, and it likely cost them a chance at a run to the Final Four. Without Boucher, Oregon doesn’t have the size inside to be the team it can be, and that bodes very well for the Rhode Island Rams.
Highest Seed to Fall Early: Oregon. It could be any of the top four, as Kansas and Louisville have tough second-round foes waiting for them, but the Ducks just aren’t the same team they were a week ago. Oregon could still bounce back and make a run, but odds are they’re dismissed a little earlier than people thought before the Pac-12 tournament.
The Region Champion Will Be: Louisville. The Cardinals seem like the most stable team in the Midwest Region, which is ridiculously volatile and could have any of five or six possible champions emerge unscathed. You can make a case for any of the top six seeds, but you can also make a case against any of them. Even Rhode Island could come out of this region, and that would be a truly gutsy pick. However, the fact that it’s seen as possible shows how crazy this region could be.
Readers, are the Cardinals the NCAA Tournament chosen ones? Do you have another sleeper beyond Rhode Island? Can Kansas overcome no wins in its conference tournament? Sound off in the comments!
Commentary by Dan Angell
Photo Courtesy Twitter