NCAA Match Midwest Regional preview: Can Houston overcome adversity?

The Midwest Regional of the NCAA males’s tournament comes with hundreds of Texas flavor as the Nos. 1, 2 and 7 seeds all hail from the Lone Star Command — Houston, Texas and Texas A&M, respectively — any of whom would be half of a homecoming at some level of this yr’s Closing Four at NRG Stadium in Houston.

From head coach Kelvin Sampson and the Cougars at the head of the bracket to sharpshooting, upset-minded Colgate at the backside, there is hundreds to cherish a pair of regional that feels fairly wide-delivery.

Here’s a files to existence within the Midwest.

See the stout bracket right here.

[March Madness 2023: Schedule dates, locations, how to watch]

How would you assess the No. 1 seed’s route?

The preference committee’s possibility to erroneous Houston as the second No. 1 seed earlier than Kansas, which become once the third No. 1 seed, drew the ire of media individuals from a differ of outlets and networks. Even when the Cougars finished atop the NCAA NET rankings with 15-2 brand against Quad 1 and Quad 2 opponents mixed, their seven Quad 1 wins had been nowhere come the 17 gathered by the Jayhawks. Being placed earlier than Kansas additionally affords Houston the possibility to play its doable Sweet 16 and Elite Eight video games in Kansas Metropolis, an 11-hour drive from campus, fairly than Las Vegas or Sleek York.

A groin break suffered by neatly-known particular person guard Marcus Sasser within the semifinals of this yr’s American Athletic Conference tournament casts a shadow of uncertainty over Houston’s doable to attain its second final four within the last three years. Sasser become once named the AAC’s Player of the 365 days last week after averaging 17.1 capabilities, 2.8 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.7 steals per game, nonetheless he slipped and fell within the semifinal resolve over Houston and did not return. The college described Sasser’s break as a groin rigidity and held him out of the staff’s loss to Memphis within the AAC title game on Sunday afternoon.

If Sasser is healthy, the head half of of the Midwest place feels manageable for Houston. An 8-9 fight between Iowa (four losses in its last six video games) and Auburn (nine losses in its last 13 video games) appears unlikely to originate a challenger in a position to toppling the Cougars, who erroneous 11th in offensive efficiency and fourth in defensive efficiency. The No. 4 seed, Indiana, become once uncovered within the Good Ten Match attributable to its infrequent 3-level taking pictures (the Hoosiers erroneous 343rd in share of capabilities scored beyond the arc). Fifth-seeded Miami, while proficient, only confronted three conference foes ranked amongst the head 50 nationally in defensive efficiency.

Or not it is the backside half of the place things could maybe well accumulate dicey — no topic whether Sasser is at stout energy. 2nd-seeded Texas will enter the NCAA Match as one of the most freshest teams within the country. The Longhorns ended the routine season with a resounding 75-59 resolve over then-No. 3 Kansas and then rolled by diagram of the Good 12 Match by winning three video games in three days. One more thrashing of Kansas within the title game — this time by a score of 76-56 — had some of us campaigning for Texas to be a No. 1 seed.

Of the head four seeds, who has essentially the most attention-grabbing plan?

No doubt not Texas. Despite having one of the most strongest resumes within the country, the Longhorns’ half of of the Midwest place is loaded. Below the route of feeble Arizona coach Sean Miller, third-seeded Xavier has developed into the No. 9 offensive workers within the country and boasts a roster loaded with veterans. The Musketeers‘ most popular lineup from the last five video games capabilities four seniors and one junior, and Miller’s workers ranks 16th nationally in Division I expertise with an realistic of three seasons per player.

Previous Xavier, which reached the title game in this yr’s Good East Match, the Longhorns shall be challenged by both No. 7 Texas A&M or No. 10 Penn Command. The Aggies finished second within the SEC routine season bound with a 15-3 conference file and knocked off then-No. 2 Alabama in early March. The Nittany Lions raced the total method to the Good Ten title game and had been a turnover remote from having a doable game-winning shot within the final seconds. Head coach Micah Shrewsberry has his 3-level taking pictures bunch playing to boot to anybody within the field.

All of that counts as a preamble for the particular acknowledge to this place a matter to, which is No. 5 Miami. The Hurricanes had been essentially the most attention-grabbing workers within the Atlantic Flit Conference for many of the season and would were seeded increased if the backside of the league wasn’t so uninteresting. Head coach Jim Larranaga’s crew drew a friendly No. 4 seed in Indiana, which has evident offensive obstacles, and could maybe well face the place’s top seed, Houston, with the Cougars’ simplest player at lower than 100% neatly being. A assassin’s row within the backside half of of the bracket could maybe well even trim out Texas neatly earlier than the Elite Eight.

Which workers within the Nos. 5-9 differ in general is a unhappy horse?

Texas A&M has the total instruments to pose serious complications as an undervalued No. 7 seed. The Aggies enter the tournament ranked 30th in offensive efficiency and 37th in defensive efficiency, which makes them one of only 10 teams to put amongst the head 40 in both lessons. Their simplest player, Wade Taylor IV, averages nearly 17 capabilities per game with a aggregate of prolonged-differ taking pictures (78 made 3-pointers) and arduous slashes into the lane (5.9 fouls drawn per 40 minutes). They’ve wins over fellow NCAA Match entrants Missouri (twice), Auburn (twice), Arkansas (twice), Tennessee and Alabama that fueled a 12-7 file against Quad 1 and Quad 2 opponents mixed. And their head coach, Buzz Williams, has developed to the Sweet 16 or beyond in four of his eight trips to the Good Dance — three with Virginia Tech and five with Marquette. The Aggies are extra than in a position to winning the Midwest regional.

Who is a doable Cinderella within the Midwest place?

On the probability of being swayed by recency bias, 10th-seeded Penn Command appears to hold the total ingredients wanted to invent some noise in its first NCAA Match appearance since 2011. The Nittany Lions roll into March Insanity having won eight of their last 10 video games after storming by diagram of the Good Ten Match with three wins in three days to attain the title game. Led by head coach Micah Shrewsberry, whose mobile phone shall be ringing as the coaching carousel heats up within the next few weeks, Penn Command has the oldest roster in school basketball with an realistic of 4.07 seasons per player. Shrewsberry’s deft use of the transfer portal the last two seasons — his only two years in Command College — allowed him to assemble a squad that is poised, tricky and extra bodily outmoded than nearly every workers on the agenda. Main scorer Jalen Pickett (18.1 capabilities, 7.4 rebounds, 6.8 assists per game) become once a first-workers All-Good Ten performer and torments opposing guards with his dilapidated-college, throwback kind of low-put up basketball. Shrewsberry surrounded Pickett with three knockdown shooters in Andrew Funk (41.3% from 3-level differ on 247 makes an try), Seth Lundy (40.1% from 3-level differ on 212 makes an try) and Myles Fright (35.6% from 3-level differ on 146 makes an try). Larger than 43% of Penn Command’s total capabilities originated beyond the arc this season.

Who are five must-look for gamers within the Midwest place?

Murray is the twin brother of Keegan Murray, the No. 4 total purchase in last yr’s NBA Draft. The 6-foot-8, 220-pound hunch increased his scoring from 9.7 capabilities in 17.9 minutes per game a season ago to 20.5 capabilities in 34.8 minutes per game in 2022-23, score third within the Good Ten in scoring within the abet of Zach Edey of Purdue and Trayce Jackson-Davis of Indiana. He’s a succesful 3-level shooter at 33.9% and led the Hawkeyes in rebounding at 7.9 per game.

The graduate transfer by diagram of UTEP and San Francisco blossomed into one of essentially the most attention-grabbing level guards within the country beneath Miller’s guidance this season. He become once named first-workers All-Good East after averaging 16.5 capabilities, 4.3 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game as the Musketeers racked up 25 wins and a No. 16 score in KenPom. In particular harmful from beyond the arc, Boum shot 42.5% from 3-level differ on extra than five makes an try per game.

Xavier’s Souley Boum dominates, shedding 23 capabilities in Good East tourney resolve over Creighton

Xavier Musketeers’ Souley Boum introduced the warmth against the Creighton Blue Jays, shedding 23 capabilities in X’s 82-60 put.

Raise become once named Player of the 365 days within the Mid-American Conference last yr, when he averaged 17.9 capabilities, 4.5 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game after transferring from Duquesne. He adopted up with nearly identical numbers as a fifth-yr senior and guided the Golden Flashes to a 28-6 file that incorporated a 49-44 loss to then-No. 2 Houston and a 73-66 loss to then-No. 18 Gonzaga. Raise closed the yr on a high reward by averaging 22.4 capabilities per game since Feb. 21 and poured in 26 capabilities within the MAC title game against Toledo.

  • Marcus Sasser, guard, Houston

If the groin rigidity he suffered within the AAC Match proves serious, the Cougars shall be arduous-pressed to come beyond the most fundamental two rounds. Sasser become once essentially the most attention-grabbing player on the roster to realistic extra than 11 capabilities per game this season, and he become once playing his simplest basketball down the stretch: six consecutive 20-level video games from Feb. 8 by diagram of March 2 and 30 of his workers’s 60 capabilities within the AAC quarterfinals against East Carolina. He finished the season ranked ninth in KenPom’s Player of the 365 days standings.

Jackson-Davis become once essentially the most attention-grabbing unanimous first-workers All-Good Ten preference outdoors Edey, who become once named Good Ten Player of the 365 days. The senior averaged 20.8 capabilities (16th nationally), 10.9 rebounds (seventh nationally) and 4.1 assists per game in leading the Hoosiers to their second consecutive NCAA Match beneath head coach Mike Woodson. He additionally ranks sixth within the country and third amongst gamers from energy conferences in blocked photographs with 2.75 per game. Earlier this season, Jackson-Davis become the leading rebounder in school history with extra than 1,100 for his career.

Trayce Jackson-Davis turns exact into a superhero and rankings 24 capabilities to steer Indiana to victory

Indiana Hoosiers’ Trayce Jackson-Davis had a stellar performance and scored 24 capabilities against the Maryland Terrapins for an sizable 70-60 victory within the Good Ten Match.

What is basically the most attention-grabbing first-spherical matchup?

All eyes must be centered on the showdown between No. 7 Texas A&M and No. 10 Penn Command.

The feeble will feel disrespected by the NCAA preference committee for the second consecutive yr after being overlooked of the field in 2021-22 and then getting undervalued this season no topic getting the identical preference of Quad 1 wins as Houston. The latter enters March Insanity playing its simplest basketball of the season after advancing to the Good Ten title game beneath the tutelage of arguably essentially the most coveted candidate within the coaching carousel.

Whoever advances to the second spherical shall be assured it must purchase down second-seeded Texas — assuming the Longhorns don’t appear to be upended by Colgate. Both teams enter the NCAA Match with at least three wins over ranked opponents, headlined by the Aggies’ upset of then-No. 2 Alabama in early March.

Which workers must be on upset alert within the most fundamental spherical?

The extra Indiana fans uncover about their first-spherical opponent — No. 13 Kent Command — the extra nervous they could maybe well gathered change into. Led by feeble Indiana assistant Bring together Senderoff, the Golden Flashes lope into March Insanity having lost appropriate once since Feb. 3. They breezed by diagram of the MAC Match by an realistic of 13 capabilities per game and have not scored fewer than 70 capabilities within the last six weeks. Neither Kent Command nor the Hoosiers rely on 3-pointers as a fundamental offensive weapon, and Raise offers the underdogs a player who can retain stride with Jackson-Davis within the scoring column. Slim losses to fellow NCAA Match teams Houston (five capabilities), Gonzaga (seven capabilities) and College of Charleston (two capabilities) confirmed how neatly the Golden Flashes can play at their simplest. Indiana could maybe hold its hands stout.

Who shall be within the regional final, and who wins it?

The strategy of selecting a winner is refined by the break to Sasser, whose doable absence would overhaul Houston’s outlook as the No. 1 seed. If Sasser is healthy sufficient to resemble the high-diploma player he proved to be all season, then the Cougars could maybe well gathered come to the regional final. If Sasser is severely compromised or unable to play, then fifth-seeded Miami is the staff to beat within the head half of of the bracket.

On the assorted stay of the Midwest regional is Texas, the percentages-on well-liked to attain the Elite Eight. The Longhorns hold as powerful talent and expertise as anybody within the country, and so they are the purchase to come to the Closing Four no topic whether Sasser is titillating. Intervening time coach Rodney Terry, who modified the fired Chris Beard earlier this season, will place himself in an improbable speak to be awarded the stout-time job.

No. 1 Houston

No. 16 Northern Kentucky

No. 8 Iowa

No. 9 Auburn

No. 5 Miami (FL)

No. 12 Drake

No. 4 Indiana

No. 13 Kent Command

No. 6 Iowa Command

No. 11 Mississippi Command/Pittsburgh

No. 3 Xavier

No. 14 Kennesaw Command

No. 7 Texas A&M

No. 10 Penn Command

No. 2 Texas

No. 15 Colgate

Michael Cohen covers college soccer and basketball for FOX Sports actions with an emphasis on the Good Ten. Apply him on Twitter @Michael_Cohen13.

Be taught extra:

FOLLOW Apply your favorites to personalize your FOX Sports actions expertise

College Basketball

College Basketball

College Basketball

Win extra from College Basketball Apply your favorites to build up data about video games, files and extra

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to top button