NCAA Tournament West Regional preview: Who poses a threat to Kansas?
This one year’s West Regional might perhaps perhaps very neatly be basically the most fascinating of all four quadrants of the NCAA males’s match bracket. There are various Hall of Standing coaches on the sidelines, a dozen or so doable NBA Draft picks, plus several nationwide championship-caliber applications dotting the seed traces and so much of of storylines to peep.
And, oh yeah, it’s the NCAA Tournament in Vegas for the first time ever on the lustrous unique T-Cell Area. While convention tournaments had been going to Sin Metropolis for a few years, the true fact that right here’s the West Regional coming to metropolis might perhaps perhaps restful toughen the action even bigger than it veritably would.
So double down and dive in because the path to the Closing Four starts to protect form out West.
[March Madness 2023: Schedule dates, locations, how to watch]
How would you assess the 1-seed’s route?
For Kansas, it’s the toughest route ought to you glide by the final seed line (high four total: 31) nevertheless, all issues regarded as, winnable for a crew that precise overlooked out on landing within the dwelling regional over in Kansas Metropolis. Howard is no longer one of many strongest of 16 seeds and the 2d-spherical matchup ingredients both of Arkansas or Illinois – each critically mistaken groups who can comprise anguish scoring on the Jayhawks.
The bottom half of the bracket does feature several complex opponents nevertheless even a 3-seed like Gonzaga, which is KenPom’s No. 8 crew, is no longer relatively on the same stage of previous editions entering the match. Plus, while some might perhaps perhaps see at taking half in UCLA in Las Vegas as a elaborate spoil given the proximity to Westwood, the true fact that the Bruins are with out Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year Jaylen Clark makes them less of a threat to the tip seed than they had been precise per week ago.
Of high four seeds, who has most gripping draw?
Might well perhaps it’s… Gonzaga?
The Bulldogs drew a 3-seed after convincingly successful the WCC Tournament and know Las Vegas neatly from all their journeys there over the years. Impress Few’s crew has among the many becoming offenses within the nation again this season and are critically peaking on the titillating time. That is a neighborhood that has been strive in opposition to-tested nevertheless can additionally protect pleasure in a decently favorable draw, too.
Mountainous Canyon went 24-11 below Bryce Drew this season nevertheless have to no longer pose too essential of a trouble within the first spherical. Their 2d spherical game in Denver will in all probability be up in opposition to one of three applications who glide lengthy stretches with out scoring consistently.
Plus, might perhaps perhaps restful they originate it to Vegas, they’ll doubtlessly have to face off in opposition to a UCLA neighborhood whose athletic big man Adem Bona has a shoulder wound and additionally will in all probability be with out the products and providers of defender Clark. An Elite Eight matchup in opposition to Kansas wouldn’t be fun, nevertheless ought to you are going to attract the reigning champions who’re additionally a No. 1 seed within the assign, it’s no longer the worst thing within the field to comprise one which precise got blown out in their convention match remaining.
Given how huge open the arena appears to be like to attract shut the nationwide championship, there might perhaps be no take a look at that Gonzaga might perhaps perhaps discontinue up being a genuine wager to originate it all the becoming technique to Houston.
Which 5-9 seed is frequently a depressing horse?
It might perhaps perhaps very neatly be charge taking of project on Northwestern. The Wildcats are within the NCAA Tournament for precise the 2d time ever and might perhaps perhaps very neatly be fired up to head to Sacramento to protect on an underrated Boise Instruct and, in all probability, a banged-up UCLA.
Colossal Ten Coach of the Year Chris Collins’ crew pushed Penn Instruct to time beyond law on Saturday in Chicago and confirmed they’ve what it takes to beat big names having toppled worn No. 1 crew Purdue precise remaining month. Tear Audige is a tenacious defender and the senior guard kinds a pleasant fun backcourt with Boo Buie that can originate you pay at each ends.
Northwestern has one of many better defenses within the assign and appears to be like to be unstoppable at events if its photographs are falling. The Wildcats will in all probability be furious at what’s to return throughout the first weekend and within the occasion that they discover sizzling, might perhaps perhaps neatly lumber some momentum that their mates within the media are certain to focus on.
Outside of the ‘Cats, Saint Mary’s is in a same arena within the occasion that they’ll discover previous their opener. They’re KenPom’s No. 11 crew – one arena before Colossal East champ Marquette – and comprise one of many more balanced squads that can beat you any various of systems. Randy Bennett is conscious of his draw around March and the formulation the Gaels boring issues down suggest any game might perhaps perhaps discontinue up changing into a rock strive in opposition to that they’re bigger than in a position to successful.
Who is Cinderella?
Don’t discount one of many unusual Cinderella groups in VCU, which made that memorable amble from First Four to the Closing Four aid in 2011. The Rams might perhaps perhaps no longer have to address an additional spherical of games this one year nevertheless might perhaps perhaps discontinue up being a most neatly-liked 5-12 upset grab over a elaborate Saint Mary’s side and would match up neatly with both UConn or Iona within the 2d spherical. Mike Rhoades’ crew comprise masses of momentum from successful the Atlantic 10 Tournament for the first time in eight years and might perhaps perhaps comprise an figuring out of what the stage is like having been within the enormous dance three events in 5 seasons. They reveal protection travels and with the No. 17-KenPom protection within the nation, might perhaps perhaps pose issues for whoever they bump into.
Don’t fail to notice Arizona Instruct both, who has trip in Dayton beforehand to open the match and comprise the more or less excessive vitality press that might perhaps perhaps give greater seeds like TCU and others a trouble. Their offense modified into as soon as clicking at a greater stage than unusual within the Pac-12 Tournament and the extra day of leisure between games within the first weekend might perhaps perhaps discontinue up serving to them as issues glide forward.
“Our trend, I appreciate no longer mediate, is conducive basically to taking half in a pair of days in a row, precise how we press and how essential vitality we exert on protection,” Bobby Hurley said Friday night. “I mediate if we had been a slower-paced slower-tempo crew we would comprise had a bigger various to comprise of project tonight.”
That’s a fundamental line as Nevada’s tempo is among the slowest within the arena and TCU’s is one the decrease discontinue for a 6-seed. In the occasion that they discover previous them and into the Candy 16, do no longer be very much surprised if the Solar Devils originate a bit noise.
Who’re 5 have to-see gamers in assign?
Casual fans and hoops diehards alike perhaps comprise an thought who Timme is after largely changing into the face of faculty basketball throughout his tenure within the Pacific Northwest. He’s a Naismith Trophy semifinalist and averages over 20 ingredients per game for the nation’s most gripping offense.
The Pac-12 Player of the Year this season, Jaquez is but any other man who has caught around after discovering masses of previous success in March before. He’s led the Bruins to the Closing Four and will get it done on each ends with a superb mid-vary jumper and enough length to basically assault the defensive boards.
No. 4 UCLA’s Jaime Jaquez Jr. drops 23 ingredients
Jaquez Jr. scored a game-excessive 23 ingredients within the Bruins’ 78-71 twin carriageway draw shut over the Utah Utes.
The Jayhawks freshman is among the focal ingredients for opponent’s defensive efforts with the formulation he shoots the ball. His skill to knock down photographs from the arc will in all probability be key for the Colossal 12 customary-season champs this month and he kinds relatively the tandem within the backcourt with Jalen Wilson and Kevin McCullar.
Relying upon whom you predict, Gloomy is among the tip college gamers who will in all probability be picked throughout this summer season’s NBA Draft and is unmistakable, given his 6-foot-7 body and uncommon hairstyle. He restful needs to toughen his 3-point taking pictures nevertheless his skill to originate photographs within the lane, rebound and discover to the twin carriageway will play a gigantic feature for the Hogs in opposition to Illinois within the first spherical.
Hawkins struggled within the Huskies’ Colossal East Tournament heartbreaker to Marquette nevertheless the first-crew all-convention guard is frequently one of many becoming two-draw gamers on the East Waft. He has of project to basically elevate his draft inventory from a doable first rounder to a lottery grab and has all the talent to achieve so on a terrible UConn squad.
UConn’s Jordan Hawkins scores a game-excessive 19 ingredients in 77-63 draw shut over Windfall
Hawkins scored a game-excessive 19 ingredients to achieve to the Colossal East semifinal.
Most gripping first-spherical matchup?
How might perhaps perhaps it no longer be UConn facing Iona? Heck, that might perhaps perhaps precise be one of many juiciest first-spherical games of the final match with Huskies coach Dan Hurley facing off in opposition to Rick Pitino on the sidelines up in Albany.
Provided that Pitino has been talked about for Colossal East jobs like Georgetown and St. John’s, per chance the game will additionally be a minute of a preview for what we are in a position to also discontinue up seeing in convention play attain 2023-24 and beyond. Connecticut is among the becoming groups within the nation on each ends of the court docket nevertheless perhaps might perhaps perhaps no longer like seeing that sharply tailored swimsuit walking up and down the bench because there are few better in March than Pitino.
Throw within the throngs of Original York media certain to descend upon the sub-regional and there needs to be no shortage of curiosity in that one.
What crew needs to be on upset alert within the first spherical?
All americans, duh.
OK, per chance the tip two seeds Kansas and UCLA might perhaps perhaps very neatly be swish to see forward given their matchups in opposition to mid-fundamental champions, nevertheless all americans else? It’s one of those years when chaos might perhaps perhaps discontinue up reigning supreme so precise about any upset appears to be like likely.
The 8-9 assembly is ready as shut as you are going to search out within the match this one year, and that you might perhaps perhaps originate a case for precise about all the decrease seeds from there. Pay reveal attention to the games in Albany, as each VCU and Iona might perhaps perhaps very neatly be trendy picks to pull off shockers. Even the First Four participant might perhaps perhaps comprise a shot at advancing into the 2d weekend.
Who will in all probability be in regional remaining, and who will draw shut it?
Accelerate forward and glide with (Rock) Chalk. The 2 historical blue bloods of high-seeded Kansas and Pac-12 customary-season champion UCLA have not met since 2015 and had been among the many most consistent winners on the nationwide stage the previous decade. Invoice Self and Mick Cronin are unprecedented head coaches, and in addition they’ve squads with a gigantic combination of wily veterans and dapper-talented kids. The wound woes for the Bruins with out a doubt enable you to lean toward the reigning champs, nevertheless each comprise a pleasant precise shot at slicing down the nets in Vegas (and beyond) when all is alleged and done.
No. 1 Kansas
No. 16 Howard
No. 8 Arkansas
No. 9 Illinois
No. 5 Saint Mary’s
No. 12 VCU
No. 4 UConn
No. 13 Iona
No. 6 TCU
No. 11 Arizona Instruct/Nevada
No. 3 Gonzaga
No. 14 Mountainous Canyon
No. 7 Northwestern
No. 10 Boise Instruct
No. 2 UCLA
No. 15 UNC Asheville
Bryan Fischer is a college soccer writer for FOX Sports actions. He has been masking college athletics for nearly two a protracted time at retail outlets comparable to NBC Sports actions, CBS Sports actions, Yahoo! Sports actions and NFL.com among others. Apply him on Twitter at @BryanDFischer.
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