NCAA Tournament 2012 Schedule: West Region Is Up for Grabs

Scott SemmlerAnalyst IIMarch 11, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 11:  Draymond Green #23 of the Michigan State Spartans reacts againsst the Ohio State Buckeyes during the Final Game of the 2012 Big Ten Men's Conference Basketball Tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on March 11, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

One can make a good case that five teams have a great shot at winning the West region and making their way to the Final Four in New Orleans.

Michigan State, Louisville, Marquette, Florida, and Missouri all would not be a surprise if they ended up battling for an NCAA championship, or at least appearing in the Final Four.

Make no mistake about it, Missouri is the favorite in this region, despite the first-seeded Michigan State Spartans, who won the top seeding with their victory in the Big Ten tournament championship over Ohio State.

The region also holds possibly the hottest team in the country in Louisville, who stampeded through the Big East tournament, looking very impressive in the process.  Michigan State will have their hands full with that game in the third round.

Do not forget about Florida, who relies heavily on their outstanding guard play.  However, once one of the big men inside (Patric Young especially) goes down with fouls, then Florida is a totally different team and should quickly be put on upset alert.  They seem to be missing that one player that can bulk up this team's depth for a deep run in the tournament.

Marquette may get lost in this region, but they are definitely deserving of the No. 3 ranking and match up well with all of the teams in this region.  We should expect them to be battling with Missouri for a spot in the Elite Eight.

However, we expect Missouri to be playing for a spot in the Final Four.  They match up well with every opponent in this region, especially Michigan State, who may lack the depth to compete strongly with the Tigers.

Judging by how hot Louisville is playing right now, there are no surprises when it comes to them.  The Big East was a little underachieving this year, but credit Louisville with doing what they had to do to win that Big East tournament championship.

Seeing them beat Michigan State in the third round is not out of the question by any means.

This will be the most exciting region in the NCAA tournament, judging by the amount of competitive teams that can win this region outright.