NCAA Scores 2012: How Mysterious Midwest Bracket Will Play out
The Midwest bracket has been wild up to this point, with the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds both squaring off against double-digit seeds in the regional semis. In some ways, it's chalk; in others, it's pure craziness.
The Sweet 16 and Elite Eight will definitely be a continuation of that trend, but let's take a look at what to expect for the rest of this wild region's play.
No. 13 Ohio vs. No. 1 North Carolina
I have looked at this game from a lot of angles, but have yet to figure out how the Bobcats are going to pull this one off. They don't do anything well enough to compete with North Carolina, who is about as sound a team as the country has to offer.
Time will tell what production (if any) they get from John Henson and Kendall Hunter, but the likes of Reggie Bullock, Tyler Zeller and Harrison Barnes will do more than enough to take this team into the Elite Eight. After that, it's a different story, but we'll get to that later.
Looking at this game, I don't see how the Tar Heels will lose this one. Michigan was vastly overrated as a No. 4 seed, and South Florida was a fringe tournament team. Now that the Tar Heels have nearly a week to prepare for the Bobcats, this one will be ugly.
Who will reach the Final Four from the Midwest Region?
Prediction: North Carolina 81, Ohio 63
No. 11 North Carolina State vs. No. 2 Kansas
I see the top team coming through to the Elite Eight. The No. 2 seed will not be as fortunate, as Kansas is just too inconsistent to beat a red-hot confident Wolfpack team. This is a group that made mincemeat out of a good San Diego State team and survived a grind with Georgetown.
Kansas was lucky to beat Purdue, and the deep Wolfpack team will be too much to overcome. They have five players who score more than 10 points a game, and given the way that they lost against North Carolina, they will come out hard looking for a rematch.
Look for C.J. Leslie and Lorenzo Brown to pace NC State, and the rest of the team will do the rest, surviving a tough game.
Prediction: North Carolina State 72, Kansas 68
No. 11 North Carolina State vs. No. 1 North Carolina
Madness will continue in this bracket, and North Carolina State is going to emerge. They are going to be hungry to avenge the loss in the ACC tournament semifinal. Kendall Marshall, who had a pretty big impact in the ACC tournament, is "day-to-day" with his fractured wrist.
Marshall's ability to play will make the difference in this one. The Tar Heels have the talent to play with anyone, but they're too beaten up to survive a team that's hot, confident and will be hungry. The Wolfpack will be the Cinderella in the Final Four.
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