Round One: Which West Region Teams Will Dodge The Knockout Punch?

Jake KarmelCorrespondent IIMarch 19, 2009

As seen in my previous article about the Midwest Region, I view the tournament like a boxing match.

Who ever can dodge the knockout blow will come away victorious.

The West region is an interesting one. With UConn, Duke, Villanova, and Xavier as the top four teams respectively, I think there will be a lot upsets in this region once the tournament gets under way.

The top-seeded UConn Huskies will beat East Tennessee State with no problems. Hasheem Thabeet will come to play and just baby everyone on the court.

The No. 2 Duke Blue Devils will topple Binghamton Bearcats with minimal issues. If John Scheyer can lead Duke down the court and Singler plays good defense, the boys from Tobacco Road will live another day with no problems.

Here is where it gets interesting and where I will be criticized.

No. 3 Villanova Wildcats will fall to the fourteen seeded American Eagles in the first round. Even though American is only from the Patriot League, I still think they will pull this off. Keep in mind, George Mason was out of the Patriot League, too.

American is going to pull this win off someway, somehow.

Next, the Portland State Vikings will beat Xavier. Yes, Nos. 3 and 4 are going down in the first round.

Xavier comes from a weak conference and I think they will be overly confident come tournament time. Portland State is a team not to be taken lightly.

Fifth-seeded Florida State will be beat my Badgers from Madison. Wisconsin, who finished a weak 19-12 this year, has struggled offensively throughout the season. Douglas and the rest of the Seminoles are going to shut down the Badgers with few problems.

Another upset—The No. 6 UCLA Bruins will fall to the VCU Rams. VCU is a veteran team who is going to beat UCLA and make a run deep into the tournament.

(Hint: I am picking VCU over Duke.)

The Texas Longhorns will beat the Minnesotta Golden Gophers. AJ Abrams and the rest of Texas are an awesome team in my opinion. They haven't played up to their expectations all year, and I expect them to redeem themselves in the tournament's opening round.

And finally, the No. 8 Oklahoma State Cowboys should beat the ninth-seeded Tennessee Volunteers. Oklahoma State has played well all year in the Big 12, while Tennessee struggled in the weak SEC.

Like I said, the tournament is a time for surprises.

Who knows what will happen.