March Madness Preview: Midwest Region

Bare KnucksAnalyst IMarch 19, 2009

March Madness 2009 First Round Locks:

When looking at the first round match-ups featured in the Midwest Region (played in Indianapolis), you obviously have to feel comfortable with Louisville and Michigan State’s ability to beat their opponents, the play-in game winner and Robert Morris, respectively.

Other than that, this region really fails to produce any match-ups that are at least a little intriguing for those who enjoy the first round upset.

However, although Cleveland State has some appeal in terms of upset potential, I will throw Wake Forest into my “locks” list as well, simply because they have the speed to match up with Cleveland State, and aside from that, they are just a more talented team in general.

March Madness 2009 Upset Alerts:

There is certainly a lot of potential here for a Cinderella story. This is something every NCAA basketball fan enjoys, even if it does mess up your entire bracket at your place of employment, which is always won by some female who just fills out a bracket based on whose uniforms look more appealing.

5 Utah vs. 12 Arizona

In the annual tradition of No. 12 seeds upending No. 5 seeds, this one is my favorites.

Arizona, led by 6’7” junior forward, Chase Budinger, the Wildcats provide a very difficult match-up for Utah. Arizona swept both Oregon and Oregon State during conference play.

Other notable wins include Gonzaga, Washington, USC and UCLA. Arizona should be well rested and ready to give Utah fits in round one.

6 West Virginia vs. 11 Dayton

Dayton managed to win 26 games during the course of the 2008-09 season. Their most notable win came against Marquette University on Nov. 29th, a game they won by 14 points.

Led by sophomore forward Chris Wright’s 12.9 points and 6.5 rebounds per game, Dayton comes into the tournament playing solid basketball, which is something West Virginia needs to respect if they want to avoid this potential upset.

March Madness 2009 Player to Watch:

Ohio State’s Evan Turner is an exceptional talent, the kind of talent that has the potential to carry his team similar to the way Stephen Curry did for Davidson in last year’s tournament.

Turner averaged around 17 points and 4 rebounds per game and has the ability to just take a game over himself.

If you’re looking for evidence of this, look no further than the semifinal game of the '09 Big-10 tournament against a tremendously defensive Michigan State.

Turner, held scoreless in a close first half, scored 18 points in the final 20 minutes ensuring an Ohio State victory. If Ohio State makes any noise in this tournament it will surely be based on what Turner does for them.

March Madness 2009 Overall Outlook:

Louisville comes in as heavy favorites to reach the Final Four. Of all the No. 1 seeds, they have potentially the easiest road to Detroit.

Wake Forest is a team that has some potential to reach Detroit, but I still like Louisville.

Michigan State as a No. 2 seed lacks size, and just doesn’t play enough consistent basketball to be considered a threat to reach the Final Four. The Spartans could certainly be bounced by the winner of the Boston College/USC game.

Look for a Louisville vs. Kansas final in this region with Louisville punching their ticket to Detroit.