NCAA Bracket 2013: Toughest Battles in Each Region

Tyler BrookeSenior Analyst IIMarch 18, 2013

GREENSBORO, NC - MARCH 17:  Head coach Roy Williams of the North Carolina Tar Heels reacts in the second half against the Miami (Fl) Hurricanes during the final of the Men's ACC Basketball Tournament at Greensboro Coliseum on March 17, 2013 in Greensboro, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Each of the regions in the NCAA bracket have their good and bad teams, but there is one matchup in each region that really stands out.

These games don't involve the No. 1 or No. 2 seeds, which will likely be advancing without much trouble.  These will be the tough matchups between evenly matched teams.

With so many games to be watching for on Thursday and Friday, here’s one out of each region that you really need to sit down and watch from start to finish.


Midwest: Oklahoma State vs. Oregon

The Cowboys may be enjoying a No. 5 seed in the Midwest region, but the Oregon Ducks aren’t a team to sleep on. 

The Ducks have to be feeling a bit cheated after earning just a No. 12 seed, especially after big wins against Arizona, UNLV and UCLA twice.  With a 26-8 record along with a 12-6 record in the Pac-12, this is solid team.

What makes the Ducks more dangerous is their defense.  They are a team that works hard on both sides of the ball, grabbing rebounds and forcing turnovers.  As a team, they average 37.4 rebounds and 8.5 steals per game.

If the Ducks defense can contain Marcus Smart, the Big 12 Player of the Year, then they have a good shot at an upset. 


South: North Carolina vs. Villanova

It was a struggle all season for Roy Williams and the Tar Heels, who stumbled into the tournament with a No. 8 seed in the South region. 

Now, they’re in danger of being sent home early.

Villanova is a solid team that can beat good teams.  They’ve pulled off some big upsets this year, beating Louisville, Georgetown and Syracuse.

What makes the Wildcats dangerous is their ability to draw fouls and get to the free-throw line.  They lead the nation in free-throw attempts and makes with 870 and 626 respectively. 

If they can get guys like James Michael McAdoo and P.J. Hairston in foul trouble early, the Tar Heels will be in big trouble.  Watch for the Wildcats to attack the basket early and often, especially against Hairston and McAdoo.


West: Notre Dame vs. Iowa State

The Fighting Irish started the season off hot, but have been inconsistent for the past few weeks.  They have some concerning losses on their resume, including games against Providence and St. John’s.

The Cyclones of Iowa State certainly aren’t a convincing underdog, but they have the talent to pull off the upset over Notre Dame.  They average 79.6 points per game, which is the fourth most in the country, while shooting a solid 45.5 percent from the field.

If the Cyclones can get off to a hot start, they can pull away with a win and advance to most likely play Ohio State.  They will need Tyrus McGee to light it up, especially from behind the arc.  He led the Big 12 in three-pointers this season with 90, while shooting the fourth-best in the country from behind the arc at 45.7 percent.  If McGee can heat up, the Cyclones have a shot.


East: UNLV vs. California

The Rebels are the most likely No. 5 seed to lose in the second round based on their previous appearances in the NCAA tourney.  In the past three seasons, the Rebels have failed to get past the second round of the tournament.

For California, they are yet another Pac-12 team that got snubbed in seeding.  They have a 20-11 record with a 12-6 record in the Pac-12.  They have the conference player of the year in Allen Crabbe, who averages 18.7 points and 6.0 rebounds per game.

These two faced each other back in December, when UNLV won by a single point, 76-75.  This will be a revenge game for the Golden Bears, who will look to advance and likely play Syracuse.

If the first game between the two was any indication, then this is going to be a close game.



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