Nothing comes easy in March Madness, but it will be much more difficult for certain higher-seeded schools than others.
Upon checking the entire pool of teams in the 2013 NCAA tournament, it's clear plenty of mid-major talent is capable of pulling off upset after upset. Even tougher, though, are schools such as VCU, Butler, Saint Louis and New Mexico with the personnel and seeding for a strong appearance.
As a result, not every school with a good seed from a power conference drew a favorable position. This will have an impact on who advances.
West Region: Wisconsin
Despite a good run through the Big Ten tournament, Wisconsin was awarded the No. 5 seed in the West Region. Upon getting this position, the Badgers tip off their tournament against Ole Miss, which won the SEC tournament over a sound Florida team.
Obviously, Wisconsin's slow pace will cause the Rebels issues, but other schools in this bracket have the talent to match the Badgers. Kansas State and La Salle each know how to move the ball around and get the Badgers out of position.
Looking ahead and reaching the Sweet 16 would likely pit Bo Ryan's team against No. 1-seeded Gonzaga. Another impressive mid-major, the Zags have the resume to dominate and they know how to build consistency.
Plus, Big Ten rival Ohio State and a tough mid-major in New Mexico reside on the other half of this bracket.
South Region: Kansas
Kansas was the unluckiest of the No. 1 seeds. Obviously, winning in the round of 64 is expected, but the next round against either North Carolina or Villanova is one of the roughest matchups a first seed will get.
The Tar Heels present the offense to match and set the tempo versus Kansas. Villanova's defense is better than given credit for, as evidenced by holding Georgetown and Marquette below 60 points, resulting in wins both times.
Moving on to potential Sweet 16 games against VCU and Michigan causes Kansas problems. The Rams possess the offense to outscore Kansas and the ability to generate/capitalize off turnovers. Michigan comes from the Big Ten, so the Wolverines are extremely battle-tested and sport a better defense than a first glance would suggest.
Factor in the Gators and Hoyas on the opposite portion of the bracket and the Jayhawks did not get a comfortable draw.
How far do you have the Hurricanes lasting?
East Region: Miami (Fla.)
The Miami Hurricanes do not have a cakewalk to the Final Four. First off, Pacific will put down buckets and use the floor to create open looks. The 'Canes must be constantly aware against the Tigers or it will be a nailbiter.
Thereafter, Illinois and Colorado are no easy task. The Illini play solid defense as expected from a Big Ten foe. Colorado, on the other hand, brings the toughness to win on the boards and match Miami offensively.
As for the rest of the East bracket, the Hurricanes cannot sleep on Butler, Syracuse or Indiana. The Bulldogs get physical on each end, the Orange will score and out-rebound you to win inside and the Hoosiers feature two of the nation's best players in Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller.
Fortunately for Miami, it enters on a four-game win streak and is playing with immense confidence to fight through this rugged bracket.
UPDATE: Oklahoma State eliminated by Oregon, 68-55
Midwest Region: Oklahoma State
Oklahoma State finished third in the Big 12 during the regular season and went a combined 2-3 versus Kansas and Kansas State. Earning the No. 5 seed in the Midwest Region, the Cowboys first get Oregon, which took the Pac-12 tournament and is currently rolling.
Should the Cowboys advance onward, though, a date with Saint Louis in the round of 32 is next. The Billikens are arguably the best mid-major this year and dominated a strong Atlantic 10 Conference.
Elsewhere in the bracket, the Cowboys have Louisville, Duke and Michigan State. That's two excellent defenses and an offense in Duke with much more efficiency than Oklahoma State's.
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