How’s the West going to hold up in the NCAA Tournament?
We do have 12 chances at a championship but that’s a little misleading. In four for those games, West teams played each other to open the tournament. So that reduces the chances to just eight.
It won’t help to know that just about every one of our West Coast entries will be eliminated by the second weekend, if not by the first game. Yet there is hope for one – Arizona.
Here’s a quick setup and predictions for each of the West’s Best teams to make it in:
South Region’s No. 8 Colorado (23-11) in Orlando: Opening opponent – No. 9 Pittsburgh (25-9) – Prediction for Buffs: One and out for the late-fading Buffaloes.
South Region’s No. 6 seed UCLA (26-8) in San Diego: Opening opponent – No. 12 Tulsa (21-12) – Prediction for Bruins: Two straight wins, losing in Round of 16 to (eventual champion) Florida.
South Region’s No. 7 New Mexico (27-6) vs. No. 10 Stanford (21-12) in St. Louis: Prediction for Lobos: Victory over Stanford but lose to injury-affected Kansas in second game. Prediction for Cardinal: One and out loss after a competitive loss to New Mexico.
West Region’s No. 1 Arizona (30-4) vs. No. 16 Weber State (19-11) in San Diego: Prediction for Wildcats: After a really tough road with wins over Gonzaga, San Diego State and Wisconsin, Cats will reach the Final Four, losing to Louisville. Prediction for Wildcats: Big Sky champion Weber St. runs into a Wildcat buzzsaw, one and done.
West Region’s No. 8 Gonzaga (28-6) in San Diego: Opening Opponent – No. 9 Oklahoma State (21-12) – Prediction for Zags: Experience will get the Zags past the Cowboys but, in front of a oppressive Wildcat crowd in San Diego, will lose a tight one to Arizona.
West Region’s No. 4 SDSU (29-4) vs. No. 13 NMSU (26-9) in Spokane: Prediction for Aztecs: Potential to be the surprise team of the West, if not the tournament. Should reach the second weekend and end up in a Sweet 16 matchup against Arizona, in Anaheim. Tossup? Likely loss for the Aztecs. Prediction for Aggies: Not ready for prime time, one and out.
West Region’s No. 7 Oregon (23-9) vs. No. 10 BYU (23-11) at Milwaukee. Prediction for Ducks: Inconsistent Ducks have enough talent to beat BYU but can’t match the power of Wisconsin in the second game. Prediction for Cougars: Just like its Pres favorite Mitt, BYU goes one and out
Midwest Region’s No. 11 Arizona State (21-11) at Milwaukee: Opening opponent – No. 7 Texas (23-10). Prediction for Sun Devils: Good draw and neutral site but Devils don’t have enough talent to overcome the Longhorns, one and out.