Our tour of the bracket continues with the final regional, the West. (Previously: East Regional, South Regional, and Midwest Regional.
This region features two top seeds, Connecticut and Memphis. A solid argument could be made for either team landing on the top line, but the Committee went with the team who played a tougher schedule and finished tied for second in the Big East. It didn’t matter, though, as they were both destined for the same region as the Committee followed the S-curve for seeding—weakest number one seed with the highest rated number two seed.
Along with those two top seeds, the West features the Big XII tournament champion (Missouri), the Pac 10 regular season champion (Washington), and the Big 10 tournament champion (Purdue). After those five teams, the rest of the region is very average. A run by any team seeded six or above seems inprobable.
Scoring will be in short supply in Glendale if the top seeds advance to the Sweet 16. The top five seeds in the West all rank in the top 11 nationall in defensive efficiency.
All data from Ken Pomeroy. Teams listed in order of best to worst within each category. Each team's national rank is listed in parentheses.
|Bracket Rank||Offensive Efficiency||Defensive Efficiency|
|3||Utah St (13)
|4||Missouri (18)||Missouri (8)|
|7||Texas A&M (36)
|8||Washington (37)||Marquette (56)|
|9||Memphis (38)||Miss St (58)|
|10||Purdue (52)||Cal St North (62)|
|11||Northern Iowa (58)||Texas A&M (79)|
|12||Maryland (72)||Cal (91)|
|13||Miss St (73)||Northern Iowa (128)|
|14||Cornell (81)||Cornell (146)|
|15||Chattanooga (132)||Utah St (171)|
|16||Cal St North (178)||Chattanooga (287)|
WEST REGIONAL BREAKDOWN
Best First Round Match Up: (6) Marquette vs. (11) Utah State On paper this looks like a significant mismatch as Marquette features a top ten offense against Utah State’s 171st ranked defense. However, without Dominic James, Marquette has struggled mightily losing their last four regular season games and defeating only St. John’s in the Big East tournament before falling to Villanova. The WAC regular season and conference tournament champions have a chance to pull the upset.
Stone Cold Lock: (2) Memphis -20 over Cal State Northridge The Tigers have plenty of practice hammering inferior teams. Memphis’ top rated defense should have no trouble holding Cal State’s 132nd rated offense under 55 points.
The Game College Hoops Fans Should Hope Happens: (2) Memphis vs (3) Missouri Two elite defenses with athletes all over the floor could easily produce a 40 minute classic.
Sleeper: Purdue. As a complete non-believer in all Big 10 teams not named Michigan State, it is tough for me to place the Boilermakers in this category. But Purdue is hot, champions of the Big 10 tournament, has a lock down defense, and has a favorable draw. Washington is not a scary 4-seed and Connecticut without Jerome Dyson in Arizona is very beatable as well. A run to the Elite Eight is not out of the question.