2012 NCAA Tournament Predictions: Midwest Region

March 15, 2012

The final of my region-by-region breakdowns of the NCAA Tournament, here are my Midwest Region predictions.

Second Round Games to Watch

#4 Michigan vs. #13 Ohio (Fri, 7:20 PM)

Apparently, Ohio University fans are not happy that both the basketball and football coaches refer to Ohio State as “Ohio”, neglecting the fact that there is in fact a difference between the two. According to one of my friends that goes to the school in Athens, that is one of the main reasons they would like to beat the school up North. Luckily for fans of the Bobcats, their team matches up pretty well with the Wolverines.

This game features two very talented perimeter players in Ohio’s D.J. Cooper and Michigan’s Trey Burke. Cooper is the one with the tournament experience, shocking the country two years ago when he led his team to a surprise first round victory over third seeded Georgetown. If the Bobcats want to repeat that success, they are going to need another huge game from Cooper and shut down Michigan’s perimeter players. Expect this game to come down to a battle of the shooters, where a big shot in the final minute could end up on the annual “One Shining Moment” compilation.

#3 Georgetown vs. #14 Belmont (Fri, following San Diego State vs. North Carolina State)

Belmont has been knocking on the door for the past half decade, looking for its first ever NCAA Tournament victory. This year may finally be the year Bruins fans rejoice. Rick Byrd’s team has tournament experience and brings a very potent offense to the table. In fact, the Bruins average over 81 points per game, good for fourth best in the nation. Belmont relies heavily on the three point shot, which allows them to keep pace with teams that can take advantage of a suspect defense. The Bruins will need to play inspired on the defensive end if they hope to move on to the third round, however.

The Hoyas are not flashy, but are extremely patient and almost always get off a good shot. They will not be concerned with trying to keep pace with Belmont’s rise and fire offense, but will attempt to control the tempo of the game and work the ball inside. A battle of contrasting styles, this should be a very interesting game to watch. Georgetown may be young, but play with the patience of a veteran laden squad and have the ability to dodge a potential upset.

Team That Could Make a Run

N.C. State

The Wolfpack have been an up and down team this season, but looked as if they were playing their best basketball in the ACC Tournament. An interesting note about Mark Gottfried’s team is that four of their twelve losses game against teams that received a one seed in the tournament (North Carolina and Syracuse). The Wolfpack are relatively young and do not have a ton of depth, but have solid frontcourt and backcourt play and can hit shots from behind the arc when they need to do so.

As an 11 seed, N.C. State has a pretty nice road to the Sweet 16. They get to face a San Diego State team who has to travel across the country in the second round, and if they win they’ll face an unpredictable Georgetown team or a Belmont team that doesn’t play great defense. If things go right for the Wolfpack, they may find themselves with a fourth chance to take down in-state rival North Carolina for the right to go to New Orleans.

My Picks

Second Round

#1 North Carolina over #16 Vermont

#8 Creighton over #9 Alabama

#5 Temple over #12 South Florida

#4 Michigan over #13 Ohio

#11 N.C. State over #6 San Diego State (upset alert)

#3 Georgetown over #14 Belmont

#7 St. Mary’s over #10 Purdue

#2 Kansas over #15 Detroit

Third Round

#1 North Carolina over #8 Creighton

#5 Temple over #4 Michigan

#11 N.C. State over #3 Georgetown (upset alert)

#2 Kansas over #7 St. Mary’s

Sweet 16

#1 North Carolina over #5 Temple

#2 Kansas over #11 N.C. State

Elite 8

#1 North Carolina over #2 Kansas

Now that I’ve broken down every region and you can see my region winners, here are my picks for the Final Four.

Final Four

National Semifinals

#1 Michigan State over #1 Kentucky

#1 North Carolina over #2 Ohio State


#1 Michigan State over #1 North Carolina

Well, there you go. My entire bracket out in the open to be picked and prodded at, and eventually laughed at when it is blown to pieces by the second weekend. Let me know where you think I’ll be wrong, because the greatest thing about March Madness is that it doesn’t matter. This is the best month of the year, and I’m just ready for the games to begin!

Any comments, questions or concerns can be directed to kbecks@aroundthecorn.com. I appreciate your comments, as well as the time you spend to read my work.

– K. Becks

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