Midwest Region

March 15, 2010

Let me make a disclaimer to everyone who decides to read this blog in the next few days: These are my opinions on the NCAA Tournament. I cannot guarantee that taking my advice on anything will help you win your respective office pool or any other bracket game you may play. The truth is, a lot of it comes down to luck and circumstance, and no matter how much I analyze and stress over the matchups, I am not really giving myself (or anyone else who decides to listen to me) a true advantage over anyone else. I have never won a bracket pool with more than five people in it, if that does anything to help validate my argument. With that being said, I do this purely out of joy for the game, and out of hope that I can stir up conversation between anyone who reads my work.

I will be breaking down the bracket region by region over the next three days leading up to the tournament. That should lighten the reading load, as well as give me time to adequately prepare my writing. So now, without any further disclaimers, I will give you my breakdown on the Midwest Region.

First Round Games to Watch

#8 UNLV vs. #9 Northern Iowa (Thurs, 7:10 pm)

Obviously, most 8 vs. 9 matchups are expected to be close. This one will be no different. The teams play a contrasting style of basketball. Northern Iowa is extremely good at slowing down the tempo and making other teams play at their pace. They also have a stifling defense. The Runnin’ Rebels will try to capitalize on the offensive possessions that they do get, because if they don’t, they could be in for a long night. It will likely be a low scoring battle that may come down to free throws.

#6 Tennessee vs. #11 San Diego State (Thurs, 9:45 pm)

San Diego State has been a popular pick to be an upset special. However, Tennessee is somewhat confused with their seeding, and wants to show the Selection Committee that they messed up. Tennessee has been somewhat inconsistent this year, losing to USC and Georgia, but also has wins against Kansas and Kentucky, proof that they can beat anyone in the nation. San Diego State will be looking for their first NCAA Tournament win ever, and will likely look to get out to a lead and keep it. The Aztecs are shooting 61.7% from the line, so they would rather not be in a close game down the stretch.

#7 Oklahoma State vs. #10 Georgia Tech (Fri, 7:15 pm)

Both of these teams are very dangerous when they play to their potential. Oklahoma State is the only team in the Big 12 to have beaten Kansas this year, and Georgia Tech (who was squarely on the Bubble entering the ACC tournament) may have found their groove at the right time. Also, this game will not lack star power, as the Cowboys are lead by Big 12 Player of the Year James Anderson.

Team That Could Make a Run


Yea, I know. This team could be out after the First Round. However, if they do manage to make it past San Diego State, then they have the talent to beat every team in their Region. Their athleticism is their biggest asset, which allows them to match up with almost any opposing team on the floor.

My Picks

1st Round

#1 Kansas over #16 Lehigh
#9 Northern Iowa over #8 UNLV
#5 Michigan State over #12 New Mexico State
#4 Maryland over #13 Houston
#6 Tennessee over #11 San Diego State
#3 Georgetown over #14 Ohio
#7 Oklahoma State over #10 Georgia Tech
#2 Ohio State over #15 UC Santa Barbara

2nd Round

#1 Kansas over #9 Northern Iowa
#5 Michigan State over #4 Maryland
#3 Georgetown over #6 Tennessee
#2 Ohio State over #7 Oklahoma State

Sweet 16

#1 Kansas over #5 Michigan State
#2 Ohio State over #3 Georgetown

Elite 8

#1 Kansas over #2 Ohio State

Obviously there are going to be some things that you guys agree or disagree with. I’d love to hear your thoughts, so either leave me a comment in the comment section or send me an email at aroundthecornsportsblog@gmail.com. Thanks guys.

– K. Becks

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