Official Tournament Preview: Midwest Regional

Midwest Regional (Indianapolis)

Theme: Potential Chaos
Of all the regions, the Midwest seems to be the one begging to get turned upside down. Top seed Louisville faces potential matchups with Ohio State in Dayton in the round of 32 and dangerous Wake Forest in the Sweet 16. Huggy Bear’s Mountaineers, a six seed, certainly have the chops to make it all the way Motown. Then, there’s erratic but talented Arizona sitting way down at 12. Oh yeah, Tiny Tom’s Spartans could be smack dab in the middle of their home base if they reach the Final Four–sounds like nice motivation to Homerism.

Best Chance for an Upset: Kansas vs North Dakota State
Even though the angle here will be run into the ground, it’s no less powerful. The Bisons are taking on the defending champs in their first year of eligibility. It’s not really fair to say this Kansas team is the defending champ, as it bears little resemblence to last year’s squad. Whatever. NDSU should be sky high for this game, and the school’s fans are likely to own the arena in Minneapolis. (NDSU +10 doubles as the best bet of the region’s first round games.)

Say What?!: Utah
I guess I missed the part where the Utes were worth a damn this season. How else to explain Utah’s generous seed? Having seen Oklahoma work over Utah earlier in the year, Homerism can attest to this team’s suckage. Who knows if Arizona will show up for this game, but the Utes are in for a world of hurt if so.
Strangest Team with a Final Four Shot: West Virginia
All of a sudden, the Mountaineers are getting pimped by ESPN’s talking heads as a major sleeper. Strangely, I’m buying it. Coach Bob Huggins has been through the Tournament fires before, as witnessed by West Virginia’s impressive play last year. Forward Devin Ebanks is a major talent who has yet to be get much pub on the national scene, but the Big Dance makes for a great stage. Don’t be surprised if this team is playing in the Elite Eight.
Mystery Inside a Riddle Wrapped Up in an Enigma: Wake Forest
The Deacs boast a talented point guard and explosive phenom down low, which is normally a decent Tournament combo. Still, every time Homerism has watched this team this year, it feels like I’m watching a completely different squad. At least one of those teams looked like it could beat Louisville in the Sweet 16. Others wouldn’t beat Cleveland State.
Winner: Louisville over Michigan State
Homerism feels pretty lame going with all this chalk, but that’s just the way it goes sometimes. Tom Izzo’s no-nonsense Spartans play that tough brand of hoops that is perfect for the Tournament. Every game will be a war of attrition between MSU and its opponents. Unfortunately for Sparty, Louisville can play that same game and do it more skillfully. The Cards boast tremendous depth and can beat teams a number of ways. Louisville can handle the physical beating the Spartans will hand out. Look for Rick Pitino’s club to move on to Motown.

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