Bracket Breakdown: The West

By on March 16, 2011

By: Chris Lemke (RSE Basketball)

Which team could beat the #1 seed?

In hopes of repeating as national champions, the #1-seeded Duke Blue Devils easily were given the toughest road to the Final Four by the NCAA Selection Committee. In a region loaded with talent – including national player of the year candidate Kemba Walker from UConn – the Blue Devils must also overcome (in order of peril): a tough Texas team looking to make the Final Four in their home stat; a possible second-round track meet with Tennessee; and a relative unknown to the NCAA Tournament in San Diego State.

The Dukies definitely have their work cut out for them indeed.

But I am going to roll with the Pac 10 Regular Season Champion Arizona Wildcats (#5 seed) as the team most likely take out the defending champs. With NBA-bound sophomore forward Derrick Williams, some solid backcourt play and a head coach in Sean Miller who brings plenty of tourney experience from his time at Xavier, the Wildcats have the recipe to take down Coach K’s boys. Do I really think it will happen? Yes, because Duke simply does not have the pedigree and is not the caliber of team that is required for a repeat championship.

Who is most likely to pull a dramatic upset?

The most likely upset will occur in the first round, as the 11th-seeded Missouri Tigers should take out the 6th-seeded Cincinnati Bearcats. Tigers Head Coach Mike Anderson has always shined come tournament time with his high pressure, full-court defense and deep benches forcing teams out of their comfort zones dating back to his days at UAB. Plus, the Bearcats are simply too inconsistent from the perimeter to force Missouri out of playing their crazy mix-of-zone schemes defensively.

Which non-top 4 seed could make the Final Four?

Since I’m picking Arizona to take out Duke, I have to say that they are also the team which is capable of making a run all the way to the Final Four. Miller has much more talent at his disposal than he ever had at Xavier and, in just two seasons as the Wildcats’ Head Coach, he has returned them to the top of the Pac 10. Williams is not only a monster on the inside, but he also shoots a beastly 60 percent from beyond the arc. I know that Kemba Walker is coming into the tournament with a ton of hoopla following his team’s dramatic run in the Big East Tournament, but Williams is the guy from this year’s class that people will be talking about most at the next level. And this tournament will mark his introduction to the nation.

REGIONAL FINAL: Arizona over San Diego State

REGIONAL MVP: Derrick Williams, PF, Arizona

Categories: Basketball

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