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2010 NCAA Tournament Preview: West Regional

We preview this week's 2010 NCAA tournament by first taking a look at each of the regional brackets. Working our way from east to west, last up is the West Regional.

Here is the West Bracket:

(1) Syracuse vs. (16) Vermont
(8) Gonzaga vs. (9) Florida St.

(5) Butler vs. (12) UTEP
(4) Vanderbilt vs. (13) Murray State

(6) Xavier vs. (11) Minnesota
(3) Pittsburgh vs. (14) Oakland

(7) Brigham Young vs. (10) Florida
(2) Kansas State vs. (15) North Texas


Best First-Round Matchup

Brian: Butler vs. UTEP in the 5-12 matchup. UTEP was one of the last teams in the tournament since they failed to win the Conference USA Tournament. But I don't think Butler is a particularly strong 5 seed. This feels much more like an 8-9 than a 5-12 matchup. 

Jeff: I want to see the underrated Seminoles take on the now overrated Zags.  Gonzaga has managed to become overrated the last few years and I look forward to the ACC giving them a pounding.  Well, that might not exactly happen since Florida State can't really score so they can't blow anyone out but the sooner Gonzaga exits the tournament the happier I will be.


Matchup We'd Most Like To See

Jeff: Kansas State was the team that got the most talk of getting a #1 seed that landed on the #2 line.  Syracuse will have their hands full with them especially if it turns out the Big East was not as dominant as many poll voters predicted.  This will also be a battle of one of the great old coaches in the game in Jim Boeheim, and one of the younger stars, Frank Martin.

Brian: Straight chalk. #1 Syracuse vs. #2 Kansas State in the Regional Final. I think these two teams are going away the best two teams in this bracket.


Trendy Bandwagon Pick

Brian: I don't know if there's a true trendy pick here outside of the most obvious - Syracuse and Kansas State. I may have to go with Xavier here. If the Musketeers can use the deep ball to get past a tough 11 seeded Minnesota team, the second matchup looks very favorable. Summit League champs Oakland just aren't that good, and Pittsburgh didn't exactly finish the season strong, losing 2 games to the Irish down the stretch. How the Panthers got a 3 seed after getting bounced in their first game of the Big East tournament is beyond me. The Hoyas feel more like a 6 seed than a 3 seed to me. I can see Xavier getting through the first weekend by taking out Minnesota and Pittsburgh. 

Jeff: Minnesota is the trendy pick in this region from what I've seen.  Minnesota was not going to make the dance prior to their Big Ten tournament run and now some people are picking them to go as far as the sweet 16.  I do not agree with that pick but since I don't determine trends, I just report them, Minnesota it is.


The Sleeper Pick

Brian: Everyone and their little brother has (12) UTEP over (5) Butler. Sounds about right. Vanderbilt has had a decent season, but they've lost 2 of their last 3 games, including a loss to South Carolina at home in the regular season finale. C'mon 'Dores. Even the Eagles beat the Gamecocks this year. UTEP could easily get through to the Sweet 16 for a date with Syracuse.

Jeff: Like you said everyone seems to be picking UTEP to at least win their first round game, but other than that this is pretty much a straight chalk region.  You know what that means though...look for a ton of upsets.


Jeff's Picks

Second Round: Syracuse, Florida State, Butler, Vanderbilt, Xavier, Pittsburgh, BYU, Kansas State
Sweet 16: Syracuse, Vanderbilt, Pittsburgh, Kansas State
Elite 8: Syracuse, Kansas State
Final Four Pick: Syracuse

Brian's Picks

Second Round: Syracuse, Florida State, UTEP, Vanderbilt, Xavier, Pittsburgh, Brigham Young, Kansas State
Sweet 16: Syracuse, Vanderbilt, Xavier, Kansas State
Elite 8: Syracuse, Kansas State
Final Four Pick: Syracuse