The best days in sports are here!! Everyone, ready to fill out your brackets online (join the OTN Group on ESPN!) or on paper? I am here to shed a little light on the West region. Feel free to pick against me (if you did that last year you would have done very well). First, let me start with some NCAA history to help with your decisions when picking teams.
Since the seeding of the teams in 1979 only once has all four teams in the Final Four been the #1 seeds and only twice has there not been a single #1 seed. So I would definitely put at least one #1 seed in there, but not all four. There have also only been four double digit seeds in the final four; none above #11.
I believe that is enough background to get you started. Refer back to those facts when you stare at your Final Four and think you’ve cracked the code; you haven’t. There is no code.
Let’s move from generalities to the 2017 West Region! The #1 seed in the West is Gonzaga (32-1). This school is commonly known for always coming up short. I don’t have them winning the region, but I don’t have them losing in the second round either. Match ups are listed below with my winners in bold for the first round.
Gonzaga (1) – South Dakota St (16) : a 16 seed has never beat a 1 seed.
Northwestern (8) – Vanderbilt (9): This is the first time Northwestern has ever been in the NCAA tournament – who am I to have them lose in the first round?
Notre Dame (5) – Princeton (12): A 12 always beats a 5, but this will not be it. Notre Dame played well in the ACC tournament.
West Virginia (4) – Bucknell (13): West Virginia is one of the worst power 5 schools for a mid-major to play as they play a full press and are having a good year.
Maryland (6) – Xavier (11): I don’t feel very good about this but the freshman for Maryland have been great this year.
FSU (3) – Florida Gulf Coast (14): My first upset! Florida Gulf Coast is one of the rare #15 seeds that has upset a #2, so why not a #3?
Saint Mary’s (7) – VCU (10): a 10 over a 7 isn’t much of an upset but the “havoc” basketball by VCU will have Saint Mary’s on their heels.
Arizona (2) – North Dakota (15): You will see a lot of Arizona on my bracket, so if they don’t win this one then I am in big trouble. Plus they were the best team in the PAC-12 this year and are no strangers to the tournament.
I have Gonzaga (1) – West Virginia (4) and Maryland (6) – Arizona (2) as my match ups in the Sweet Sixteen. So it’s not all chalk but not terribly exciting either. I have Gonzaga getting slightly over the hump and getting to the Elite Eight. Arizona is their opponent. And that is where I have the Gonzaga Bulldogs end their tournament run.
I have Arizona (2) has my team to come out of the West! I would like to wish everyone good luck with winning their office or friend pools. There is no perfect way to pick a bracket, but feel free to use as much or as little information as you please. Sometimes winging it with only a general understanding of seeding can get you far!
Don’t forget to join the OTN group! It’s free!
Background of featured image courtesy of cqsisu.com