Reviewing Each Region in March Madness


Michael James and James Tolton

South: The south side of the bracket this year has the potential for many upsets, as there are multiple teams that are being seen as sleepers for the tournament. The upset to look out for in the South is definitely the matchup between #4 Virginia and #13 Furman. Virginia has shown this season that their offense has struggled at times, and this could become detrimental in this first-round matchup if Furman is hot out of the gates. Another upset to look out for is the matchup between #5 San Diego State and #12 Charleston. Charleston has shown this season they are capable of beating power 6 teams, as they took down a solid Virginia Tech team back in November. #1 Alabama is obviously the favorite in the South, but there is always potential for a crazy upset, and it certainly won’t be a walk in the park for any team trying to win the south side this year in March Madness. 

East: This year’s east side of the bracket might be the strongest in the entire NCAA tournament. Some notable teams are, #1 Purdue, #2 Marquette, #3 Kansas State, and #4 Tennessee. After a historic season, #2 Marquette is coming into the tournament fresh off their first Big East Championship. #2 Marquette is looking to be a very serious team in this year’s tournament and is looking to bring home some hardware this year. A sleeper to look out for is #8 Memphis which is coming off an upset in the AAC Championship as they comfortably took down #1 Houston and #11 Providence. The east side should make a lot of noise, and there are potential upsets that could ultimately shift the entire direction of March Madness this year, as there are teams on this side that have made runs in the past and have proved why they belong in the tournament. 

Midwest: The Houston Cougars dropped one seed in the overall rankings but were still able to top out the Midwest region of the bracket. The Cougars are leading many to doubt them after being dominated by Memphis in the AAC championship. Houston only squeaked Memphis a week ago in the final game of the regular season. Houston’s ceiling is a national championship, but their floor is a second-round exit against Arkansas, so I’d stay away from a Houston run when picking brackets this year. Texas seems like the safest pick in the Midwest to make the Final Four. The Indiana Hoosiers are in a similar position to the Cougars. The Hoosiers boast 3 wins against teams ranked #1 in the country this season; subsequently, there is no doubt that the Hoosiers have the ability to win big games in March. The downside to Indiana is their regular season record was just 22-11 with a recent loss against Penn State in the Big-10 Conference Tournament. The Hoosiers also have teams like Texas, Miami, Houston, and Xavier all standing between them and a Final Four appearance. At their best, the Indiana Hoosiers are the safest pick to win it all. Their inconsistency is leading to the Hoosiers being ruled out by many college basketball fans before they have even played a game.

West: The West region is by far the most lopsided, in my opinion. Kansas vs UCLA is the clear choice for the Elite Eight matchup in the West. Both of these teams made their conference championship and have displayed multiple times this season that they deserve to be ranked in the top 10 in the country. Gonzaga and TCU seem like the biggest threats to Kansas and UCLA, but these teams have failed on the biggest stages this year. Gonzaga plays in the cupcake West Coast Conference, meaning their only real competition is Saint Mary’s; consequently, Gonzaga is never prepared to compete late in March. I’d have to recommend choosing UCLA to advance to the Final Four over Kansas after the Big-12 championship game. Kansas got 20-pieced by Texas this past Saturday, leaving many to doubt the resume Kansas has built this year.