The field for the 2013 NCAA tournament has been announced, and it’s time to start breaking down the regions to take a look at key aspects of each individual group of 16.
Now it’s time to look at the Midwest region, headed up by the top overall seed in the tournament, the Louisville Cardinals.
Let’s take a look at a few key highlights for this region:
THE TOP SEED
After three straight losses in January, not many people could have predicted that Louisville would be sitting in this spot. But now they’ve won 10 straight (could have been 14 straight had they not lost that five overtime thriller in South Bend), and head into the Big Dance as the hottest team in the country. Oh, and they get to play in Lexington. Rick Pitino’s team has a solid setup for a Final Four appearance in Atlanta.
THE OTHER TOP SEEDS
Like Indiana, the Cardinals also received a team in the two spot that had a case for number one seed. Though Duke couldn’t boast two championships like Miami, the Blue Devils still have national championship talent. Michigan State might be the strongest three-seed in the tournament. So there’s another potential roadblock. And Saint Louis is a dangerous, dangerous team at the four given how efficient they are on defense. Louisville is still the favorite, but any of the top four teams in the region could make it to the Final Four.
I’d say the last team to make it in the field would be qualified as a sleeper. Maybe you think Middle Tennessee should have gotten in, maybe you think they shouldn’t have. That’s irrelevant at this point. This is a solid basketball team with a chance to take out Memphis in the 6/11 game if they can get past Saint Mary’s. MTSU hasn’t been in the tournament field since 1989. This program is hungry, and head coach Kermit Davis has a team that could make a run to the Sweet 16.
BEST FIRST ROUND GAME
I’m most interested in the 5/12 between Oklahoma State and Oregon. Oregon’s seeding has been a heavy topic of conversation already given that they won the Pac-12 tournament and had a pretty solid season. The Cowboys have beaten quality teams this season and I love the Marcus Smart/Markel Brown combo. This could be a fun, high-scoring affair. Anything else would be kind of disappointing.
What are your thoughts on the Midwest region?