Busting Brackets

Bracketology 2024: Purdue and Houston lead new projected field of 68 into the New Year

The Purdue Boilermakers bench reacts to a play during the NCAA men   s basketball game against the
The Purdue Boilermakers bench reacts to a play during the NCAA men s basketball game against the / Alex Martin/Journal and Courier / USA
5 of 6

West Region (Los Angeles)

1.) Arizona vs. 16.) Samford

8.) Texas vs. 9.) Nevada

5.) Duke vs. 12.) Mississippi State

4.) BYU vs. 13.) Fort Wayne

6.) Oklahoma vs. 11.) Utah State

3.) Illinois vs. 14.) Portland State

7.) San Diego State vs. 10.) Dayton

2.) UConn vs. 15.) Colgate

The last region to look at is the West region where the former No. 1 seed in the country, the Arizona Wildcats reside as the top seed. Despite being the No. 4 overall seed I’m sure Tommy Lloyd won’t complain about their placement with a chance to play in Los Angeles. A No. 2 rank in the NET, a 4-2 record in quad 1 games, including what still might be the best win of anyone in the country, a 78-73 win at Cameron Indoor against Duke has Arizona securely on the 1-seed line for me, even with the two losses to Purdue and FAU in what might have been the game of the year so far. They have played the 10th toughest schedule in the country and have a metric average of 5.25.

This Wildcats team averages 93 per game and is led by transfers Caleb Love and Keshad Johnson who have been fantastic averaging 29 points and 11 rebounds, but one thing that makes this team so strong offensively is the way they share the ball, dishing out 20.5 assists per game prior to their New Year’s Eve tilt at Stanford.

The road to Los Angeles will not be easy for Arizona as those Duke Blue Devils lurk as the No. 5 side hoping to get their revenge on an even bigger stage. A couple of surprising teams find themselves as the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds in Illinois and BYU respectively. If that wasn’t enough, potentially waiting for the Wildcats in Los Angeles could be the No. 2 seed and defending champs UConn.

I don’t want to highlight a team in this region, but rather a conference. The Mountain West has three teams in this region and exemplifies the strong non-conference season it has had as a whole. A team Keshad Johnson knows well, the San Diego State Aztecs are the No. 7 seed, the Nevada Wolf Pack is the No. 9 seed and Danny Sprinkle’s Utah State Aggies are the No. 12 seed. No matter what happens en route to Los Angeles the MWC will have a big say in it.