West Region – Round of 64
(1) Gonzaga vs. (16) Georgia State
No reason to get cute here, Gonzaga’s stars should be done playing shortly after halftime — there will be no UMBC-like upset this year.
(8) Boise State vs. (9) Memphis
Playing in the Mountain West Conference, Boise State has flown under the radar all year long. Conversely, Memphis has remained in the discussion since it began the season ranked No. 12. The Tigers are a talented group, but they turn the ball over on more than 20-percent of their possessions. Boise State, the regular season and MWC tournament champ, will ride its hot-shooting to victory.
(5) UConn vs. (12) New Mexico State
The New Mexico State Aggies cannot be overlooked. The Aggies are strong on the boards and defend well — both at the rim (top-10 in the nation in blocked shots) and beyond the arc. However, UConn is just as potent defensively and is the nation’s best offensive rebounding team. While this one may be close, UConn’s talent will carry the day.
(4) Arkansas vs. (13) Vermont
Arkansas is a good team. The Razorbacks finished fourth in the SEC during regular season play and can easily advance to the Sweet 16. With that being said, however, we smell an upset in this matchup. Vermont went 17-1 in conference play — with its lone loss coming by one point. In what will be a close game, Arkansas’ poor shooting will ultimately result in an upset for the Catamounts.
(6) Alabama vs. (11) Rutgers/Notre Dame
Which version of the Crimson Tide is going to show up — the one who beat Gonzaga, Tennessee, Baylor, and Houston? Or the Alabama squad that lost its last three games of the season and looked rather poor in doing so? For one night, we are banking on the ‘good’ Bama to show up. The Tide will take down Rutgers at the buzzer.
(3) Texas Tech vs. (14) Montana State
The Red Raiders are legit. While Montana State is capable of keeping things close thanks to its three-point shooting, Texas Tech’s stout defense will be too much to overcome. Tech advances.
(7) Michigan State vs. (10) Davidson
Steph Curry isn’t walking through the door for Davidson, but the Wildcats are still going to upset Sparty. The Wildcats are talented offensively and aren’t going to settle for poor shots — which is why they are a top-10 offensive team in the country. Michigan State is a sloppy, turnover-happy team. That doesn’t work in March.
(2) Duke vs. (15) CSU Fullerton
It’s nice to see Fullerton in the tournament, but the Big West tournament champs are not going to upset Duke. The Blue Devils have far too much talent to lose this game.
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