*The team in blue denotes the winner
Midwest Region – Round of 64
(1) Kansas vs. (16) Texas Southern/Texas A&M-CC
For what it’s worth, we have Corpus Christi moving on to play Kansas in the Round of 64. Unfortunately for the Islanders, their season will end in blowout fashion to the top-seeded Jayhawks.
(8) San Diego State vs. (9) Creighton
None of the 8-9 matchups are particularly easy to predict, but this one feels especially close. Creighton is coming off a strong showing in the Big East tournament despite ultimately coming up short against Villanova in the title game. The Aztecs are fresh off a close loss to Boise State, but have been particularly strong down the stretch. The difference in this game might be San Diego State guard Matt Bradley. The former Cal transfer can fill it up from the perimeter. Aztecs in a nail-biter.
(5) Iowa vs. (12) Richmond
The Spiders are not backing down from this matchup. Richmond is a team filled with experienced vets. The team is exuding plenty of confidence following an immaculate Atlantic 10 tournament run. However, they’re running into the absolute buzz-saw that is the Iowa Hawkeyes. Fran McCaffrey’s group is red-hot, and boasts a bit too much firepower for Richmond to handle. The No. 2 scoring team in the nation rolls to the Round of 32.
(4) Providence vs. (13) South Dakota State
The Friars have found ways to win close games all year long. However, that trend could end up costing them an early round matchup against a supposedly inferior team. Providence enters a matchup with South Dakota State as the proverbial favorite. However, the Jackrabbits could turn those projections on its head. The Summit League champions haven’t lost since December 15th, and went 18-0 in conference play before winning the Summit League tournament. Led by a trio of wing scorers, South Dakota State will pull off the upset.
(6) LSU vs. (11) Iowa State
There isn’t a whole lot to like about LSU’s current situation. Former coach Will Wade was fired earlier this week, which means assistant Kevin Nickelberry will serve as interim coach for the NCAA tournament. The Tigers have been up-and-down all year, and Wade’s firing only adds to the turmoil. On the other side, Iowa State is an experienced team that was battle tested in the Big 12. Izaiah Brockington and company pounce from the opening tip and take down the Tigers.
(3) Wisconsin vs. (14) Colgate
This is a bit dicey for a Wisconsin team that hasn’t been able to put away opponents all year long. Colgate is not your typical 14-seed. They essentially returned the same team which gave Arkansas a run in the Round of 64 last year. The Raiders boast plenty of experience and are one of the best three-point shooting teams in the country. However, Colgate does not have Johnny Davis. The National Player of the Year candidate takes over as Wisconsin escapes with its first win of the tournament.
(7) USC vs. (10) Miami
Two teams that started off strong but tailed off late. The Hurricanes were arguably the second-best team in the ACC, and had Duke on the ropes in the conference tournament semifinal. Coach Jim Larranaga has done a wonderful job with Miami, and signed a two-year extension last week. Though it wouldn’t be shocking to see the Canes advance, this one goes to the Trojans. USC has the more talented team, and will lean on the length of Isaiah Mobley and Drew Peterson to pull off the victory.
(2) Auburn vs. (15) Jacksonville State
Don’t be so quick to cross off Jacksonville State here. The Gamecocks play an up-tempo style which generates a ton of three-point attempts. With the game being played around noon, we could see a situation where Auburn is slow from the start. That being said, the Tigers aren’t bowing out this early. Auburn has a minor scare, but ultimately comes out victorious.
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