The Road to Atlanta: West Region

WestBby Josh Wilson

The West bracket has a whole lot of criticism coming its way. Many critics have already labeled it the “weak region”. While I will admit the Gonzaga maybe the weakest one seed (looking at you Kansas), the lower seeds are among the toughest lower seeds in the tourney. Lower seeds Iowa State, Belmont, and Ole Miss, all of whom that given the right game, right situation may just cause a bit of madness, live by the three and if they’re hitting, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

The key matchup to watch out for in the first (second) round is Wisconsin and Ole Miss, this game should be interesting due to both teams conflicting style of play. You have Ole Miss, who is coming off a hot(ty toddy) run to win the SEC Tourney, who likes to push the pace, run the ball, and score in the hundreds versus Wisconsin’s defense heavy, slow down the game, and beat you by only scoring 50 style. Both teams have proved of late they can win big games, and this one will be big.

The strongest team in this region probably isn’t Gonzaga. The perennial Cinderella team has finally been recognized by the big dance. Led by big man Kelly Olynyk the Zags have to prove they deserve that first ever number one seed. The power in this region is number two, THE Ohio State University. The Buckeyes and Aaron Craft have gotten hot at just the right time. They have been tested through the regular season and look to return to the Final 4 again this time around. Don’t expect their run to stop there. This may shock you but Ohio State stands a legitimate chance at cutting down the nets once this crazy season ends.

One thing is for certain this season, nothing is certain. The “weak” region may provide our biggest upsets of the tourney. Ohio State’s biggest challenge may come against Big Ten foe Wisconsin (sorry Gonzaga) in the Elite Eight. With this year being a “down year in college basketball” and this region being “weak” anything could happen. But when Ohio State heads to Atlanta remember who told you. My Final 4 (subject to change of course) is Louisville, Ohio State, Michigan, and Miami. Remember have fun, it’s the most wonderful time of the year.


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