The Midwest Region will give us a matchup of blue blood teams. Featuring three of the teams that participate in the Champions Classic at the beginning of the season. Kansas, Duke and Michigan State will compete in a bracket that is clearly top heavy. Matt Boeding and I looked at this region, we are ready to break it down!
First Round Upsets to watch: New Mexico State over Clemson, College of Charleston over Auburn, Kansas second round (Seriously)
Potential Bracket Buster: New Mexico State Aggies
Clemson had a great season, but they have been scuffling down the stretch, 3-5 in their last eight games. New Mexico State plays aggressive defense they are 6th in the nation in effective field goal percentage defense. New Mexico State has proven that they can hang with the power conferences this season. The Aggies upended Miami on Dec. 23 and fell by only five points to USC two days later. We saw recently in Clemson’s matchup with Virginia that they can be held in check on offense. New Mexico State will bring it, Clemson will have to have a big performance from Gabe Davoe. This will be our 12 over 5 upset.
Most Intriguing Potential Matchup: Duke Blue Devils vs The Fighting Trae Young’s
I am a believer that Oklahoma shouldn’t have made this tournament. But they are in so who doesn’t want to see Trae Young vs, Marvin Bagley? Rhode Island might have a backcourt that can combine to rival Young’s offensive firepower. In Jared Terrell, the Rams have a first-team all-Atlantic 10 guard who can strain defenses by knocking down three-point shots, getting to the free-throw line and converting his attempts once there at a favorable rate. And at full strength, fellow senior E.C. Matthews gives Rhode Island another dangerous perimeter scorer. The Rams are going to have their hands full trying to contain Young, but Oklahoma also has to reckon with a big defensive challenge. But when you have the dynamic talent of Trae Young you have to think that Young will overcome a Rhode Island team that we believe is a bit overrated.
Duke has had a problem with dominate guards for the last few seasons.Grayson Allen’s length will be an asset if Coach K decides to go man to man vs Oklahoma, but with Duke’s tendencies to switch on screens we may see a lot of Young vs Bagley which will be a problem for Marvin. Duke should handle an Oklahoma team that is a one trick pony. Still this game will be marketed through the roof.
Bracket Winner: Duke-Kansas
I know this isn’t a pick but we couldn’t agree on a winner of this bracket. Kansas has looked dominate over the last few weeks. There is no way the Jayhawks should have won the Big12 Tournament without Azubuike, but they did. Devonte Graham is a true leader in college basketball, he can lead this team very far.
The problem I see with Kansas is Duke or Michigan State can be a tough matchup for them. The bigs will be dominate against KU. Whether it is Bagley and Carter or Michigan States 20 different bigs they throw at you Kansas does not have the depth to handle the offensive skill sets. I love a senior guard, I picked KU, Matt picked Duke.