Midwest Region Breakdown: Watch out for Arizona, North Dakota State
This may sound odd, considering the 12th-seeded Wildcats lost five of their last six, but a team that beat Kansas, Gonzaga and UCLA can beat just about anyone on a given day. That could be bad news for fifth-seeded Utah, which probably expected a little easier first-round draw. The Utes need to hope they meet the Wildcats who lost to UAB and not the team who beat six top-50 RPI teams.
The Eagles have some great wins (at North Carolina, Duke, Florida State) and some bad losses (Harvard, Saint Louis). They've lost five of their last nine, and the selection committee did them no favors by matching them with USC in the first round. The Trojans have won five straight, and forward
The Bison are fifth in the nation in three-point field goal percentage (41.2 percent) and sixth in field goal percentage (49 percent). That consistency could prove troublesome for No. 3 seed Kansas when the teams meet Friday in Minneapolis. For most sweet-shooting mid-major teams, that shooting percentage would shrink dramatically against a longer, more athletic power conference team. North Dakota State may have the size to keep their shots from getting altered. Other than leading scorer
No. 8 seed Ohio State, the top-seeded Cardinals potential second-round opponent, actually is closer to home (71 miles), but the Cardinals should have more than enough support. Dayton, Ohio, is just 152 miles from Louisville, and the Cardinals have a fan base that routinely packs 19,000-seat Freedom Hall. Besides, the Buckeyes will have their hands full with Siena in the first round. Assuming Louisville makes the second weekend, Cardinals fans will have to drive only 114 miles north on Interstate 65 to Indianapolis.
Saint Mary's guard
At times this season, the Demon Deacons looked good enough to make the Final Four. So naturally, the tournament's No. 1 overall seed may have to meet guard
Despite being in a region that seems a bit tough for a No. 1 overall seed, the Cardinals still should make the Final Four.