Midwest Regional Primer: Overall No. 1 Kansas will be tested
Kansas is the best team in the country and a strong favorite to make it to Indianapolis. Beyond the obvious -- the 32-2 record, the convincing Big 12 regular-season and tournament titles, the depth, talent and experience -- the Jayhawks are extremely strong in every statistical category Final Four teams usually excel in.
According to kenpom.com, KU is in the top five in both adjusted offensive and defensive efficiency, is 24th in two-point field goal percentage and second in two-point defensive percentage. The Jayhawks also hit the offensive glass extremely well and are flexible style-wise, as comfortable in a game with possessions in the low 60s as they are in the high 70s.
Kansas also is very difficult to slow down because its offensive attack is so balanced.
Simply put, they are a dominant, balanced, experienced team that will be very difficult to derail before Indianapolis. That said, the committee didn't do the Jayhawks any favors as the overall No. 1 seed.
KU should handle either UNLV or Northern Iowa in a second-round matchup, although UNI's slow-down style might make for a more uncomfortable game than a matchup with the Rebels, who likely don't have the firepower to stay with the Jayhawks for 40 minutes. After that, though, it could get tough.
KU could face either a hot Maryland or a talented-albeit-inconsistent Michigan State team in the Sweet 16, and neither 2 seed Ohio State nor 3 seed Georgetown would be any bargain in a regional final. Throw in No. 6 seed Tennessee and No. 7 seed Oklahoma State, which accounted for KU's two losses, and this is by far the most loaded bracket of the four.
No. 11 seed San Diego State is coming off a Mountain West tournament title, beating UNLV on its home floor after taking down New Mexico for the second time this season in the semis. SDSU has the athletes to make life very difficult for both Tennessee and likely second-round opponent Georgetown.
The Aztecs actually had the same scoring margin (+0.11 points per possession) as the Lobos in league play.
There really isn't a badly overseeded team in the top half of this bracket. Michigan State may be a tad high as a 5 seed, but not really, especially if you get them on the right night. This region also has a 2 that had an outside chance for a 1, a 3 that easily could have been a 2 and a 4 that tied for the conference title with the No. 3 overall seed.
It should be a full-court, up-tempo, entertaining game that could very well end in a late-night upset in Providence. Kenpom.com projects a one-point Tennessee win. West Coast teams usually struggle coming all the way East, but the estimated 9:45 p.m. start time basically replicates a normal game time for the Aztecs. They should be ready.
If seeds hold, there could be a monster Sweet 16 showdown between Ohio State and Georgetown.
There's no final answer other than Turner, but this region is utterly loaded with star power. In addition to Turner, you have 2010 conference players of the year in Maryland's
Coleman made news last season for stomping on the face of Arizona's
Monroe passed up the NBA draft last year after an up-and-down freshman season and it seems to have been the right choice. The Hoyas' big man has shown a smooth, multifaceted skill set on his way to 16.1 points and 9.5 rebounds a game, while acting as the sweet-passing post man in the Hoyas' Princeton-style offense. Now he will have the national stage to burnish his rep (and draft stock), and he's the best big man in Georgetown's side of the region. The scoring of
High-major category: 21. That's the number of years since the last time Georgetown played a first-round NCAA tournament game in Providence. The game? The legendary 50-49 escape over No. 16 seed Princeton.
Mid-major category: 9.1 and 12.6. That's Houston's number of turnovers per game and percentage of possessions on which they commit a turnover. The latter rate leads Division I and is remarkable given the Cougars play at the 20th fastest tempo in the country at over 72 possessions per game.
The regional's best team plus the easier side of the draw should equal Indy.