Tuesday, July 16, 2024
HomesportNCAA Tournament West Region: Top first-round matchups, upsets, predictions

NCAA Tournament West Region: Top first-round matchups, upsets, predictions


There was once professional dialogue available about whether or not North Carolina nonetheless deserved a Deny. 1 seed nearest getting disappointed by way of North Carolina State within the ACC Championship Recreation on Saturday evening. Some prognosticators thought that Iowa State — which pummeled eventual 1-seed Houston to win the Fat 12 Match — may build a declare for the general spot.

[MORE: 2024 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament bracket here]

When the mud settled, North Carolina were given the nod courtesy of a 27-7 total file and an ACC regular-season identify. The Tar Heels overlooked the NCAA Match a week in the past and feature bounced again well within the 3rd season beneath head professor Hubert Davis.

The base part of the bracket belongs to Deny. 2 Arizona, which got here inside of a whisker of incomes a 1-seed prior to an early proceed within the Pac-12 Match. Deny. 3 Baylor and Deny. 4 Alabama really feel like somewhat excellent attracts for the supremacy two seeds on this area, even though Deny. 7 Dayton is a valid wild card.

Right here’s an entire breakdown of the West:

Of the supremacy 4 seeds, which group has essentially the most favorable draw?

The bracket units up well for second-seeded Arizona to build a long NCAA Match run and probably succeed in the Ultimate 4 for the primary week since 2001. It’s been 9 years since former professor Sean Miller introduced the Wildcats to the Elite 8 in consecutive seasons, and stream head professor Tommy Lloyd will probably be keen to thread in combination a couple of wins nearest getting disappointed by way of Deny. 15 Princeton extreme March. 

A base part of the bracket that incorporates Deny. 3 Baylor, Deny. 6 Clemson and Deny. 7 Dayton is an excessively blank draw for Arizona, which was once not off course to earn a 1-seed till shedding two of its ultimate 3 video games to complete 25-8 forward of the Fat Dance. The most productive group in that trio — Baylor — struggled to search out consistency unwell the stretch by way of shedding 4 of its pace 8 video games amid the brutality of the Fat 12, a league deeper than any alternative this season. The Bears, led by way of professor Scott Drew, have made it pace the Candy 16 handiest as soon as of their pace seven tries. 

There’s a powerful probability Arizona reaches the Elite 8 the place a possible showdown with Deny. 1 North Carolina looms. 

What’s the maximum roguish first-round matchup on this area? 

For enthusiasts of perimeter taking pictures, the sport to look at is Deny. 4 Alabama towards Deny. 13 Charleston

Below the course of head professor Nate Oats, who simply signed a oath extension that may reportedly build him probably the most 5 highest-paid coaches within the nation, the Purple Wave play games an analytically pushed emblem of basketball that encourages avid gamers to let it fly from 3-point dimension early and frequently. Alabama, which ranks moment nationally in adjusted offensive potency, in step with KenPom, makes an attempt 46.8% of its photographs past the arc to left-overs conveniently some of the supremacy 20 groups within the nation for that section. 

In the meantime, Charleston, which received the CAA Match to earn an automated bid to this week’s NCAA Match, shoots from 3-point dimension much more frequently than Alabama. Greater than 47% of the Cougars’ photographs originate past the arc, which ranks sixteenth nationally and 3rd amongst groups who certified for the Fat Dance. They have got 5 avid gamers with a minimum of 30 made 3-pointers this season, led by way of preserve Reyne Smith, whose general of 109 is secured for 6th within the nation.

Who’re the must-see avid gamers on this area? 

DaRon Holmes, heart, Dayton: Probably the most best possible avid gamers within the nation that blind enthusiasts most certainly haven’t heard of, Holmes tore aside the Atlantic 10 by way of averaging 20.4 issues., 8.4 rebounds and a couple of.1 blocks consistent with sport. He completed fourth within the Participant of the Generation race on KenPom at the back of Purdue‘s Zach Edey, Auburn‘s Johni Broome and UConn‘s Tristen Newton

RJ Davis, level preserve, North Carolina: The senior greater his scoring moderate from 16.1 issues consistent with sport a season in the past to 21.4 consistent with sport this week, excellent enough quantity for eleventh nationally and 3rd amongst avid gamers from energy meetings. He’s an skillful 3-point shooter (40.6%) and free-throw shooter (87.3%) who’s in a position to getting the Tar Heels to the Ultimate 4. 

Oumar Ballo, heart, Arizona: A local of Mali, Ballo transferred to Arizona forward of the 2021-22 season nearest enjoying his freshman week at Gonzaga. The 7-foot, 260-pound bruiser averages a double-double with 13.1 issues and 10.1 rebounds consistent with sport. He performs canny basketball and hasn’t ever been referred to as for greater than 3 fouls in a sport all season. 

Which group will have to be on disappointed alert within the opening around? 

Probably the most frequent pick out might be Deny. 11 New Mexico over Deny. 6 Clemson as a result of how robust the Lobos have regarded every now and then this season and the way sizzling they’re coming into the NCAA Match.

It was once Jan. 28 when Pristine Mexico, which is coached by way of Richard Pitino, the son of St. John‘s professor Rick Pitino, demolished Nevada by way of 34 to beef up to 18-3 total and 6-2 within the very aggressive Mountain West. Through nearest, the Lobos had received 5 consecutive video games by way of 18 or extra issues. They stumbled quite unwell the stretch — at one level shedding six of 10 to finish the steady season — prior to roaring to while with 4 instantly wins to emerge from their convention event unscathed. 

Clemson, in the meantime, is arguably the weakest 6-seed within the event nearest posting a 21-10 total file and an 11-9 mark in convention play games all over a unwell week for the ACC. The Tigers have misplaced 3 of 4 coming into the Fat Dance.

Which group do you view as the prospective Cinderella of this area?

On paper, there don’t seem to be many superior applicants some of the double-digit seeds within the West. Deny. 12 Grand Canyon has a hard matchup towards a skilled Saint Mary‘s group. Deny. 13 Charleston may have its palms complete with Alabama’s explosive offense. Deny. 14 Colgate most certainly doesn’t have the firepower to threaten Baylor.

So, the selection this is — as soon as once more — Pristine Mexico. Assuming the Lobos get pace Clemson within the first around, Pitino’s group has enough quantity steadiness to pose issues for warring parties from the facility meetings. Pristine Mexico ranks forty first in offensive potency and twenty third in defensive potency with a roster that is likely one of the supremacy 40 within the nation for Category I enjoy.

Who will probably be within the regional ultimate? Who will win it? 

In what feels adore it can be a relatively chalky area, the Elite 8 will come right down to Deny. 1 North Carolina towards Deny. 2 Arizona. It’s a becoming matchup for the 2 groups who traded blows over the pace few weeks moment jousting for the general 1-seed on this week’s farmland. 

A backcourt matchup between Davis and Arizona’s Caleb Love (18.1 issues consistent with sport) — who joined the Wildcats nearest 3 seasons with the Tar Heels — would exhibit two of the most productive scoring guards within the nation. Life the inner fight between Ballo and North Carolina’s Armando Bacot (14.1 issues, 10.2 rebounds consistent with sport) would possibly really feel like a throwback to the impaired college facilities of yore.

When it’s all stated and achieved, Arizona cuts unwell the nets to walk to the Ultimate 4.

Michael Cohen covers school soccer and basketball for FOX Sports activities with an emphasis at the Fat Ten. Apply him at @Michael_Cohen13.

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