Beating the Bracket: A Guide to the Midwest Region

What teams are underseeded? Overseeded? Gleaning the answers can be the difference between being an office also-ran and the winner of your annual NCAA tournament pool. The Midwest Region offers many potential surprises, particularly as the tournament pairs down weaker squads.

The following are the Value Add Rankings for each player in the top half of the Midwest Region, their team’s seed, height, year in school and which players are NBA prospects (all caps) as well as which of the other players are guards (small “g”). The teams are Cal Poly (16-seed), Kansas St. (9), Kentucky (8), Louisville (4), Manhattan (13), NC State (12), St. Louis (5), Texas Southern (16), Wichita St. (1) and Xavier (12). Most likely upsets:

Both Louisville and Russ Smith are repeating their run last year. Again, Smith was not in the Top 100 players in Value Add earlier in the year, and has skyrocketed to the 11th ranking and Louisville are likely to have just enough to get past Wichita State again this year. Earlier, St. Louis could lose to the winner of the play-in. NC State has improved from 79th to 66th while St. Louis has fallen from 19th to 34th in the last month. St. Louis does have a clear edge at guard against NC State, but not against Xavier’s NBA-bound Semaj Christon. It looks tough either way for St. Louis.

Home Advantage: St. Louis is a pretty fair site for Wichita State’s game against the Kentucky-Kansas State winner. Whoever merges might rather face Duke than Michigan in Indianapolis (site of the Big Ten football championship) in their third game.

The items listed for the top few players on each team should be the biggest considerations along with injured players, the home advantage, and which team enters the tournament hot (which we define as improving the most at www.kenpom.com over the past month of the season). The system is a precise measurement of how many points a player adds to his team's score per game over the player who takes his place. Every score (three-pointer, two-pointer or foul shot), assist, offensive rebound, foul drawn, etc. helps a team score while every turnover and missed shot costs the team points. On defense, every steal, blocked shot, defensive rebound, turnover forced, and opponent's missed shot takes points off the board while every basket or offensive rebound allowed adds to the opponent's score. The player's offensive and defensive combination calculates together with the help of the stats at www.kenpom.com. How many points a player adds to his team’s score appears in the offensive category (shown as "off" in the table below), and his overall impact on points once defense is factored appears as “Total” on the table.

Top Midwest Bracket Players (teams in order they appear on bracket):
Rnk Player Seed Team Ht Yr NBA/g Off Total
340 Chris Eversley 16 Cal Poly 6' 7" Sr   1.19 2.31
398 David Nwaba 16 Cal Poly 6' 4" So   1.79 2.05
1342 Kyle Odister 16 Cal Poly 6' 0 Sr   0.87 0.44
1464 Jamal Johnson 16 Cal Poly 6' 0 Sr g 0.00 0.36
1653 Anthony Silvestri 16 Cal Poly 6' 7" Jr   0.53 0.26
1681 Zach Gordon 16 Cal Poly 6' 8" So   0.00 0.25
1716 Joel Awich 16 Cal Poly 6' 7" So   0.31 0.24
1863 Michael Bolden 16 Cal Poly 6' 5" Jr   0.34 0.17
1890 Ridge Shipley 16 Cal Poly 6' 0 Fr   0.32 0.16
2078 Taylor Sutlive 16 Cal Poly 6' 3" Fr   0.17 0.08
  Brian Bennett 16 Cal Poly 6' 9" So   0.00 0.00
  Maliik Love 16 Cal Poly 6' 2" Jr   0.00 0.00
538 Aaric Murray 16 Texas Southern 6' 10" Sr   1.95 1.59
855 DeAngelo Scott 16 Texas Southern 6' 7" Sr   1.92 0.99
997 Lawrence Johnson-Danner 16 Texas Southern 6' 4" Sr   1.52 0.76
1564 Madarious Gibbs 16 Texas Southern 6' 0 Jr g 0.62 0.31
1732 Jose Rodriguez 16 Texas Southern 6' 7" Jr   0.46 0.23
1895 Ray Penn 16 Texas Southern 5' 9" Sr g 0.31 0.16
  Aaron Clayborn 16 Texas Southern 6' 6" Sr   0.00 0.00
  D'Aris Scarver 16 Texas Southern 6' 5" Sr   0.00 0.00
12 Fred Van Vleet 1 Wichita St. 5' 11" So g 5.29 6.38
64 Ron Baker 1 Wichita St. 6' 3" So g 3.63 4.67
139 Cleanthony Early 1 Wichita St. 6' 8" Sr   3.14 3.69
235 Tekele Cotton 1 Wichita St. 6' 2" Jr   2.95 2.92
372 Darius Carter 1 Wichita St. 6' 7" Jr   2.05 2.14
824 Chadrack Lufile 1 Wichita St. 6' 9" Sr   0.61 1.04
1680 Kadeem Coleby 1 Wichita St. 6' 9" Sr   0.00 0.25
2302 Evan Wessel 1 Wichita St. 6' 5" So   0.01 0.01
  Nick Wiggins 1 Wichita St. 6' 6" Sr   0.00 0.00
157 Will Spradling 9 Kansas St. 6' 2" Sr g 2.12 3.51
371 Marcus Foster 9 Kansas St. 6' 2" Fr g 1.78 2.14
523 Thomas Gipson 9 Kansas St. 6' 7" Jr   1.09 1.62
551 Shane Southwell 9 Kansas St. 6' 7" Sr   0.59 1.55
674 Nino Williams 9 Kansas St. 6' 5" Jr   1.24 1.30
703 Wesley Iwundu 9 Kansas St. 6' 7" Fr   0.83 1.26
812 Nigel Johnson 9 Kansas St. 6' 1" Fr   0.34 1.07
1148 Omari Lawrence 9 Kansas St. 6' 3" Sr   0.00 0.62
1234 DJ Johnson 9 Kansas St. 6' 9" So   0.03 0.53
2006 Jevon Thomas 9 Kansas St. 6' 0 Fr   0.00 0.11
56 Willie Cauley-Stein 8 Kentucky 7' 0 So C 2.19 4.81
63 Julius Randle 8 Kentucky 6' 9" Fr SF/PF 3.41 4.67
156 Aaron Harrison 8 Kentucky 6' 6" Fr SG 3.22 3.55
202 James Young 8 Kentucky 6' 6" Fr SG 2.79 3.16
460 Dakari Johnson 8 Kentucky 7' 0 Fr C 1.38 1.85
510 Alex Poythress 8 Kentucky 6' 8" So SF/PF 1.08 1.67
753 Andrew Harrison 8 Kentucky 6' 6" Fr PG/SG 1.57 1.18
2229 Jarrod Polson 8 Kentucky 6' 2" Sr   0.06 0.03
  Dominique Hawkins 8 Kentucky 6' 0 Fr   0.00 0.00
227 Rob Loe 5 Saint Louis 6' 11" Sr   1.76 2.96
241 Jordair Jett 5 Saint Louis 6' 1" Sr g 1.09 2.89
273 Mike McCall 5 Saint Louis 6' 0 Sr   1.74 2.68
285 Dwayne Evans 5 Saint Louis 6' 6" Sr   1.26 2.60
794 Grandy Glaze 5 Saint Louis 6' 6" Jr   0.03 1.09
1211 Austin McBroom 5 Saint Louis 5' 9" So   0.61 0.55
1470 John Manning 5 Saint Louis 6' 11" Jr   0.00 0.36
1764 Tanner Lancona 5 Saint Louis 6' 8" Fr   0.17 0.22
1827 Jake Barnett 5 Saint Louis 6' 5" Sr   0.00 0.19
  Mike Crawford 5 Saint Louis 6' 4" Fr   0.00 0.00
6 TJ Warren 12 North Carolina St. 6' 8" So SF 5.84 7.42
407 Jordan Vandenberg 12 North Carolina St. 7' 1" Sr   1.78 2.03
634 Ralston Turner 12 North Carolina St. 6' 5" Jr   2.08 1.38
903 Lennard Freeman 12 North Carolina St. 6' 8" Fr   0.81 0.91
1369 Tyler Lewis 12 North Carolina St. 5' 11" So   0.85 0.42
1379 Desmond Lee 12 North Carolina St. 6' 4" Jr   0.26 0.41
1424 BeeJay Anya 12 North Carolina St. 6' 9" Fr   0.07 0.39
1704 Anthony Barber 12 North Carolina St. 6' 2" Fr   0.48 0.24
2314 Kyle Washington 12 North Carolina St. 6' 9" Fr   0.00 0.00
162 Matt Stainbrook 12 Xavier 6' 10" Jr   2.42 3.45
253 Semaj Christon 12 Xavier 6' 3" So PG 3.01 2.82
442 James Farr 12 Xavier 6' 9" So   1.25 1.91
480 Justin Martin 12 Xavier 6' 6" Jr   1.90 1.77
892 Jalen Reynolds 12 Xavier 6' 9" Fr   0.86 0.92
910 Isaiah Philmore 12 Xavier 6' 8" Sr   1.78 0.89
950 Dee Davis 12 Xavier 6' 0 Jr   1.66 0.83
1577 Myles Davis 12 Xavier 6' 2" Fr   0.60 0.30
2246 Erik Stenger 12 Xavier 6' 8" Sr   0.00 0.03
  Brandon Randolph 12 Xavier 6' 1" Fr   0.00 0.00
11 Russ Smith 4 Louisville 6' 0 Sr PG 4.45 6.83
20 Montrezl Harrell 4 Louisville 6' 8" So PF/C 3.61 5.90
131 Chris Jones 4 Louisville 5' 10" Jr g 1.65 3.78
154 Wayne Blackshear 4 Louisville 6' 5" Jr SF 2.18 3.57
184 Luke Hancock 4 Louisville 6' 6" Sr   3.09 3.22
249 Stephan Van Treese 4 Louisville 6' 9" Sr   1.55 2.84
262 Terry Rozier 4 Louisville 6' 1" Fr   2.00 2.78
498 Mangok Mathiang 4 Louisville 6' 10" Fr   1.01 1.72
613 Chane Behanan 4 Louisville 6' 6" Jr PF 0.58 1.42
1046 Tim Henderson 4 Louisville 6' 2" Sr   0.68 0.72
  Anton Gill 4 Louisville 6' 4" Fr   0.00 0.00
134 George Beamon 13 Manhattan 6' 4" Sr   2.34 3.74
269 Rhamel Brown 13 Manhattan 6' 7" Sr   0.92 2.71
323 Emmy Andujar 13 Manhattan 6' 6" Jr g 0.85 2.36
423 Michael Alvarado 13 Manhattan 6' 2" Sr g 1.01 1.96
635 Shane Richards 13 Manhattan 6' 5" So   2.08 1.38
1182 RaShawn Stores 13 Manhattan 5' 11" Jr   0.78 0.58
1534 Ashton Pankey 13 Manhattan 6' 10" So   0.00 0.32
1803 Tyler Wilson 13 Manhattan 6' 0 Fr   0.00 0.20
  Donovan Kates 13 Manhattan 6' 6" Jr   0.00 0.00
  Rich Williams 13 Manhattan 6' 5" Fr   0.00 0.00

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