NCAA Tournament Midwest Bracket: Crazy to Say UVa Loses Opening Weekend, but…

If you follow the Bracket Ratings below you get another Michigan State over Virginia tournament game, but this is the one bracket that is so balanced we are going to risk being called crazy by going against our numbers on Butler, Seton Hall, and Syracuse.

Picking a No. 1 to lose before the Elite 8 is a recipe for killing your bracket, but both the No. 9 seed Butler and No. 5 seed Purdue play a style that could give either a shot at UVa if they get that far. Purdue is huge and Butler is scrappy with the strangest shooter in basketball in Roosevelt Jones, whose goofy shots might be the one thing that UVa’s incredible defense may not be able to answer.

Even if UVa does make it through to the Elite 8, we believe Michigan State has the edge again. We also believe Seton Hall is hot enough to upset 3-seed Utah in the second round and Syracuse has the NBA-level talent to upset 7-seed Dayton.

The number to the left of the team indicates how many lines they occupy on our bracket. (see the Fox Sports bracket to fill in here)

Seed Midwest Region Win Brac Sag Hot Inj NBA PG All-Americans
1 Virginia 1 95.6 92 1 0.8 0.4 1.4 3rd
16 Hampton 66.9 65 0 1.1 0.1 0.6 MEAC/1
8 Texas Tech 81.1 82 -1 0.1 0.0 No All-B12
9 Butler 3 88.8 86 1 0.3 0.4 0.7 0.4 BE/2
5 Purdue 2 93.1 90 2 1.7 -1.0 0.4 B10/2
12 Arkansas Little Rock 79.2 79 0 -0.4 0.6 SB/1
4 Iowa St. 1 92.0 88 0 -0.4 1.5 0.1 2.8 2nd,5th
13 Iona 81.9 77 2 0.8 0.2 0.4 1.4 MAAC/mvp,2
6 Seton Hall 2 88.0 84 3 0.6 -0.1 0.6 BE/1
11 Gonzaga 89.5 87 1 -0.3 1.1 -1.0 1.6 WCC/mvp,1
3 Utah 1 94.0 87 2 2.0 1.4 -0.1 1.8 1st
14 Fresno St. 77.7 76 2 -1.5 0.2 0.4 0.6 MWC/1
7 Dayton 83.7 83 -2 2.2 0.1 -0.1 0.6 A10/1
10 Syracuse 1 81.7 83 -2 1.3 -1.0 0.4 ACC/2
2 Michigan St. 6 102.6 93 3 2.0 1.8 1.0 1.8 1st
15 Middle Tennessee 77.2 75 2 0.8 -1.0 0.4 CUSA/2

We pick Michigan State to win the Region and go to the Final Four, where they are our pick to win the national championship as well. The hardest match-ups to call were those Seton Hall, Syracuse, and Butler upsets. Iowa State over Iona is also a very close call.

The team with the best All-American/All-Conference talent is Iowa State, with two All-Americans. However, both Utah and Michigan State have a first team All-American.

The team hottest teams in the region are Michigan State and Seton Hall (see progress of rating at www.kenpom.com).

The healthiest teams are Utah, Michigan State, and Dayton, while Fresno State is the hardest hit by injury. (See Breitbart Sports list of all the players whose injuries were factored into this rating).

The teams with the best NBA-level talent that could just dominate are Michigan State and Purdue, though Syracuse, Utah, Iowa State, and Gonzaga are not very far behind in a region with very balanced talent. (see right column at www.valueaddbasketball.com for the percent chance of each player making the tournament.

The most experienced guards is Michigan State, followed by Butler.


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