It is that time of year again, where every office in America participates in illegal gambling and no one gets fired. It is a beautiful time of year as the NCAA tournament is the crown jewel of sporting events. This week everyone becomes an expert and touts their picks with pride until next Monday when they realize their bracket is busted and they just lost dome. We at Wingspan Sports have actually paid attention all year long, so our plan is to help you with your bracket. Each region will be covered and we all will post our entire brackets by mid-day today. Lets start with the Midwest Region.
This to me is the best region in the entire tournament. Whoever comes out of this bracket is going to have a very good shot at winning the National Championship. Kansas is the number 1 seed in this region, followed by Duke at #2, Michigan State at #3, and Auburn at #4. The top three seeds all based on talent could be #1 seeds and Auburn is a very dangerous team out of the tough SEC. This region also boasts Trae Young From 10th seeded Oklahoma, who just happened to lead the nation is scoring and assists. This region has a lot of NBA players and a lot of very good teams. My formula for tournament time has also been the amount of next level talent on the team combined with the coach. Lets look at the best players and coaches in this region first
1) Duke- The Blue Devils boast 5 NBA players on this roster including lottery picks Marvin Bagley and Wendell Carter. To go along with the lottery guys, Grayson Allen, Trevon Duval, and Gary Trent Jr. should all be in the NBA at some level next season. This is one of the most loaded teams in terms of NBA talent Duke has ever had and is very similar to some of the Kentucky’s Final Four teams of the past that were loaded.
2) Michigan State- Michigan State does not boast the overall NBA talent of Duke but they do have two of the highest rated players for next seasons NBA draft which puts them in the number 2 spot. Miles Bridges came back for a sophomore season after a freshman year that would have had him in the lottery. His draft stock has not changed much and he is still a lottery player. Jaren Jackson Jr. is one of the most talented big men in the country and is a real X-factor in this region. He has the ability to block shots can really alter close games and if he comes up big Michigan State can not only advance out of the Midwest Region but also win the national championship, that’s how good he is. That is also a lot of pressure on a Freshman but we have seen Freshman come up big in the tournament before.
3) Kansas- Kansas does not have any top flight NBA talent despite being the number one seed but they do offer a few guys who should be drafted. This group is led by Devonte Graham who won Big 12 player of the year honors, despite playing in the same conference as Trae Young. He is the type of lead guard that you need to have come tournament time if you want to win. He is joined by Svi Mykhailiuk on the wing who is a solid player that is able to knock down three-pointers. The big question for Kansas is the health of big man Udoke Azubuike, who missed the Big 12 tournament with a strained MCL. Azubuike is a large body and is really important to the defense of Kansas as he is one of the only big men they have.
Other players to watch in this region
- Trae Young PG Oklahoma
- Omer Yurtseven C NC State
- Kenrich Williams SF/PF TCU
- Angel Delgado C Seton Hall
- Mustapha Heron G Auburn
- Bryce Brown G Auburn
1) Duke- Mike Krzyzewski (Hall of Fame)- We do not need to spend much time on Coach K, we all know he is a legend and has seen it all when it comes to this tournament. What is shocking to me is how good this guy looks at the age of 71, that has to count for something right?
2) Michigan State- Tom Izzo (Hall of Fame)- Tom Izzo would be number 1 in any other region this guy is another legend. This guy has led teams to 7 finals fours in his 23 years at Michigan State and he also has one National championship. Some say this is the most talent he has ever had, so this is a dangerous team
3) Kansas- Bill Self (Hall of Fame)- How good is the coaching in this region when you have a Hall of Fame Coach ranking third on our list of top coaches. Bill Self is a great coach and is the model of consistency during the regular season as Kansas has now won 14 straight Big 12 regular season titles. The only knock on Self is he has had some early tournament exits but that happens to every coach at some point.
First round Upsets
#12 New Mexico over #5 Clemson
#9 NC State over #8 Seton Hall
#10 Oklahoma over #7 Rhode Island
Final Four in Bracket
#1 Kansas vs #4 Auburn
#2 Duke vs #3 Michigan St
Final 4 team
#2 Duke over #4 Auburn