Tue, Mar 15, 4:32pm by Kevin Pitstock
The brackets have been released. Selection Sunday came and went, but not without some controversy. Many experts were not pleased with the tournament pairings, but regardless – the games will go on. Bill Self and his Kansas Jayhawks are the odds on favorites to win the Southwest region. The Jayhawks will be battle tested throughout the tournament. Let’s take a look at all the second round games, and then break down who could win the region.
Kansas, after winning both the regular season and conference tournament garnered the #2 seed overall. The Jayhawks have just two losses on the season; at home to Texas and at Kansas State. The Jayhawks will take on Boston in their first NCAA tournament game. If the Jayhawks win, they will take on either Mountain West Conference representative UNLV or the Big Ten’s Fighting Illini of Illinois. UNLV finished third in the MWC, while the Illini were fourth in the Big Ten.
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish were discussed as a #1 seed, but after losing to Louisville in the Big East tournament, they fell to a 2. The Irish will enjoy playing their first two games in nearby Chicago. Notre Dame’s first game will be against the Zips from Akron. In the 7/10 game, the Texas A+M Aggies will battle with the Florida State Seminoles. Both teams finished third in their respective conferences; the Big 12 and the Atlantic Coast Conference.
The Purdue Boilermakers, despite missing Robbie Hummel all season were able to muster up to a three seed in the tournament. The Boilermakers were downed by Michigan State in the Big Ten tournament, but regardless, Matt Painter’s squad had a sensational season. The Boilermakers will take on St. Peter’s in their first game. The winner will take on the winner og the Georgetown Hoyas and either USC Trojans or Virginia Commonwealth. USC and VCU will meet in the first round of a “play-in” game.
The fourth seed in the Southwest is the Louisville Cardinals. Rick Pitino’s team was just a basket away from winning the Big East tournament. Louisville seemingly went under the radar most of the season. They will take on nearby school Morehead State in both teams first game of the tournament. In the 5/12 game, the Vanderbilt Commodores, led by Kevin Stallings, will take on Atlantic Ten tournament winner Richmond. The Spiders had a solid season, including a win over Purdue during the non-conference slate.
Kansas is listed as 13 t0 10 odds to win the region. The Jayhawks, if they can avoid a first weekend upset, should be able to get out of this region. Bet $130 and win $100 if the Jayhawks reach the Final Four in Houston. This is the only bet we like out of this region. We find it hard to believe Notre Dame, Purdue, Louisville or Vanderbilt can win the region. Despite that, here are the odds for some of the other teams in the Southwest region: Notre Dame 10 to 3, Purdue 9 to 2, Louisville 13 to 4, Georgetown 25 to 1 and Vanderbilt 30 to 1.
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