NCAA Predictions Midwest

by Antonio Morales

This is my first and last year of picking tournament games for The Daily Aztec, so I’m going to try to make my one shot a good one. I was good at this type of stuff when I was younger, but my skills have declined as my age has progressed, which is sad because I’m only 22 years old. As sports editor, I’ve decided to take the region the San Diego State men’s basketball team is in. I’m no expert, so here goes nothing.

Final Four predictions
Final Four: Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, Florida State
Champion: Kentucky
Quotable : Anthony Davis is going to use the scissors to cut down the nets in New Orleans, then he’s going to use them to cut down his unibrow right after.

Player to watch
There are plenty of players to choose from in the Midwest region. North Carolina has four great, then there’s Creighton’s Doug McDermott, but the player to watch is Kansas’ Thomas Robinson. Robinson, along with Kentucky’s Davis, is one of the frontrunners for National Player of the Year. The 6-foot-10-inch, 23- pound, junior averaged 17.9 points and 11.8 rebounds per game this season, an impressive feat considering he only started three times during his first two seasons on campus. Robinson is going to be the main key as the Jayhawks attempt to get back to the Final Four for the first time since 2008.

Matchup to watch
This region isn’t the sexiest when it comes to being filled with potential great games. So, here’s looking forward to a possible Elite Eight matchup between North Carolina and Kansas. There will be plenty of storylines between two of college basketball’s titans. Both fan bases, which expect to be in the hunt for a national championship every season, would be disappointed without at least a trip to New Orleans. Tar Heels’ head coach Roy Williams would be coaching against his former school for the second time in the NCAA Tournament and the first time since 2008. Robinson would get matched up against a great North Carolina front court of John Henson and Tyler Zeller.

Early upset
I just showcased Kansas with North Carolina in a possible matchup to watch, but don’t be surprised if Kansas has a tough time with Detroit in its first game. Detroit has sophomore point guard Ray McCallum, who averages 15.6 points and 3.9 assists per game. Picking a No. 15 seed defeating a No. 2 seed seems to be risky, though. A safer bet would be to bet 14th-seeded Belmont to beat third-seeded Georgetown. Belmont lost by a point on the road to Duke this season and five of its seven losses have come by a combined 11 points. The Bruins nearly pulled off an upset of Duke in the 2008 NCAA Tournament when they were a 15-seed, so even though they lost, they’ve proven they’re capable of giving a high seed a scare.

Bracket Buster
Have to go with Detroit or Belmont here, too. Basing it off the premise that if one of the two teams is good enough to beat its first round opponent it’ll be good enough to beat whatever its second round opponent is. Detroit played a number of tournament teams pretty tough during the regular season. The Titans lost by six at Notre Dame, by eight at Alabama and by five at home to Mississippi State.  Belmont shoots the lights out, which will be helpful this time of the year. The Bruins shoot 48 percent from the field, which is good for 17th nationally. Belmont ranks highly in other offensive categories, too. The team ranks fourth nationally in points per game with 81.5 and fifth nationally in assists with 17.4. The Bruins could possibly ride their hot shooting and high-scoring offense to the Sweet 16.