Outlook: The trouble with the West Regional is that the best team in the West, Arizona, is playing in the South. Yes, Gonzaga is here, but the Zags will have their hands full. Having said that, we don’t feel Xavier, the No. 1 seed, has enough equity to get picked. We could know in the Regional semifinals.
The Xags should breeze past their first game and are good enough to beat either Florida State or Missouri. Gonzaga is in the bottom half of their draw and the Zags are ready. They should beat UNC-Greensboro with ease and then should also handle Ohio State–which needs to take South Dakota State seriously in another one of those 12-5 seed games.
It is the bottom half the draw which has the sharks. We think Michigan is the sleeper team (although as a No. 3 seed it is not a real sleeper. The Wolverines should handle Montana and then either Houston or San Diego State.
Our real sleeper is Providence, which almost won the Big East tournament. The Friars will then deal with North Carolina and that’s where the season will probably come to an end, although it won’t be easy for the Tar Heels.
Upset Specials: South Dakota State over Ohio State, San Diego State over Houston, Providence over Texas A&M
Moving to Los Angeles: Xavier, Gonzaga, Michigan, North Carolina
Regional champ: Michigan