NCAA Tournament Midwest Region Predictions

This post was written by one of my long time friends Jason Osborne.  He wanted to share some of his predictions to help with your college basketball betting during March Madness.  He is a big Tarheels fan, but also follows other teams and has a few predictions.

Midwest Region

It is easy to say that North Carolina will win this region, and it is probably correct.  The Tar Heels simply have more talent than anyone in this region, even more than Kansas, and their national rankings in points per game (2nd at 82.0), rebounds per game (1st at 45.2) and assists per game (4th at 17.6) would indicate that they should have the easiest road to the Final Four out of all of the regions.  There are still other jewels in the Midwest to be discovered.

In keeping with the ACC format, North Carolina State is easily the best 11 seed in the tournament.  Do not forget that the Wolfpack reached the ACC Tournament semi final game and only barely lost to North Carolina, needing some bad officiating calls to do so.  The Wolfpack have CJ Leslie, who was a 2nd team all ACC player, and in some years in the ACC, would have been a 1st team player fairly easily.

NC State in the 1st Round

North Carolina State will meet San Diego State in the first round.  On paper, this is not a #6 seed versus a #11 seed game.  NC State has a BPI ranking of 45, combined with a Strength of Schedule (SOS) ranking of 24.  Remember that NC State gets to play Duke, North Carolina and everyone else in the ACC, at least once, every year, and that is great preparation to play in the big dance.  San Diego State has a BPI ranking of 40 (only 5 spots ahead of NC State), combined with a Strength of Schedule of 57.  They have a couple of ballers in Jamaal Franklin and Chase Tapley, but I frankly think that they are way over matched.

North Carolina State is playing their best basketball at precisely the right time.  Everyone talks about CJ Leslie and Lorenzo Brown, but the person everyone seems to forget to mention, indeed the force that everyone forgets is Scott Wood.  Every now and then, Wood will jump up and give you 20 points like he did against Boston College, but the point is that you have to guard him and that will simply be too much for San Diego State.  Three threats is too much for the Aztecs, who are talented in their own right.  When the bracket came out, this was the first upset that jumped out at me.   Look for the Pack to roll here and play an over rated Georgetown team in the second round.

Georgetown Flounders Early Again

Georgetown comes off as a team that peaked back in December or January.  Early on this season, they were handily beating teams like Memphis, Alabama, Louisville and Marquette, but this is March, and their early exit from the Big East Tournament is foretelling on what to expect from their play in the big dance.  While we are facing ugly facts, remember that Georgetown is ranked 145th nationally in points per game at 69.1.  That simply will not work in March, and expect the Wolfpack to take the Hoyas out here, before cruising on to the Regional Semi final against Kansas.  That’s where the train stops for North Carolina State.

Misplaced Cinderella Creighton

When the bracket first came out on Selection Sunday, Creighton was given the worst position for what I would normally call my Cinderella for the tournament.  Creighton is ranked first nationally in points per game, just ahead of North Carolina.  Doug McDermott is averaging just over 23 points per game, and shooting 61%, not to mention 49.5% from beyond the arc.  This is a fun team to watch.  They should cruise against Alabama, but it will be a good game.  However, when they play North Carolina in Greensboro, they will meet their match, and I wouldn’t look for Creighton to be a Cinderella.  UNC is 29-1 all time when playing in NCAA tournament games inside the state of North Carolina, and this game will unfortunately for Creighton, not be any different.  Carolina rolls here.

ESPN is Wrong

ESPN has been all over Michigan losing to Ohio University in the first round.  The talking heads over at Sports Center base this on the fact that Ohio University’s coach John Groce’s former tenure at Ohio State on their coaching staff.  John Groce has obviously seen Michigan before, but that does not mean that due to that fact, Ohio will pull off an upset and handle the Wolverines.  First off, Groce last sat on Ohio State’s bench in 2008.  The Wolverines no longer have anyone playing for them that Groce would have coached against.  Secondly, Ohio University’s top scorer DJ Cooper is only averaging slightly better than 14 points per game, but is shooting a dismally low 34.8%.  We simply need better figures and bigger players to have Cinderellas, and Ohio University simply does not qualify here.  Look for the Wolverines to prevail here.

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