Sunday, March 15, 2009

A look at the 2009 NCAA Tournament West region

West Regional:
(1) Connecticut vs (16) Chattanooga
(8) BYU vs (9) Texas A&M
(5) Purdue vs (12) Northern Iowa
(4) Washington vs (13) Mississippi State
(6) Marquette vs (11) Utah State
(3) Missouri vs (14) Cornell
(7) California vs (10) Maryland
(2) Memphis vs (15) CSU Northridge

Strangely enough, this subregional has some good fits in the seeding. UConn is definitely a 1 seed, and the 6-11, 4-13 and 3-14 matchups fit with where I'd generally have those teams seeded.

However, it has some bad fits. BYU, likely gerrymandered to avoid playing them on Sunday per their Mormon code, gets an 8 seed while they probably deserved a 5 or 6. Thankfully, they get a gift 9 seed in Texas A&M, whose inclusion in the tourney is a bit dubious, not to mention their seeding is a bit high... but a win means getting force-fed to UConn in round two. Purdue is also a bit underseeded at 5, and the likely end result is a close 2nd round matchup with Washington that could end in a quick demise for the Big Ten champs.

Maryland's inclusion is borderline, and a 10 seed is a bit too rewarding, but it's not a huge deal. This bracket features two of my dubious three at-large teams (Maryland and Texas A&M, with the 3rd being Boston College).

Memphis could have made an argument for a 1 seed, making them probably the toughest 2 seed in the field. Their stifling defense makes them a commanding favorite to get to the Elite Eight, and the likely matchup with UConn is like a Final Four matchup one round early. Memphis could well be the favorite in such a game.

Of course, as always, all teams involved have to get there first, and anything can happen. But this is not a particularly strong region, and UConn and Memphis could likely see minimal resistance en route to an Elite Eight clash.

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