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The 2010 NCAA Tournament - A User’s Guide to the West Region

 

Predicting the NCAA Tournament is the most difficult sport to prognosticate. The upsets are there but it’s almost impossible to select the correct games. The 2010 tourney may be even more difficult as parity has infiltrated college basketball. However, the West Region is filled with potential upsets and an injury that could impact the top seed. The Syracuse Orangemen could be without Arinze Onuaku due to a knee injury sustained during the Big East Tournament which could open up the bracket even more. The following is a guide for your office pools:


Favorites: The Syracuse Orangemen are a well balanced team with a legendary coach in Jim Boeheim. They will be a difficult match-up with any team given their overall talent level and a zone defense which is difficult to prepare for. The Wildcats of Kansas State are immensely talented and have flown under the radar for most of the season. Frank Martin’s Wildcats are led by Jacob Pullen and Denis Clemente. Both can light it up on any given night. Outside of the top two seeds the region is wide open and the weakest of the four regions. If you plan on picking a high seed team to make it to the Final Four the West Region is where you should go.

Possible Upsets: The winner of Gonzaga vs. Florida State in the 8-9 game will give Syracuse fits in the 2nd round. It will most likely be the Gonzaga Bulldogs who will challenge the Cuse till the end but will not pull off the major upset. The 1st round will result in the typical 12 over 5 upset. The Butler Bulldogs are a very good team but will not be able to match up with talented UTEP big man Derrick Caracter. He is a tremendous player who transferred from Louisville. Butler big man Matt Howard will get into foul trouble quickly giving UTEP a major advantage on the boards. They also have a tremendous guard in Randy Culpepper who will cause havoc with his scoring and penetration. Although Butler will not survive, keep an eye on Gordan Hayward who has a shot at being a solid player at the next level. In the 4-13 game Murray State will pull off another upset as they send Vanderbilt packing. The 30-4 Racers will push the pace and have too much quickness for the Commodores. The gritty Minnesota Golden Gophers will give Xavier a scare but will succumb late. In the 2nd round UTEP will defeat Murray State and move on to face top seed Syracuse in the sweet sixteen. Xavier will upset Pitt in the 2nd round where they will face Kansas State who survives a major scare against Jimmer Fredette and BYU.

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Predictions: The West Regional will be a wild ride filled with upsets and exciting play. The Regional Semi finals will consist of Syracuse vs. UTEP and Kansas State vs. Xavier. UTEP will push Syracuse to the brink of elimination but will not be able to finish. Kansas State will also have a similar game against Xavier but should survive. It’s highly likely that Syracuse will make the trip to Indy for the Final Four. However, if you are going to go off the charts select the UTEP Miners who could make a serious run to the Final Four.

 

By Scott Dryden
DFN Sports Senior Staff Writer

 

 


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