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2015 NCAA Tournament: West Region Predictions and Analysis

Breaking down a West Region that features Wisconsin and Arizona

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Round of 64

Wisconsin (1) vs. Coastal Carolina (16)

Coastal Carolina won the Big South conference tournament after finishing the regular season in third place. They are greeted by a Wisconsin team who won both the Big Ten regular season and conference tournament. A 16-seed has never beaten a 1-seed and Coastal Carolina won't be the first. Wisconsin and Frank Kaminsky are too high-powered offensively for Coastal Carolina.

Pick: Wisconsin (1)

Oregon (8) vs. Oklahoma St. (9)

Oklahoma State has lost 7 of their last 8 games while Oregon was on a 7-game winning streak before losing to Arizona in the Pac-12 Championship game. Joseph Young averaged over 20 points per game for Oregon and was the Pac-12 player of the year and downward spiraling Oklahoma State will have no answer for him defensively.

Pick: Oregon (8)

Arkansas (5) vs. Wofford (12)

Arkansas was clearly the second best team in the SEC all year behind Kentucky. SEC player of the year Bobby Portis will dominate Wofford underneath who had 29 and 33 point losses to Duke and West Virginia earlier this season. If you're looking for a 12 vs. 5 upset, this isn't the one.

Pick: Arkansas (5)

UNC (4) vs. Harvard (13)

Harvard won a 1-game playoff over Yale to make the tournament for the 4th straight year and is looking to win a game for the 3rd straight year. This is a horrible matchup for them, though, as Harvard will not be able to get up and down the floor with a UNC team that loves to run and has the size to dominate Harvard down low.

Pick: UNC (4)

Xavier (6) vs. BYU/Ole Miss (11)

This game is hard to pick without knowing the outcome of the play-in game but I am going to assume BYU beats an Ole Miss team who is limping in to the tournament having lost 4 of their last 5 games. BYU has the offensive fire-power to beat a Xavier team who I believe is over-seeded at a 6-seed after a .500 record in the Big East. BYU is 2nd in the NCAA in scoring and Tyler Haws will provide a huge challenge to Xavier defensively.

Pick: BYU (11)

Baylor (3) vs. Georgia St. (14)

The only Big 12 team Georgia St. played this season was Iowa St. and they lost by 23. Baylor beat Iowa St. both times they faced them and comes in to the tournament confident with a 6-4 record vs. top 25 teams. Georgia St. will be no match for Baylor's outside shooting.

Pick: Baylor (3)

VCU (7) vs. Ohio State (10)

VCU thrives off creating turnovers and pressing opposing guards full court. Ohio State, however, has one of the most talented guards in the country in D'Angelo Russell and seniors Shannon Scott and Sam Thompson who will handle VCU's pressure and make them score in the half-court. Without transition scoring, VCU won't score enough to beat Ohio State.

Pick: Ohio State (10)

Arizona (2) vs. Texas So. (15)

Few teams can match up with Arizona's length and quickness. Texas Southern does not see athletes like Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Stanley Johnson in the SWAC and will have major problems scoring and rebounding against Arizona.

Pick: Arizona (2)

Round of 32

Wisconsin (1) vs. Oregon (8)

Oregon played Arizona three times this year and the closest result was an 18 point loss. Wisconsin is a similar caliber team to Arizona and Oregon does not play enough defense to hang with Wisconsin. Sam Dekker and Nigel Hayes are both dangerous 3-point shooters who can also post up Oregon's guards with ease.

Pick: Wisconsin (1)

UNC (4) vs. Arkansas (5)

This is a great second round matchup featuring two teams who love to run and are both in the top 20 in points per game. UNC, however, is playing their best basketball of the season coming in to the tournament and with the balance of Marcus Paige on the perimeter and Brice Johnson and Kennedy Meeks scoring underneath and neutralizing Bobby Portis, UNC will handle Arkansas.

Pick: UNC (4)

Baylor (3) vs. BYU (11)

Baylor has the defense to go with their offense that BYU does not. BYU can not stop anyone defensively, ranking 315th in the nation in points per game allowed, and Baylor will be able to exploit that poor defense while limiting Tyler Haws' touches to breeze by BYU.

Pick: Baylor (3)

Arizona (2) vs. Ohio State (10)

Arizona has lost one game since January 11th and this is mostly due to an unbelievably consistent defense. They have 9 wins against teams in the tournament and no losses. They will be able to put defenders like Stanley Johnson and Hollis-Jefferson on D'Angelo Russell who are bigger but can match the speed of Russell. Shutting down Russell will put Ohio State's offense out of sync and prevent them from challenging Arizona.

Pick: Arizona (2)

Round of 16

Wisconsin (1) vs. UNC (4)

UNC wants this game to be up-tempo and Wisconsin wants to slow it down and limit UNC's opportunities in transition. Wisconsin will ultimately have it their way because they only turn the ball over 7 times per game. Head Coach Bo Ryan demands his players play mistake-free basketball and this will prevent UNC from playing its game.

Pick: Wisconsin (1)

Arizona (2) vs. Baylor (3)

While Baylor has wins over West Virginia and Iowa St., they lost to Kansas all three times they played. Arizona has proven they can beat top teams by beating Gonzaga, Utah twice, and Oregon three times. Arizona point guard T.J. McConnell is a true leader with an unbelievable 3.3 assist to turnover ratio and will not let his team lose to a Baylor team with less overall talent than Arizona.

Pick: Arizona (2)

Regional Final

Wisconsin (1) vs. Arizona (2)

This is the matchup everyone wants to see and I don't see much standing in the way of it. Very few teams can match up with Wisconsin, who has versatile players who can all work inside and out. Arizona is their match, however, as Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Stanley Johnson, and Brandon Ashley are all great defenders who can guard inside and out. Arizona will smother Wisconsin's offense unlike anyone could in the Big Ten and win the West Region.

Pick: Arizona (2)