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2016 NCAA Tournament: Midwest Region Predictions and Analysis

Disclaimer: The picks in this in this post are those of one writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the entire BECB staff

Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Round of 64

(1) Virginia vs. (16) Hampton

In the history of the NCAA Tournament, a 16-seed has never beaten a 1-seed. Of course, you knew that already. Everyone knows that. It's not going to happen here for the first time.

Pick: UVA

(8) Texas Tech vs. (9) Butler

Although Tubby Smith has done a remarkable job in Lubbock this season, the Red Raiders don't match up very well with the Bulldogs. Texas Tech has problems grabbing defensive rebounds (32.5 over 100 possessions, 299th of 351 teams), and Butler excels at grabbing offensive rebounds and generating second chance points (32.8 offensive rebounds per 100 possessions, 66th in the country).

Also of note, including Butler's first run to the Final Four in the 2010 NCAA Tournament, they've made the Tournament four times since, and have won at least one game every time.

Pick: Butler

(5) Purdue vs. (12) Arkansas-Little Rock

Ahhhh a 5/12 matchup. You may be tempted to take UALR, because they started the year 10-0 and only lost four times this season.

However, it's important to note that they're a very small team. Their average height of 76.2 inches is 263rd in the country, compared to Purdue's average height of 78.6 inches, 13th in the country. You may think two inches doesn't matter, but Purdue rode their big men to a Big Ten tournament final last weekend, and they'll continue to feed the ball inside.

Pick: Purdue

(4) Iowa State vs. (13) Iona

This should be a fun game, as Iona's AJ English looks to become a breakout start of the Tournament from the jump by leading the Gaels past the Cyclones. It's a more evenly matched contest than the seeding would lead you to believe, as Iona has an excellent defense while Iowa State's defense has looked susceptible at times this season.

I like the Gaels in the upset.

Pick: Iona

(6) Seton Hall vs. (11) Gonzaga

Gonzaga ended up as an 11-seed this year, which is much lower than we're used to seeing them. Seton Hall has to be sure not to take the Bulldogs lightly, though. This is their 16th straight NCAA tournament appearance under Mark Few, and Kyle Wiltjer and Domantas Sabonis are two of the best players in the country.

Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, after Wiltjer and Sabonis, the team is very this, which is where Seton Hall gains an advantage.

If Angel Delgado and Ismael Sanogo can contain one of Wiltjer or Sabonis, and the other goes off, Seton Hall will be able to win due to the fact that they have Isaiah Whitehead, Desi Rodriguez, Derrick Gordon, Delgado, and Sanago, all of whom can score.

Pick: Seton Hall

(3) Utah vs. (14) Fresno State

If you first watched Utah in the Pac-12 final, you'd think they weren't very good. They lost to Oregon by 30, and looked flat from the jump.

They're a good team though. Jakob Poeltl is one of the best players in the nation, and gives teams fits down low. That should continue against the Bulldogs who, while not short, are certainly not a tall team.

Pick: Utah

(7) Dayton vs. (10) Syracuse

It's still a joke that Syracuse is even here in the first place. That's reason enough alone to take Dayton, but if you want an actual reason, the Flyers have been incredible on defense this season, and have a team (and coach) that have been here before.

Pick: Dayton

(2) Michigan State vs. (15) Middle Tennessee State

Michigan State has Denzel Valentine. Michigan State has Tom Izzo. Need I say more?

Pick: Michigan State

Round of 32

(1) Virginia vs. (9) Butler

What do you know about Virginia? They're slow. Methodical. Punishing on defense. Call it whatever you want.

What do you know about Butler? They're fast. They score in bunches. They have one of the nation's best offenses.

In today's 30-second shot clock world, who has a bigger advantage? A strong defense or a strong offense?

Pick: Butler

(5) Purdue vs. (13) Iona

Purdue rolls through to the Sweet 16 by taking advantage of a shorter opponent for the second straight round. Not too much more to say about this one.

Pick: Purdue

(6) Seton Hall vs. (3) Utah

I'm not sure any team in the country will have a tougher first two games than Seton Hall, having to face a slightly underseeded Gonzaga team and then a very good Utah team. As mentioned above, Jakob Poeltl is a big presence for Utah down low, but luckily for Seton Hall, they have their own big presence down low in Angel Delgado. If Delgado can limit Poeltl's contributions, Seton Hall's cast is better than Utah's.

Pick: Seton Hall

(7) Dayton vs. (2) Michigan State

As much as I'd love Archie Miller and the Flyers to pull the upset, I can't bring myself to pick against the Spartans. I know it's a giant cliche for the reasoning to be "Tom Izzo in March", but you can't lie with the facts we've seen this entire century from the man.

Pick: Michigan State

Sweet 16

(9) Butler vs (5) Purdue

This is a rematch from the Crossroads Classic in December in which Butler defeated Purdue, however, there are a few things to consider.

Purdue has figured out how to use big men Isaac Haas and AJ Hammons since then. Also the Boilermakers likely won't have 18 turnovers again.

It's possible Butler wins again, but I think the run stops here for the Bulldogs.

Pick: Purdue

(6) Seton Hall vs. (2) Michigan State

A big part of me wants to pick the Pirates and continue their fabulous run, but I can't do it.

I have to give the edge to Michigan State due to their experience. They're loaded with juniors and seniors while Seton Hall is much younger, though I'd love to be wrong.

Pick: Michigan State

Elite Eight

(5) Purdue vs. (2) Michigan State

A rematch of the very good Big Ten tournament final, I expect the result to stay the same, with Michigan State defeating Purdue and Denzel Valentine having a huge game.

Pick, and Midwest Final Four representative: Michigan State