Men's Basketball 2016 NCAA Tournament Midwest Regional Overview

Midwest Regional Overview


The Midwest Region is full of big-time programs and some big time players. This might be the most loaded bracket in terms of teams with tournament experience. The Power Five conferences have a lot of representation, and frankly, do not appear to have too many speed bumps on the way to going against each other deep in the tournament. What sticks out are the first two seeds. One of those two teams is the favorite depending on who you talk to. It is their region to lose.


#1 Virginia, #2 Michigan State, #3 Utah, #4 Iowa State, #5 Purdue, #6 Seton Hall, #7 Dayton, #8 Texas Tech, #9 Butler, #10 Syracuse #11 Gonzaga, #12 Arkansas-Little Rock, #13 Iona, #14 Fresno State, #15 Middle Tennessee, #16 Hampton


Who Can Win?

This region is going to come down to two teams: Virginia and Michigan State. Fittingly, these two teams met in the tournament last year with Izzo’s squad winning that matchup en route to a Final Four appearance. Will Virginia be able to exact revenge in their second consecutive year as a No. 1 seed? There are a lot of big name programs in this region that theoretically could advance deep in the tournament, but Virginia and Michigan State are head and shoulders above the lower seeds. Malcom Brogdon of Virginia and Denzel Valentine of Michigan State are player of the year candidates and the unquestioned leaders of their teams. And get this: they are seniors. We are likely looking at a regional final featuring these two dominant teams.


Who Can Surprise?

The two teams to keep an eye on outside of the two favorites would be Utah and Seton Hall. Utah was the third seed in the Pac-12 and feature one of the great big men in college basketball in Jakob Poetl. They are a well-balanced and well-coached team. They just need to keep up their turnovers down. The Utes will also have to hit some three-pointers in order to advance. But this team is solid and could move into the second weekend and beyond. Seton Hall is the other team to watch out for. They are extremely dangerous as a No. 6 seed. They just beat Villanova to take the Big East tournament crown. They are tough, tenacious, athletic and can fill it up.


Who’s Hot?

As mentioned above, Seton Hall is the hottest team in the region. They are riding high after their conference tournament performance. They are extremely confident and are battle tested from their Big East schedule. As a young team, they really matured and blossomed as the season wore on. Isaiah Whitehead is a star scoring 18 points per game, and Khadeen Carrington is a great all-around player. No one wants to play this team right now.


Who’s Cold?

No one is officially “cold” but I think Iowa State should not necessarily feel great about themselves as a No. 4 seed. They are 6-6 in their last 12 games. Granted the Big 12 is a great league, but they have not been terribly consistent of late compared to earlier in the season. Still, this is an extremely skilled and talented team that has the capability of a Final Four run. They just have not proven to be a strong bet come this time of year.


Upset Alert!

Iona is a talented mid-major team that could give Iowa State fits. AJ English is a superstar at a smaller program.  The Gaels can run with just about anybody. Despite Seton Hall’s hot streak, Gonzaga could definitely be a problem for the Pirates. Gonzaga is not a typical mid-major. They have been here consistently for years – and they are a former No. 1 seed. They have size and skill in the lane that could create some problems for Seton Hall. The moment will not be too big for a Mark Few coached team. Kyle Wiltjer is a prolific offensive players with solid pieces around him. They could make some noise. 


What Possible Matchup is Interesting?

The greatly anticipated matchup is of course Virginia vs. Michigan State. These two elite teams could go toe-to-toe and down to the wire. Both feature two of the best players in the nation. Both feature coach of the year candidates.  It would not be a surprise to see either of these teams in the Final Four. This is the regional final that everyone wants. Another interesting matchup would be Purdue against Iowa State in the third round. Both are big, experienced teams that are gritty and can play inside-out. That would be a fun one to watch.


Which Player Will Dominate?

No surprise here, but Denzel Valentine is definitely the player to watch. He has been silky smooth for his team, and Michigan State is not a No. 2 seed without him. For much of the Big Ten Tournament he out-assisted the opposing team. His court vision is second to none, and he always finds the open man. Luckily, his teammates are hitting their shots. His perimeter shooting has also improved this year, which makes him one of the most dangerous players in the entire tournament. He can take over a game at will. Valentine will have a big hand in how far Michigan State’s title run goes.




Midwest Region Round of 64 Game Breakdowns



East Regional Overview

East Region Round of 64 Game Breakdowns


South Regional Overview

South Region Round of 64 Game Breakdowns


West Regional Overview

West Region Round of 64 Game Breakdowns



Tournament Central