Men's Basketball 2017 NCAA Tournament West Regional Overview

West Regional Overview
Who Can Win?
The prohibitive favorites to win this region are the No. 1 and 2 seeds.  Gonzaga has had a nearly flawless year.  Maybe 2017 will be their year to finally earn that Final Four bid that has eluded them for so long.  Arizona is a talented team that could easily emerge from this bracket.  They won the Pac-12 tournament, and are as healthy as they have been all season.  The interesting side story here is that Gonzaga beat Arizona early this season.  However, Arizona did not have star Alonzo Trier for that game.  If they were to meet this time around it may be a different story.  The bracket sets up well for these two teams to meet in the regional final.  One of these two teams should be heading to Phoenix.
Who Can Surprise?
This region does have balance between a lot of the lower seeds.  Bucknell has been a consistent program for the last several seasons.  They have narrowly missed out on bids to the NCAA for the last three years.  However, this season they doubled up on regular season and conference tournament titles, and they are poised to provide a difficult path for their opponent.  They have a history of competing with and taking down big programs.  Florida Gulf Coast will be another team that can advance at least a few rounds.  Much like in 2013, this is an athletic team that can fly around the court and has strong guard play, which is important come tournament time.  Princeton won the first ever Ivy League tournament this season.  They plowed through the Ivy League regular season with ease.  They can lock down opponents defensively.  The Tigers should not be overlooked.
Who’s Hot?
Gonzaga could not be more ready for this tournament.  Despite dropping a late season game to BYU, the Zags have won all of their games against top-50 competition this year.  They have only lost nine games in two full seasons.  This is the most balanced team coach Mark Few has ever had.  They are ready for this.  Additionally, Bucknell has won six straight heading into the tournament and Florida Gulf Coast has won seven straight.  They have full heads of steam going into next weekend.  Arizona has also knocked off two top-five teams in its last two games.  They are ready to roll.
Who’s Cold?
The 6-11 matchup features teams that are limping into the tournament.  Xavier has sustained an awful injury to their point guard Edmond Sumner, which totally destroys their depth at the position.  They were able to beat Butler in the conference tournament to solidify their bid, but they are not firing on all cylinders simply because they do not have all of their horses.  They have lost seven of their last 10 games heading into the tournament.  Maryland has also not played well down the stretch after starting the Big Ten season so hot.  They have been wildly inconsistent since early February.  They were one in done in the Big Ten tournament, which happened to be right in their backyard.  One of these teams will have to win, but neither is playing its best basketball right now.
Upset Alert!
The best chance for advancement belongs to Florida Gulf Coast.  They have a legitimate shot at the Sweet Sixteen from No. 14 slot.  This team can score and they can do it in bunches.  Their guards swing the ball around as well as anybody. They average double-digit assists.  They have a real shot at beating Florida State and the winner of the Maryland-Xavier game to find themselves playing into the second weekend.
What Possible Matchup is Interesting?
The most interesting matchup is definitely Northwestern vs. Vanderbilt.  What a historic and great season for Northwestern.  They entered 2017 being the only major conference program to have never made the NCAA tournament.  This is finally their year.  Playing in the 8-9 game against Vanderbilt is a stiff first test – Vanderbilt will be no easy out.  But America’s eyes will be watching as Northwestern makes their first foray into the Big Dance.  Coach Chris Collins said himself that it’s nice to get here, but now they want to win.  They have their opportunity.
Which Player Will Dominate?
You can point to any number of players on Gonzaga’s team as someone who will dominate.  They are so loaded with quality players that anyone can step up for them at any given time.  Nigel Williams-Goss has been a stud all year however.  He led the team in points and assists all year.  Jonathan Isaac, the star freshman for Florida State, has the opportunity to shine on a national stage.  He is an athletic freak who is an outstanding contributor for the No. 3 seed Seminoles.  Bonzie Colson from Notre Dame is nothing short of rock star in South Bend.  He is impervious to good defense, and he was awesome against Duke in the ACC tournament final even after rolling his ankle.  He is a double-double waiting to happen on any given night.  Melo Trimble for Maryland, the junior star point guard, also has the ability to take over a game.  The Terps will rely on him to carry them for as long as they last in the tournament.
Team:  West Virginia’s defense could definitely help propel them forward in this tournament when no one expects them to advance very far.  Should they get past a plucky Bucknell team in the first round, they would face the Notre Dame-Princeton winner.  With their havoc, “Press Virginia” defense they can slow down a faster team like Notre Dame.  The Mountaineers have held serve against a lot of top teams this season.  They can balance that defense with solid scoring.  Their opponents may not be ready for their pressure.  It may help them make a run.
Player:  Alonzo Trier for Arizona will determine a lot about how far the Wildcats go.  This has been a solid team all season long even without Trier in the lineup.  However, when he returned he added a dimension to Arizona’s team that helped carry them to wins against UCLA and Oregon in back-to-back nights during the Pac-12 tournament.  They flow better with him in the lineup.  They might be the most balanced team in the country when Trier plays.