2023 Men's Basketball NCAA Tournament Midwest Regional Overview

Midwest Regional Overview
There are a lot of storylines as the cities of Birmingham, Albany, Des Moines, and Greensboro witness some spectacular Midwest Regional matches. Houston is still looking to prove its credibility as the AAC’s finest, Rodney Terry’s Texas is still reeling after a tumultuous 2022-23 season, and a host of NBA talent looks to cement their status as some of the greatest in college basketball history. March Madness is underway, and you can find some of the craziest things in the Midwest region.
Who Can Win?
Houston is a favorite to get through the Midwest and book a spot in the Final Four. Their lockdown defense, above-average offense, and a slate of NBA-level talents in Jarace Walker and Marcus Sasser mean they can get through the tournament's later stages. But there are threats to Houston's possible dream season. Texas has dominated the Big 12, while Xavier has had a solid season.
Who Can Surprise?
Yes, Texas is a team to watch in the Midwest, but so is a Colgate team shooting lights-out this season. They lead the nation in 3-point shooting (40.8%) and are second in field-goal percentage (51.4%). They have dominated the Patriot League, going 17-1 in conference play and breezing to their sixth-ever conference title. They are high-flying, accurate, and enjoyable to watch, especially considering the uncertainty surrounding Texas and their defense at the three-point line. 
Who’s Hot?
Texas is in great form going into this matchup. They enter the tournament with a four-game win streak, which includes wins over Kansas, Oklahoma State, TCU, and Kansas in the Big 12 conference finals. Across those games, the Longhorns have scored around 70 points while limiting their teams to 55. Thanks to the scoring performances of Marcus Carr (15.9 ppg) and Sir’Jabari Rice (12.6 ppg), Texas can boast one of the most potent teams in the nation. Kent State has also been on a roll, with a six-game win streak that includes their dominance in the Mid-American Conference tournament. If their 11-game streak of scoring over 70 points in a game continues, they should be a very big threat to their first-round opponent Indiana.
Who’s Cold?
Auburn had a tough time in the SEC. They went 10-8 in the conference and 20-12 total. A giveaway loss against Arkansas in the first round of the conference tournament has not helped things at all, and the team faces several different questions. Ranked #15 in the pre-season and outfitted with several top recruits (five-star Yohan Traore and high four-star Chance Westry), Bruce Pearl’s Auburn has a lot of questions to face as they look to end their slide against Iowa.
Upset Alert!
Drake could launch a deep run despite the scary-looking pathway of Miami, Indiana/Kent State, and onwards. Miami looks shaky thanks to a conference semifinal loss to Duke, and their defense is leaky this season. It opens the gate for Drake, a sleeper side that can shoot, rebound, and defend, to make one of the year's biggest upsets.
What Possible Matchup is Interesting?
Pittsburgh, currently facing Mississippi State in the First Four, against Miami would be a thrilling matchup, realistic or not. It would be a rematch of the 78-76 victory for Miami, where both were nationally ranked, and the match came down to the final shot. The season series is 1-1, but if Pittsburgh and Miami somehow meet in the Elite Eight, it would be as thrilling as the previous encounters. If we are looking for something realistic, a Texas-Texas A&M game would be exciting due to their conflicting styles.
Which Player Will Dominate?
Jarace Walker of Houston will likely shine as an in-demand prospect tearing up the American Athletic Conference. Despite their disappointing loss to Memphis, Walker put up 13 points and three rebounds. Walker does not have the scoring performances you would expect from teammate Marcus Carr. But he’s a great rebounder (like teammate J’Wan Roberts, who secured 20 rebounds in their recent loss), a bully in the paint, and a good shooter from beyond (34.5%). He’s definitely someone to watch.
Drake’s sophomore guard Tucker DeVries averages 19.0 points per game while winning the Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year Award. DeVries shoots 38.7% from the three, grabs 5.9 rebounds per game, and is the central part of Drake’s offense. He’s also in good form going into March Madness; in the last five games, he is averaging 18 points per game, 4.8 rebounds per game, and is shooting 63.3% from the field.
Indiana’s Trayce Jackson-Davis, a top NBA prospect, is averaging a double-double this season, with 20.8 points per game and 10.9 rebounds per game. He has incredible court vision, and his physicality is insane. The 6’9" senior can feast on a Drake side with only two players taller than him.
Which System is Tough to Prepare For?
The stingy Houston defense, which has allowed only 56 points per game on average during the season, will be frustrating for opponents. Houston outrebounded, outshot, and outscored their opponents. Although they have been facing weaker opponents in conference play for a long time, that success can translate as they go into the Sweet Sixteen and beyond.