2023 Men's Basketball NCAA Tournament West Regional Overview

West Regional Overview
With the brackets set for this year's NCAA Tournament, the West Region has the potential to produce some highly competitive games and some shocking upsets. Four of the best teams in the country (Kansas, UCLA, Gonzaga, and Connecticut) will try to avoid being upset and advance to the Final Four.
Who Can Win?
The West Region is full of star-studded teams who could make a run in this year's tournament. UCLA is arguably one of the best teams in this tournament and has the potential to make it far. They currently sit at number three in the NCAA NET rankings, the highest ranking amongst all teams in the West Region. UCLA will be playing without their star defender Jaylen Clark who is out for the season with an Achilles injury but still managed to play well in the Pac-12 Tournament.
Although not seeded as high as usual, Gonzaga is another team that can't be counted out. The Zags have won nine of their last ten games and are rolling heading into March and looking to make a deep run.
Kansas has also been playing well recently, but a devastating loss to Texas in the Big 12 Championship game may deflate some of the Jayhawk's confidence.
Who Can Surprise?
VCU is a sneaky team that has a chance to break some brackets this year. Junior Guard Adrian Baldwin Jr leads the Rams offense with 12.6 PPG while Sophomore Jalen DeLoach grabs 6.9 RPG. VCU has proven to be a resilient team this season and recently built some confidence with a commanding twelve-point win over Dayton in the Atlantic Ten Championship. Look for VCU to give Saint Mary's a good test and potentially win a few games in this tournament.
Another underrated team is Arizona State, who will play a First Four game against the Nevada Wolfpack. The Sun Devils are coming off a recent buzzer-beater win over Arizona and are feeling good going into March. Arizona State will give TCU a run for their money if they can get past Nevada.
Who’s Hot?
One of the main reasons that VCU is a favorite to pull off an upset is because they have been red hot recently. The Rams have won nine of their last ten games and claimed the Atlantic Ten title. Their only loss over this stretch came at the hands of Dayton, who they just beat. Momentum is crucial in upsetting good teams, and VCU has all the momentum in the world right now.
Iona has also been on a nice winning streak as of late. Rick Pitino's Gaels have won fourteen in a row and aren't looking to slow down. These wins may not mean as much as Iona plays easier competition in the MAAC, but they are certainly getting hot at the right time. They have won their last ten games by an average of 16.7 points and have everything it takes to keep their winning streak going.
UConn is another team that has been hot lately. They have won eight of their last ten games and have had a terrific season. The Huskies are led by Adama Sanogo and Jordan Hawkins, who look to keep UConn rolling.
Who’s Cold?
TCU has been on a cold streak lately, losing seven of their last eleven games. Playing in the Big 12, most of these losses were to elite teams, but the lack of momentum and confidence may impact the Horned Frog's performance. TCU has great players in Mike Miles Jr. and Damion Baugh, but they will need some confidence to make a run in the coming weeks.
The Northwestern Wildcats are another team that needs a confidence boost. They have lost four of their last five games, but all their losses came to other teams playing in March Madness. For Northwestern, it is not a matter of not playing well but of not pulling through in crunch time. The Wildcats have lost five games this season by a margin of four points or less.
Upset Alert!
As previously mentioned, VCU is hot and looking to pull off an upset. Look for VCU to put up a tough battle against Saint Mary’s and possibly come away with the win. The two teams match up very well against each other, but VCU is riding the wave of momentum they have created over the past few weeks.
Expect Arizona State to take care of a struggling Nevada team and take out TCU in the first round. The Horned Frogs have been struggling lately and will have a tough time dealing with the high-octane offense of Desmond Cambridge and the Sun Devils.
What Possible Matchup is Interesting?
The West Region has the potential to produce the game of the year. Assuming no significant upsets occur, we could see UCLA take on Gonzaga in the Sweet 16. Not only are these two of the best teams in the country, but they are also two of the best offenses in the country. Gonzaga scored 87.5 PPG, which is second in the nation this season. Although UCLA only scores 73.9 PPG, Gonzaga's defense has struggled this season and given up a lot of points to teams with a weak offense. UCLA's offense is led by the dynamic duo of Jaime Jaquez Jr and Tyger Campbell, while Drew Timme leads the Gonzaga offense. This matchup could produce a high-scoring shootout that might just produce one of the best games of the tournament and potentially the entire season.
Which Player Will Dominate?
The West Region is full of both dominant teams and elite players. Many players have the potential to take control of the tournament. Kansas has the dominant duo of Jalen Wilson and Gradey Dick, which has sometimes seemed unstoppable this season, while UCLA has the high-scoring duo of Jaime Jacquez Jr. and Tyger Campbell. Drew Timme has shown that he can take over a game and has the opportunity to cement his legacy by dominating in his final NCAA Tournament. Other players who deserve mention include Desmond Cambridge of Arizona State, Tyson Degenhart of Boise State, and Adama Sanogo of UConn.
Which System is Tough to Prepare For?
The most lethal system in the West Region is Gonzaga's scary efficient offense. As a unit, they average 87.5 PPG and 16.6 APG. Even if Gonzaga's competition is having a good day offensively, it will be tough to keep pace with the Bulldogs. Although Gonzaga does falter slightly on the defensive side of the ball, they have still managed to win their games by an average of nearly 15 points. It will be difficult for any opposing team to stop Gonzaga's offense or score enough points to keep it close.