|1 Michigan State v. 16 Long Island||Michigan State||Michigan State||Michigan State||Marquette|
|8 Memphis v. 9 St. Louis||St. Louis|
|5 New Mexico v. 12 Long Beach State||New Mexico||New Mexico|
|4 Louisville v. 13 Davidson||Davidson|
|6 Murray State v. 11 Colorado State||Murray State||Marquette||Marquette|
|3 Marquette v. 14 BYU/Iona||Marquette|
|7 Florida v. 10 Virginia||Florida||Missouri|
|2 Missouri v. 15 Norfolk State||Missouri|
Key to the region…Who proves the most powerful of all. Forwards Draymond Green from Michigan State and Marquette's Jae Crowder each won their respective conference's player of the Year award while Missouri's lone big man Ricardo Ratliffe led the nation in field goal percentage. While the interior forces all have help, all three are tasked with significant responsibility in order for their teams to survive and advance; Green must score, Crowder must balance the offense down low and Ratliffe must battle on the boards. Player that does their job best could tip a Final Four trip their team's way.
Second round upset: Davidson (13) over Louisville (4)…Going here with the "team that plays four games in four days to win its conference tournament runs out of gas in the NCAA's" theory. The Big East Tournament champion Cardinals, led by erratic point guard Peyton Siva, are just too inconsistent for my taste. Meanwhile this confident Davidson squad knocked off Kansas this season and sports two strong forwards in Jake Cohen and De'Mon Brooks, the Southern Conference Player of the Year. Stephen Curry will be proud.
Others: Saint Louis (9) over Memphis
Player to watch: Casper Ware, Long Beach State. When he's rocking it from beyond the arc, there might not be a more explosive scorer in the country than the 5-foot-10 dynamo. The two-time Big West Player of the Year dropped 29 points on North Carolina on the road this season and his fearless attitude carries over to the rest of the experienced starting lineup. The Beach could lose to New Mexico, but if not, Ware shoots the 49ers into the Sweet 16 and becomes the media sensation.
Others: Bradley Beal (Florida), Isaiah Cannan (Murray State), Jae Crowder (Marquette), Drew Gordon (New Mexico)
Sweet 16 matchups: Michigan State over New Mexico, Marquette over Missouri…Yes, the Lobos 3-point shooting defense trips up Ware and the 49ers (I think) before ending Davidson's run, but lose their footing against the physical Izzo's. A potential Mizzou-Marquette contest would setup as the most exciting Sweet 16 matchup with the Tigers relentless full-court push against the Golden Eagles dynamic fast break attack. Whenever the game's tempo drops a tick, Marquette's scoring combo of Crowder and fellow first-team All-Big East performer Darius Johnson Odom prove too strong.
And going to the Final Four…Marquette. After showing they can run, run and run against Missouri, Buzz Williams' team shows they can play rough and tumble against the rugged Spartans. Assuming they can keep their turnovers in check, the Golden Eagles soar to the Final Four for the first time since Dwyane Wade starred. DJO does one hell of a D-Wade impression in the win…68-64, Darius Johnson-Odom named Most Outstanding Player.