NCAA Basketball Tournament: Midwest Region

If you're a college basketball fan, no matter who your team is, you've got to be thrilled with this Midwest Region. The top three seeds are: Kansas, Duke and Michigan State. Combined, these three powerhouse programs have wracked up 118 tournament appearances, 271 wins, 39 Final Four's and 10 National Championships. This group is going to be a complete toss-up. I wouldn't be shocked if either of them emerges victorious at the end of this whole tournament, and yet I've got to ride with the Kansas Jayhawks to squeak out of this division.

I'm confident in Kansas because I trust their program and I loved their performance this past week. The Jayhawks had to have their fans nervous after an embarrassing blow-out loss to Oklahoma State earlier this month. Then, they annihilated their competition in the conference tournament. If Kansas is going to make a deep run to the bitter end, they're going to have to rely not only on Big-12 player of the year Devonte' Graham, but their surprising freshman star Silvio De Sousa.

The potential matchup I'm most looking forward to will be a Sweet Sixteen dance between the Spartans and Blue Devils. Whatever you think of Duke Nation, at least they almost always provide an exhilarating affair. Michigan State will certainly be the underdog, having lost twelve of their last fourteen against Duke, including an 88-81 loss early in the season when both squads were ranked number one and two in the nation. You want one stat to prove that exemplifies that fact that the Midwest is friggin' stacked: Duke and Michigan State are the only two teams in the nation to rank in Pomeroy's top ten in both offensive and defensive efficiency.

There isn't really much to discuss outside of these top three teams, to be honest. But, hey, there's always a chance, right? So where's our glass slippered Cinderella lurking? The Auburn Tigers will offer fans an exciting match no matter who they play given their up-tempo offence. I think you could do worse than taking TCU, but I may be biased because I think their Horned Frog moniker is the greatest and one of the more absurd nicknames in all our college sports. No, at the end of the day, I think you always got to find a twelve seed and ride or die with them. That brings us to the Aggies of Mexico State who won a very respectable twenty-eight games and boast the nation's fourteenth best defence. I think there's a decent shot they take out Clemson and then-who know's?

Either way, take in as much information as you can. Ignore any analysis that doesn't sit well with you (including this one!). Spend as much time as possible at work hiding from the boss with your bracket (I know I will). And enjoy the Madness!