2016 NCAA Tournament Picks: Midwest



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2016 NCAA Tournament Picks – Midwest Bracket

By Walter Cherepinsky – @walterfootball


NCAA Tournament Picks: Midwest Bracket First Round



No. 1 Virginia vs. No. 16 Hampton
You know what’s cool? I had Hampton listed here last year, so I didn’t have to type in a new team name. So in honor of that, I’ll keep the same awesome joke I used back then:

Remember that one Seinfeld episode when George lied to the Rosses about having a place in the Hamptons? Maybe I’ll watch that episode instead of this Kentucky-Hampton game.

2016 NCAA Tournament Pick: No. 1 Virginia


No. 8 Texas Tech vs. No. 9 Butler
Both of these teams are overseeded, as they should be on the No. 10 line. I’ve heard the opinion that the Red Raiders shouldn’t even be in the tournament – Valparaiso would apparently be a five-point favorite over them on a neutral site – but I’d be fine with them as a No. 10 or 11 seed. Butler is only slightly better, and I have to say that I trust Chris Holtmann more than Tubby Smith. For what it’s worth, Butler is favored by three over Texas Tech.

2016 NCAA Tournament Pick: No. 9 Butler


No. 5 Purdue vs. No. 12 Arkansas-Little Rick
I really feel bad for Arkansas-Little Rock. The team is a top-three mid-major I expected to advance in the tournament, perhaps into the Sweet 16. The NCAA Tournament Selection Committee identified Arkansas-Little Rock as a threat and seeded down Purdue in response. The Boilermakers should be a No. 3 seed. The talking heads on ESPN were wondering why Purdue was a No. 5, but you have your answer here. The Boilermakers are one of the NCAA’s silver bullets.

2016 NCAA Tournament Pick: No. 5 Purdue


No. 4 Iowa State vs. No. 13 Iona
This is a potential upset. Iowa State is slightly overseeded, as it should be a No. 5. Iona, meanwhile, is a solid mid-major, but isn’t as good as Hawaii (another No. 13 seed), so I’m not going to call two 13-4 results.

2016 NCAA Tournament Pick: No. 4 Iowa State




No. 6 Seton Hall vs. No. 11 Gonzaga
These teams are evenly matched, so I’m going to take Mark Few and his extensive NCAA Tournament experience. This is as close as you can get though, so this is basically a coin flip.

2016 NCAA Tournament Pick: No. 11 Gonzaga


No. 3 Utah vs. No. 14 Fresno State
This is a potential 14-3 upset. Utah is way overseeded. The Utes should be a No. 7 seed, but they should still take care of Fresno State. If another 14-seed, Stephen F. Austin, were battling Utah, I’d call for the upset.

2016 NCAA Tournament Pick: No. 3 Utah


No. 7 Dayton vs. No. 10 Syracuse
Syracuse is another team playing in the NCAA Tournament that simply shouldn’t have made it in. The committee simply wanted all of the team’s fans to buy tickets and produce revenue, which is a shame because more-deserving programs should’ve made it. Saint Mary’s, Valparaiso and Monmouth were downright robbed.

Having said that, Syracuse is still better than Dayton, which is an even more-confusing inclusion. Dayton coach Archie Miller has a great tournament track record, but his team isn’t very good this year.

2016 NCAA Tournament Pick: No. 10 Syracuse


No. 2 Michigan State vs. No. 15 Middle Tennessee State
Michigan State is VERY fortunate to avoid Slightly Off-Center Tennessee State. Middle Tennessee State has no chance.

2016 NCAA Tournament Pick: No. 2 Michigan State





NCAA Tournament Picks: Midwest Bracket Second Round



No. 1 Virginia vs. No. 9 Butler
Virginia has a top-five defense, as they are completely suffocating when they don’t have the ball. Butler’s defense is ranked in the 130s. Guess where I’m going with my pick.

2016 NCAA Tournament Pick: No. 1 Virginia


No. 4 Iowa State vs. No. 5 Purdue
It’s not just Arkansas-Little Rock that’s screwed over by the corrupt NCAA Tournament Selection Committee’s mis-seeding. Iowa State, assuming they get by Iona, will be on the short end of the stick as well, as it’ll be battling an opponent it should see in the Sweet 16 here in the second round. Purdue is an awesome, well-coached team that could make a deep run into the tournament.

2016 NCAA Tournament Pick: No. 5 Purdue




No. 3 Utah vs. No. 11 Gonzaga
More seeding nonsense: Gonzaga, an 11-seed, is ranked higher than Utah, a three-seed. Wut. The Zags had some issues earlier in the season, as they were adjusting to a pair of young players starting in their backcourt, but they managed to catch a bit of fire during the stretch run that should trickle into this tournament.

2016 NCAA Tournament Pick: No. 11 Gonzaga


No. 2 Michigan State vs. No. 10 Syracuse
Tom Izzo is not losing to a crappy team that shouldn’t even be in the NCAA Tournament. It’s just not happening.

2016 NCAA Tournament Pick: No. 2 Michigan State





NCAA Tournament Picks: Midwest Bracket Sweet 16



No. 1 Virginia vs. No. 5 Purdue
Remember in the previous round, where I mentioned that Virginia and its top defense would be battling a Butler squad whose defense ranked in the 130s? Well, Purdue is No. 18 defensively, and they also have a pretty efficient offense.

I like the Boilermakers here to pull the upset. Two things to consider: First, these teams are pretty evenly matched, as they both rank in the top 10. Second, the Cavaliers, while efficient, struggle to score when trailing. Purdue is a good team that has a very realistic chance of leading this game at some point, so I think Virginia could panic and begin screwing up on the offensive end.

2016 NCAA Tournament Pick: No. 5 Purdue


No. 2 Michigan State vs. No. 11 Gonzaga
Gonzaga has a nice run here, but it’ll come to an end against the best coach and player in the country. I can’t see the Spartans slipping up until at least the Elite Eight.

2016 NCAA Tournament Pick: No. 2 Michigan State



NCAA Tournament Picks: Midwest Bracket Elite Eight



No. 2 Michigan Stae vs. No. 5 Purdue
I have to hand it to the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee. It’s pretty unbelievable that the two participants in the Big Ten championship could face off against each other in a regional final. Way to go, idiots. Nice job not paying attention to anything that happened over the weekend.

I could definitely see Purdue winning the rematch, but Michigan State is still the better team, with the best coach and the best player. If there’s one man who can counter-adjust to Matt Painter’s adjustments, it’s Tom Izzo.

2016 NCAA Tournament Pick: No. 2 Michigan State




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