The West Region of the 2014 NCAA Tournament possesses some of the top players in college basketball, with the top-seeded Arizona Wildcats favored to advance to the Final Four.
Compare the top NCAA Championship Betting Lines
The top four seeds out West (Arizona +161, Wisconsin +422, Creighton +422 and San Diego State +993) are the clear favorites to potentially win the region at Pinnacle Sports, with ninth-seeded Oklahoma State being next in line at +1213.
Odds for other region members: Oregon (+1877), Oklahoma (+1894), Gonzaga (+2007), Baylor (+2342), Nebraska (+5834), BYU (+6995), New Mexico St (+6995), North Dakota St (+7578) Louisiana (+9323), American (+11652) and Weber State (+11652)
Arizona guard Nick Johnson earned Pac-12 Player of the Year honors, while also landing on the conference’s All-Defensive Team. He’s the guy that head coach Sean Miller trusts with the basketball down the stretch of close games.
Oklahoma State’s Marcus Smart leads the team in averaging 17.8 points per game and will try to make national media members forget his unfortunate incident with a Texas Tech fan that led to a suspension during the regular season.
San Diego State wouldn’t be a No. 4 seed in this region without the services of point guard Xavier Thames, who is the only dependable scorer on the roster, which led to being named the Mountain West Conference Player of the Year.
Creighton is going to receive a lot of media attention in this event due to senior forward Doug McDermott, who enters the Big Dance as the nation’s leading scorer.
College basketball handicappers need to take a look at the Gonzaga Bulldogs at a nice price to win the region, as they prepare to make their 16th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance.
The Bulldogs have an experienced head coach in Mark Few on the sidelines and their success depends heavily on the health of junior guard Kevin Pangos.
Pangos has been bothered by lower body injuries most of the season, but I recommend watching his play closely in the second round against Oklahoma State.
How it’ll all play out
Arizona is a deserving favorite in this region due to capturing the Pac-12 regular-season championship, and also spending time as the top-ranked team in college basketball.
The Wildcats toughest test in my opinion may come in the Sweet 16 Round, as a rematch of a hard-fought non-conference game against San Diego State is potentially on the horizon—a game that would be played in Southern California.
On the bottom half out West, second-seeded Wisconsin benefits greatly by potentially playing its first two games in Milwaukee.
Third-seeded Creighton will want to stay away from programs with size in the front court, but that problem may become a reality in the Round of 32 if Baylor is able to move past Nebraska.
Free Pick: Arizona Wildcats +161