If the West Region plays to the chalk in the 2015 NCAA Tournament, the Elite 8 confrontation would be Championship Game worthy, drawing the attention of NCAA Basketball handicappers & fans alike.
However, that is getting ahead of ourselves and if you are trying to fill out brackets for your sports picks, it is best to use your head and not heart and consider matchups even ahead of the betting odds from sportsbooks.
Who Wins on Thursday and Friday from the West
While not all the top four seeds in this region might not beat the NCAA Basketball odds in their opening game, based on whom they are playing, top-seeded Wisconsin, Arizona, Baylor and North Carolina should be headed into the weekend unscathed. When you consider their weaknesses, none of their opponents would seem to be able to take advantage and engineer an upset. Contemplating the other contests, Wisconsin will face Oregon, who despite being blown out in the Pac-12 final, closed the regular season 11-2 and is far more consistent than Oklahoma State who is not known for playing complete game except on occasion.
Arizona will face the VCU or Ohio State winner and this is a hard choice. The Buckeyes have more overall talent and NBA-ready D’Angelo Russell, but the Buckeyes have focus issues and with the Rams relentlessness, is Ohio State ready to play their best? A slight nod to VCU, but an Ohio State victory would hardly be a stunner.
I have BYU ousting Ole Miss in First Four game and eliminating Xavier in Round 2 with their offense to challenge Baylor. Wofford will stay with Arkansas maybe even a little longer than most would think, but too much SEC player of the year Bobby Portis will be the difference and the Hogs will take on the Tar Heels.
The Four Who Will Play in SoCal
First up for NCAA Basketball picks is Wisconsin quieting the Ducks. The Badgers do not beat themselves and while Oregon will make every effort to beat the Badgers before they can setup their defense, it will not matter; Frank Kaminsky and the fellas are too strong.
My first thought was to choose Arkansas to upset North Carolina, until I thought how much Portis has struggled against big front lines and the Tar Heels certainly have those kinds of players. The Razorbacks can win if they can bother Marcus Paige, but I’ll lean on Roy Williams as the coach here.
Baylor will wear out BYU on the boards and get very physical with the Cougars who will be playing third pressured-packed game in five days. Arizona guards are too experienced and the Wildcats have too many rim runners to dunk once they beat the first line of VCU’s press.
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West Region Finalists
I would truly like to come up with a wonderfully interesting story why Wisconsin and Arizona might lose, but in truth if my predictions are correct (or even if they are not it matters little) this is your Elite 8 showdown and it promises to be awesome.
From the West the Winner will be…..
I really hope I’m right about this setup because this would be the best of the four showdowns even if every top seeds in each region advanced.
Both teams can score effectively, are incredibly sound defensively and are extremely well-coached.
As much as I think Bo Ryan’s team could give Kentucky a game, Arizona has been playing like they are in the zone. Rondea Hollis-Jefferson and Brandon Ashley have been coming on and if Stanley Johnson follows, the Wildcats fight their way to Indy. BetOnline offers Arizona Wildcats odds of winning the NCAA Tournament at +900.