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NCAA Tournament Picks - West Region Predictions

NCAA Tournament Picks

The West Region is one that has largely gone according to the plan of most. Sure, Florida State is no longer playing, but many figured there was a real possibility that it could get beaten by any of the teams in its mini-bracket in Orlando. We're still at the point that there isn't an odds-on favorite to win the West with just four teams left to go, and this could really lend itself to a heck of a couple games at the SAP Center this coming week.

No. 1 Gonzaga ( +155 ) – The Bulldogs have really been methodical thus far in the NCAA Tournament. Have they been the best team in the field? No, they haven't. They really struggled for far longer than they should have against South Dakota State, and they let Northwestern back into a game that should have easily been put away inside the first 30 minutes. That said, nobody has quite figured out how to slow down Nigel Williams-Goss yet, and Zach Collins is starting to emerge as a real star as the third big man on this team behind Johnathan Williams and Przemek Karnowski. Is this still the most dangerous team in the West? We think so. But we also know that West Virginia is no easy out at this point in the tourney with the way that it can press even the best teams in the land.

No. 2 Arizona ( +145 ) – Arizona is actually the favorite to win the West Region at +145 at this point, though it should be noted that the implication here is that it would be a slight underdog in a rematch against the Bulldogs should that be how this plays out. Remember that Gonzaga is only a very slight favorite over West Virginia, while the Wildcats are the biggest favorites in the Sweet 16 at -7.5 against Xavier. Lauri Markkanen has really come on strong, and his great ending of the Pac-12 Tournament has more or less bled over into the NCAAs. Between his inside game and the outside game of Allonzo Trier, this is probably the team most likely to win the National Championship amongst these four.

No. 4 West Virginia ( +350 ) – The big problem we have with the Mountaineers is that they've only got really experienced teams with good guards left in this bracket. Sure, they took care of a great Notre Dame team on Sunday, but that team was undersized. Assuming that the Mountaineers have to get through both Gonzaga and Arizona, this is going to be a really tall task. Both of these teams have bigs who can both defend on the ball and successfully ball handle as well. Toss in experienced guards who aren't going to be intimidated by the pressure in the full court game, and you've got the makings of a team that could find itself in a really tough position. That said, we've seen the Mountaineers play Kansas to the wire twice, and if they can threaten a team with Josh Jackson, Devonte' Graham and Frank Mason in control of the ball, they can beat anyone.

No. 11 Xavier ( +1200 ) – Talk about a team that was dead in the water finding its way into the Sweet 16! The X-Men barely looked like an NCAA Tournament team at the end of the year without Edmond Sumner in the lineup, but beating Creighton at MSG proved to be the start of something really good for this team. Maryland and Florida State both were incredibly flawed teams though, and now that those two are out of the way, the real fun is about to begin. Arizona clearly has one of the best teams in America, and this is going to be the toughest out for sure in this bracket. The Musketeers aren't big enough to contend with Markkanen nor are fast enough to keep up with these quick guards. They'll need some real magic and some big time three-point shooting in order to keep up with the U of A.