March Madness Preview: West Region

p10_california_ucla_basketballsff.jpgAh, the Ben Howland bracket. It would be a huge upset for anyone other than Kansas or UCLA to take this region. Odds are that one of them gets knocked out early, clearing the road for the other, but the thing that makes KU and UCLA so good is that they are both mentally and physically tough teams. Upsets are thus unlikely. But it’s still March. That’s why we love it.

Good and Bad for UCLA and more, coming up…

Good Things For UCLA: For the second straight year, UCLA won’t leave the state. Kansas is notorious for not showing up at the tourney. Pitt finished the season with a whimper. The Pac-10 Tournament fiasco may have afforded the team some much-needed rest.

Bad Things For UCLA: This is not a “hot” team. Darren Collison is still banged up. Gonzaga, feeling snubbed with a 10 seed, will be revved up for a rematch. As bad as the Ryan Hollins era was, he had a great tournament last year and this year, the Bruins lack that inside scoring. Mata and Aboya are bangers, not scorers. If the guards go cold, Luc Richard has got to replicate his tournament run last year.

Overrated: Indiana, Virginia Tech

Underrated: the Wildcats, Duke. Duke? It’s been so trendy to say that the “overrated” Blue Devils are ripe for an upset that people forget that they were in the top 10 earlier this year. They still have one of the best coaches in the country. And McRoberts is still legit, in between crying sessions and you know, being white.

All-Name Team: Dezmon Harris (Weber St), Josh Bone & Dion Coopwood (SIU), Robert Krabbendam (VA Tech), and Kyle Cruze (Holy Cross)

Final Thoughts: Kansas has the athletes and the NBA talent. UCLA has the D and the poise. Which combo wins in March?

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