Gonzaga wins this bracket based on all 10 factors, though many observers are picking Arizona to beat them. The system that analyzes the way teams match-up on steals and three-pointers projects Virginia as the Eastern Champion. This
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Salt Lake City 1st Two Rounds
West: No. 1 Gonzaga vs. No. 16 South Dakota State
West: No. 8 Northwestern vs. No. 9 Vanderbilt
Ten Best Players
5, Nigel Williams-Goss #5, Gonzaga
34, Mike Daum #24, South Dakota St.
110, Zach Collins #32, Gonzaga
118, Luke Kornet #3, Vanderbilt
138, Riley LaChance #13, Vanderbilt
170, Johnathan Williams #3, Gonzaga
181, Jeff Roberson #11, Vanderbilt
187, Przemek Karnowski #24, Gonzaga
239, Vic Law #4, Northwestern
257, Jordan Mathews #4, Gonzaga
Healthy: Northwestern’s Dererk Pardon would have also ranked in this top 10 if he had been with the team the entire season.
South Dakota State’s last six games were against higher ranked teams, and it beat all seven en route to the Summit League title and improving more than 30 spots on the rankings at www.kenpom.com.
Possible “style/home” edge upset: Gonzaga so good on both offense and defense on steals and 3-pointers that it’s hard to see an upset, even though Salt Lake is a relatively neutral site.
Buffalo 1st two Rounds
West: No. 4 West Virginia vs. No. 13 Bucknell
West: No. 5 Notre Dame vs. No. 12 Princeton
Best 10 Players
4, Bonzie Colson #35, Notre Dame
20, Jevon Carter #2, West Virginia
119, Steven Cook #25, Princeton
149, Nathan Adrian #11, West Virginia
150, Zach Thomas #23, Bucknell
177, Devin Cannady #3, Princeton
180, Matt Farrell #5, Notre Dame
186, Nana Foulland #20, Bucknell
189, Steve Vasturia #32, Notre Dame
225, Tarik Phillip #12, West Virginia
Health: Princeton two small injuries.
Notre Dame vs. West Virginia features two of the greatest coaches in Mike Brey and Bob Huggins.
Possible “style/home” edge upset: Bucknell can hit threes (55th best), but turns the ball over a ton (310th best at protecting the ball), West Virginia has a huge edge (3rd in steals). Home edge for Princeton heading into Buffalo snow – on rail perhaps?
Orlando 1st Two Rounds
West: No. 6 Maryland vs. No. 11 Xavier
West: No. 3 Florida State vs. No. 14 Florida Gulf Coast
Top 10 Players
73, Brandon Goodwin #0, Florida Gulf Coast
74, Trevon Bluiett #5, Xavier
126, Melo Trimble #2, Maryland
127, JP Macura #55, Xavier
129, Jonathan Isaac #1, Florida St.
232, Dwayne Bacon #4, Florida St.
249, Anthony Cowan #0, Maryland
261, Terance Mann #14, Florida St.
272, Demetris Morant #21, Florida Gulf Coast
283, Kevin Huerter #4, Maryland
Healthy: Xavier’s Edmond Sumner would have been in top 3 in this bracket if he was not injured.
Possible “style/home” edge upset: Winner of second game with home advantage in their second game.
Salt Lake City 1st Two Rounds
West: No. 7 St. Mary’s vs. No. 10 VCU
West: No. 2 Arizona vs. No. 15 North Dakota
12, Jock Landale #34, Saint Mary's
23, Lauri Markkanen #10, Arizona
82, JeQuan Lewis #1, VCU
95, Quinton Hooker #21, North Dakota
125, Justin Tillman #4, VCU
158, Calvin Hermanson #24, Saint Mary's
213, Joe Rahon #25, Saint Mary's
258, Rawle Alkins #1, Arizona
271, Kadeem Allen #5, Arizona
320, Dane Pineau #22, Saint Mary's
Possible “style/home” edge upset: Big style edge to VCU in opener as VCU just doesn’t allow 3-pointers (28th best in denying them) that Saint Mary’s relies on (14th best in country) while VCU (28th in steals) can take advantage of the fact that Saint Mary’s is terrible at protecting the ball (229th). If VCU and Arizona win, Arizona has the huge advantage in the home court to their north and the fact that they do NOT turn the ball over (26th).
Vanderbilt is the only team in the group with any future NBA players to go up against Gonzaga’s NBA talent.