2012 NCAA Tournament: Midwest Region Overview

If you want to participate in a bracket competition online, Yahoo! is always a great spot for it. I'll probably get a group up and running later on Monday.

Before filling out your bracket, or at least before making any picks that actually require some thought, I recommend penciling-in each team's respective Pomeroy Rating by their names. While Pomeroy's more in-depth scouting data is behind a paywall, you can still see the ratings for free. As I mention every year, this is a good, quick and dirty way to spot some potentially advantageous (and therefore money-making) opportunities.

Since seeding is heavily based on RPI, which is a poor indicator of overall strength, sometimes the seed differentials are misleading. For example, No. 11 seed NC State is 44th in the Pomeroy Ratings, while No. 6 seed San Diego St. is 52nd.

Other matchups to ponder:

-- No. 5 Temple (#36 KenPom) could potentially play No. 12 Cal (#28 KenPom).
-- No. 7 St. Mary's (#43 KenPom) vs. No. 10 Purdue (#24 KenPom).
-- No. 6 Cincinnati (#31 KenPom) vs. No. 11 Texas (#27 KenPom).

This works the other way too. See:

-- No. 8 Kansas State (#22 KenPom) vs. No. 9 Southern Miss (#71 KenPom)

As for NC State's half of the Midwest region--which I have not yet had the stones to project beyond the first round--let's take a look at how the teams stack up in terms of Pomeroy Rating. I also included a quick overview of San Diego State. As I mentioned earlier, NC State compares favorably to the Aztecs, but we're in a tough pod, and that's not even getting to Purdue or Kansas.

Ncsupod_medium

(Click to embiggen.)

In the top half, it's hard to see UNC stumbling against anybody before it reaches the Elite Eight. UNC is the only #1 seed that does not have any KenPom top 25 teams in its half of the bracket, and besides that, I just haven't been overly impressed with Michigan, Creighton, Temple, Alabama, or California.

Michigan State, meanwhile, could end up facing the #9 team in the Ratings (Memphis) in the second round. Yikes.

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