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Midwest Regional breakdown

Midwest Regional breakdown

Midwest Regional breakdown
Jeff Goodman / 

Overview: The defending national champion Florida Gators received one of the easiest roads of any of the top seeds. It's a solid bracket with No. 2 Wisconsin and No. 3 Oregon, but hardly intimidating.

The Badgers are struggling a little bit down the stretch and came out on the losing end of the Big Ten title game against Ohio State while Oregon rolled to the Pac-10 championship game.

Two of the ACC's hottest teams (until the ACC tournament), Maryland and Georgia Tech, were both shipped to the Midwest — as were a pair of Pac-10 teams — Arizona and Oregon.

Best first-round matchup: No. 7 UNLV vs. No. 10 Georgia Tech. Lon Kruger's Rebels will go up against one of the most athletic teams in the country in the Yellow Jackets. Kruger's team has some talent, but it'll be a game in which tempo dictates the final result.

Best potential matchup: No. 1 Florida vs. No. 3 Oregon — This would be one of the best matchups of the entire tournament if it materializes. The Gators would get a better run from the Ducks than from No. 2 Wisconsin. Oregon has talented guards and wings in Aaron Brooks, Tajuan Porter, Malik Hairston and Bryce Taylor.

Upset special: No. 13 Davidson over No. 4 Maryland — Bob McKillop's team is young, but he's a terrific coach and he has plenty of talent to knock off the Terps. Freshman Stephen Curry, former NBA player Dell Curry's son, is Davidson's best player.

Cinderella? Georgia Tech — If the Yellow Jackets can get past UNLV, they will knock off Bo Ryan's Wisconsin team.

My pick: Florida — I don't care who stands in the way of the Gators. Billy Donovan's team is going to get to Atlanta. They will pound Jackson State and breeze past the Arizona-Purdue winner to reach the Sweet 16. Then it'll get interesting, but Florida will still advance.

Story Lines:

How about the game's elite young coach, Billy Donovan, going up against Hall of Famer Lute Olson of Arizona in the second round?

Can the boys from the island, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, pull off the huge upset over No. 2 Wisconsin in the first round? It'll be tough since the Badgers are just a couple hours away from home.

One at-large mid-major is certain to be out after the first round when Butler takes on Old Dominion.

Five Players to Watch:

Joakim Noah, Florida
Alando Tucker, Wisconson
Marcus Williams, Arizona
Aaron Brooks, Oregon
Thaddeus Young, Georgia Tech

Best Player You've Never Heard of:

Stephen Curry, Davidson

Overrated: No. 5 Butler
Underrated: No. 10 Georgia Tech

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