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Region to Region Breakdown: Midwest Region
By Reel Robinson

I saved the Midwest Region for my last breakdown because I looked over the teams closely and realized how difficult it was for a team to make it out this region. The Midwest Region has three teams from the Final Four last year in Michigan, Wichita State, and National Champions Louisville. Ironically, the No. 1 seed in this region is the smaller school of the three. Wichita State is a team that has a 35-0 record and has not loss since losing to eventual champs Louisville. After a season where the experts doubted there competition level (and their ability to play in big games), Wichita State has continued to win. To continue their amazing season it will be a rough road starting with the second round matchup between No. 8 seed Kentucky who took down Kansas State on Friday.

Kentucky is a very talented athletic team with five freshman starters who'll give Wichita State some problems. I have seen Wichita State a few times and I am a believer. They defend and have leadership at their point guard position. They are nice size team, not something you normally see with a mid-major school and they have a tenacity that will overwhelm the young Kentucky team. The No. 2 seed Michigan and my actual pick to win this region have an odd rode to get back to the Final Four. Michigan defeated No. 7 Texas convincingly in the second round on Saturday. Michigan awaits the winner of surprising No. 14 seed Mercer vs. No. 11 Tennessee.

Mercer defeated ACC powerhouse Duke on Friday by out playing the young Blue Devil team. Led by seven seniors, Mercer has experience and it was too much for Duke to handle in the end. Tennessee looked really good in their first round game against No. 6 UMass, who they beat down 86-67. The Volunteers athleticism may give them an edge on Mercer, but after watching both teams play I expect it to be a close game. Tennessee has had issues with turning the ball over, so if Mercer can create havoc defensively against the Vols, they'll have the opportunity for another upset. The consolation prize for winning on Sunday, unfortunately, will be a matchup with hot shooting Michigan who hit 14 three pointers against Texas and looked ready to get back to the title game after losing last year.

Louisville waits patiently for the winner of the Wichita State vs. Kentucky game after handling Saint Louis in the round of 32. The defending champs have yet to play a great tournament game, but they have won these ugly games because of experience and tough nose defense. Led by electrifying scoring guard Russ Smith, the Cardinals have found a way to generate enough offense to advance to the sweet 16. Against Wichita State or Kentucky they will need all the help they can get for Smith in order to beat either team. Kentucky dominated the Cardinals early in the season and Wichita State is playing so well if you are not prepared you won’t have a chance. I have Michigan advancing to the Final Four out of this region and ultimately winning the whole thing. I said in the beginning that the winner of the Midwest region will be the National Champions this year and so far I have yet to be proven any different. Who do you think will win the Midwest? Let me know in a comment. 

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