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Joint Base Andrews Features

NEWS | March 22, 2010

Who's ready for some March Madness?

By Airman 1st Class Patrick McKenna 316th Wing Public Affairs

Midwest Region

This region is without question the most loaded of the four. It not only features the country's number one team in Kansas, but also powerhouses Ohio State, Georgetown and an underrated Oklahome State team. So how does this region look to shake out? Well, while it's certainly true that Kansas got a raw deal with what region they were placed in (reference Duke's cakewalk placement to compare), they are fortunate enough to not have to play any of those three teams until the Elite Eight. Those three teams will beat up on one another in the lower half of the region while Kansas will most likely coast up top versus a Maryland or Michigan State.

A potential surprise team in this region to watch out for is the number six seed - Tennessee. They are a run and gun team that has the ability to put up points in bunches. They've also defeated both Kansas and Kentucky already this season so they have the ability to hang with the cream of the crop.
Prediction: Kansas

West Region
Syracuse is this region's top seed, but you could make the case that they are the weakest of the tournament's number one seeds as they were bounced in the first round of the Big East tournament and are limping into March Madness...literally. Arinze Onuaku, the starting power forward for Syracuse, will be missing at least the opening weekend of the tournament with an injured right quadriceps. The Orange can most likely make it through the Sweet Sixteen without Onuaku, but if they are missing him in a likely Elite Eight showdown with Kansas State they will be in serious trouble.

The one thing in the Orange's favor is this region is pretty harmless other than Kansas State. The number three seed Pittsburgh did defeat three top five teams this season (West Virginia, Villanova and Syracuse), but they are very inexperienced (no seniors in the starting lineup) and that will most likely be their downfall.
This region's potential cinderella team is UTEP. If they can get by Butler in the first round, they'd pose matchup problems for the four seed Vanderbilt.
Prediction: Kansas State

East Region
This region isn't getting the hype the Midwest is and that's understandable because it certainly isn't as deep, but, make no mistake, the top two teams - Kentucky and West Virginia, are two of the most talented teams in the entire tournament.

Kentucky is a well known commodity. They have the logical top pick in the next year's NBA Draft, John Wall, and two other stud freshmen DeMarcus Cousins and Eric Bledsoe. Can the most talented group of freshmen since Michigan's Fab Five overcome their lack of experience and coach John Calipari's inability to win the big one?

Their main road block will be the West Virginia Mountaineers. The Bob Huggins led squad is the champion of the best conference in college basketball and is led by senior Da'Sean Butler.
If you're looking for a cinderella team from this region to make a deep run, your best bet is the eight seed Texas Longhorns. Yes, they totally fell apart going 6-8 in their last 14 regular season games, but they did start the season 17-0 and were ranked #1 as late as January.
Prediction: Kentucky

South Region
We'll end with the region that's garnered the most criticism since the brackets were announced. The Duke Blue Devils are the top seed in this region and, despite being the third ranked number one seed, most analysts agree that Duke has the easiest road to the Final Four. The selection committee might as well have rolled out the red carpet for Duke to the Final Four unless you think they can be knocked off by either Villanova or Baylor in the Elite Eight. Duke is an experienced team led by the trio of Kyle Singler, Jon Scheyer and Nolan Smith who combine to average more than 50 points per game.

The most under the radar team in this region is none other than the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. The Irish finished the season strong despite missing their best player Luke Harangody to close out the regular season. Being without Harangody gave Notre Dame's other players a chance to step up and gain some confidence. They welcomed Harangody back for the Big East tournament where they won two games before losing to Big East champ West Virginia by two points.
Prediction: Duke

Final Four Predictions
Kansas def. Kansas State
Kentucky def. Duke

Championship Game Prediction
Kansas 68
Kentucky 61