Regional previews conclude with a look at the Midwest & West side of the bracket. Winners of these two regionals will meet a week from Saturday in Detroit at the Final Four. The Midwest regional is at Indianapolis on Friday and Sunday. The West meets in Glendale, just outside of Phoenix, on Thursday and Saturday.
The Big Ten's best hope is right here in Indy, and MSU-Kansas has all the makings of a great matchup. Both teams have a great floor leader, as Kalin Lucas and Sherron Collins go head-to-head. Both have strong rebounders down low, in Goran Suton and Cole Aldrich respectively. Both coaches have won a national title. The key for Michigan State, as its been all year, is Raymar Morgan. Playing to his potential, he makes the Spartans as good as anyone in the country. When his health holds him back, they become an ordinary team. And Kansas will beat an ordinary team at this stage.
Louisville takes on Arizona. While it's not a gimme game, given the talent 'Zona has in guard Nic Wise and two outstanding forwards, Jordan Hill and Chase Budinger, the difference between the Big East & Pac-10 is...well, about the same as the distance from the East and the West. With Terrence Williams and Samardo Samuels down low, the Cards have the inside personnel to meet this challenge. That sets up a titanic battle on Sunday for the Final Four, a berth Louisville came up one game short on last year. But I picked Michigan State at the start of the bracket, and I'm not backing down now.
Can Purdue give the Huskies a run for it? JaJuan Johnson has to answer the bell. UConn's very tough inside, with 7'3" Hasheem Thabeet who dominates the glass and on defense. And he's not even the top player on the team, that honor going to Jeff Adrien. If Johnson can rebound and block some shots, he can give the Boilers a punchers chance. E'Twaun Moore then has to match up with A.J. Price on the point. It's a longshot, but there is hope.
Memphis-Missouri features two teams that play similar styles, in that they are perimter-oriented with three guards in the starting lineup, but get their point production from the two forwards. Similar styles minimize the chance for an upset, so I like Memphis here and to advance on to the Final Four.