Tuesday, March 16, 2010

NCAA Tournament: Midwest Regional Preview

Player of the Year candidate Evan Turner leads No. 2 seed Ohio State into action in the Midwest regional, starting against Cal-Santa Barbara. (Photo courtesy of The Sporting News)

As we ready ourselves for the 2010 edition of the NCAA Tournament, I'll be profiling each regional, as well as the highlight matchups and players to watch. We'll start with the Midwest, where overall No. 1 seed Kansas is the odds-on favorite to represent the regional in Indianapolis for the Final Four.

Teams & Seeds: (1) Kansas, (2) Ohio State, (3) Georgetown, (4) Maryland, (5) Michigan State, (6) Tennessee, (7) Oklahoma State (8) UNLV, (9) Northern Iowa, (10) Georgia Tech, (11) San Diego State, (12) New Mexico State, (13) Houston, (14) Ohio, (15) Cal-Santa Barbara, (16) Lehigh

Players to Watch: Sherron Collins, (Kansas) Cole Aldrich, (Kansas) Evan Turner, (Ohio State) Greg Monroe, (Georgetown) Greivis Vasquez, (Maryland) Kalin Lucas (Michigan State)

Highlight Matchup: The potential second-round clash between Maryland and Michigan State, which will feature the aforementioned Vasquez and Lucas in an intriguing battle of the point guards that will be fun to watch.

Upset Special: Georgia Tech over Oklahoma State. The Yellow Jackets have won several big games this season, and freshman Derrick Favors is has one of the best inside games in the nation.

Marquee Coach: Take your pick from Bill Self, (Kansas) Gary Williams, (Maryland) and Tom Izzo, (Michigan State) all of whom have won national championships. Steve Fisher (San Diego State) has also won a national title, while Thad Matta (Ohio State) and Paul Hewitt (Georgia Tech) have been to the national championship game in the past.

Winner: Ohio State. Kansas may be the most talented team, but the Elite Eight matchup out of this regional will come down to a last-second possession, and in that scenario, no one is better than Player of the Year frontrunner Evan Turner, who will lead the Buckeyes into Indy.

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