PJ's Predictions: Round of 64, Midwest Region
The last region of the first round is the Midwest Region. This region is going to be the most competitive from game to game. Most of these matchups will be very close down the stretch.
The first game in this region is Auburn and New Mexico State. New Mexico State is a sleeper in the tournament, but they will have to face Auburn in the first round. Auburn has not been the most successful team all year, but they finished the season strong. This year they beat Tennessee twice and won the SEC tournament so they will pull off the win and go to the second round.
The following game will be Kansas versus Northwestern. Not only is Kansas the more talented team, but they are more organized. However, they have not been performing as well as usual, but they should get the job done and win, sending them to the second round.
The next matchup is very similar to the Kansas game. Kentucky is a top organization and is very talented this year. They have wins over Tennessee, Mississippi State, and Auburn. This should be a blowout win for Kentucky over ACU, which will send them to the second round.
The matchup after that game is Wofford facing Seton Hall. Many people would pick Seton Hall with the upset because of previous success, but Wofford is very talented this year due to their skillful shooting. Wofford and Seton Hall will fight to the end, but Wofford will outshoot them and pull off the victory.
The game after the Wofford matchup will be the complete opposite. The matchup of Tennessee and Colgate will be a blowout game, but anything is possible when it comes to March Madness. Tennessee, a two seed, is talented from point guard to center. They have defeated Kentucky twice this season and Gonzaga, showing that they are a top team that could do some damage in the tournament as they move on to the second round.
Continuing in the midwest region is the nine versus eight matchup. Washington and Utah State will be facing off and it should end in a very close game. This should be exciting for fans to watch and might end in a crazy and unexpected fashion. Washington is the underdog in this situation, but they made their conference championship game and lost to Oregon. This showed that they are vulnerable even when playing teams that they should be able to beat. Utah State is a team that many people do not talk about, but they are a great balanced team that is very skilled. This game will go all the way down to the buzzer but Utah State will pull through and go to the second round for their first time since 2001.
The three seeded Houston will face off against the fourteen seeded Georgia State. For many, it would seem to be an easy win for Houston, but Houston has struggled lately, losing to Cincinnati in the AAC Championship. Georgia State is not a top team but they have a chance against Houston, after winning their conference championship. However, Houston is simply too talented to lose this game and will pull off the win even if they struggle.
The one seed in the midwest region is North Carolina, they will play against the sixteen seeded Iona. This game, much like the Tennessee game should be a blowout win as North Carolina continues their road to the Final Four. North Carolina has more talent and better coaching than Iona. Coach Williams will know how to get them out of the first round easily with the talent they have.
The final matchup of the first round is Iowa State versus Ohio State. Many believe it should be a blowout win for Iowa State, and it possibly could be, but Ohio State is not a bad team. Iowa State went on a huge run to end the season, winning the Big 12 championship. They will continue this run by beating Ohio State and face the winner of the Houston versus Georgia State game, in the second round.