March Madness 2022 – West Region Preview & Picks

West Region preview and betting locks.

West Region Storylines

  • The West features the top overall seed in Gonzaga who has been dominant all season and is looking to avenge their title loss versus Baylor a year ago, while Duke sits at the two seed and is one of the most talented teams in basketball but struggling to put it all together
  • Being this is his last season, Coach K will dominate the storylines, but this region features a plethora of well-regarded head coaches including National Coach of the Year candidate, Mike Adams (Texas Tech), legend Tom Izzo (Michigan State), Eric Musselman (Arkansas) and Penny Hardaway (Memphis)
  • While the region has its fair share of blue-bloods, some upsets could be brewing with Davidson, New Mexico State and Vermont playing their best basketball as they enter the tournament

West Region Schedule & Winners

No. 1 Gonzaga vs No. 16 Georgia State (Thursday, 4:15pm, TNT)

  • Last year’s runner-up is the top overall seed for the second season in a row and look hungry to finally cut down the nets, led by two Wooden Award finalists, 6’10” junior Drew Timme and 7’0 freshmen sensation Chet Holmgren, who may be the first player taken in the NBA Draft, the Zags push the tempo, control the glass and play tenacious defense
  • Georgia State relies on their defense and is riding a 10-game winning streak that earned them the Sun Belt title, with experienced senior guards Kane Williams and Corey Allen carrying the load offensively – this will be both Williams and Allen’s third tournament appearance
  • Winner: Gonzaga

No. 2 Duke vs No. 15 Cal State Fullerton (Friday, 7:10pm, CBS)

  • We all know this is Coach K’s last dance, but what you might not know is Duke’s entire starting five are projected first-round picks who all average double-figures in scoring, highlighted by All-ACC G Paolo Banchero, however, they lack experience (their starting five average age is only 18.8-years-old) and have been shaky in close games, especially defensively
  • E.J. Anosike is the name to remember, the Tennessee transfer is Cal State Fullerton’s heartbeat, averaging 18 PTS and 13.7 REB to capture the Big West title, their four top scorers all shoot over 77% from the line, but the Titans have been prone to turning the ball over – they have more team turnovers than they do assists
  • Winner: Duke

No. 3 Texas Tech vs  No. 14 Montana State (Friday, 1:45pm, TNT)

  • Texas Tech has the number one ranked defense in the country and have beaten Baylor twice plus wins over Tennessee and Kansas but shooting has been an issue, they are only 31.4% from three (283rd nationally) and 69.9% from the stripe (236th) – The Red Raiders like to slow it down and rely on their stifling defense but will need to hit more shots if they want to make a deep run
  • Montana State is led by Big Sky MVP and Defensive Player of the Year F Jubrile Belo who is a presence inside and complimented by senior PG Xavier Bishop who directs a methodical offense
  • Winner: Texas Tech

No. 4 Arkansas vs No. 13 Vermont (Thursday, 9:20pm, TNT)

  • HC Eric Musselman is one of the best young minds in basketball and star G J.D. Notae is the second-leading scorer in the SEC, the Razorbacks have a top 20 defense with marquee wins against Kentucky, Auburn and Tennessee, but Notae leads the team in almost every statistical category, when he shoots over 38% they are 18-2 but when he is neutralized, they struggle – he was held to 5 points against Texas A&M in the SEC tournament and the Hogs lost by 18
  • The Catamounts have won their last 22 of 23 games and have some serious offensive firepower led by two-time Conference Player of the Year, Ryan Davis, a 6’8″ big man who can score in the post and stretch the floor with the three (shooting 42.3% from beyond the arc) – UVM has only dropped 5 games this year but lost by 10 to Providence, their toughest opponent
  • Winner: Arkansas

No. 5 UConn vs No. 12 New Mexico State (Thursday, 6:50pm, TNT)

  • UConn won seven of their last nine games including a three-point loss to Villanova in the Big East Semifinal, the Huskies win from the inside, controlling the paint on both sides of the ball with elite rebounder and shot-blocker, Adama Sanogo, who earned All-Big East honors alongside G R.J. Cole
  • The Aggies have size, the smallest players in their starting five are guards Teddy Allen (6’6″) and Sir’Jabari Rice (6’4″) making them another top rebounding team, not to mention, Allen and Rice average a combined 31.5 points a game and are two of four players on the team who have eclipsed 1,000 career points – in addition to their experience, they haven’t lost a game by more than four points since mid-January
  • Winner: New Mexico State

No. 6 Alabama vs Rutgers/Notre Dame (Friday, 4:15pm, TNT)

  • The Tide is inconsistent with wins over Gonzaga, Baylor, Tennessee and Arkansas but are the only SEC team to lose to UGA and dropped games versus bad Missouri and Vanderbilt squads, largely in part to their dependency on the three-ball, they take a lot of them but are shooting under 30% – if they get hot, they can make some noise, if not, they’ll be going home early
  • Notre Dame finished second in regular-season ACC play and led the league in three-point shooting going just under 40% which included five players taking at least three threes a game and four of them shooting over 34% – after a big first-round OT win against Rutgers, the Irish seem hot
  • Winner: Notre Dame

No. 7 Michigan State vs No. 10 Davidson (Friday, 9:40pm, CBS)

  • The Spartans are another inconsistent team but seem to be picking up steam after an unlikely B1G semifinal tournament appearance where they only lost to Purdue by five after beating Wisconsin, they have nobody who jumps off the page and like Bama, they live and die by the three – when they shoot over 35%, they’re 17-4, when they don’t, they’re 5-8
  • It’s a revenge game for G Foster Loyer, a Michigan State transfer who has lit it up for Davidson and is the best free-throw shooter in the country (93.2%) and third-best three-point shooter in the nation (45%) while averaging 16.4 PPG, but Atlantic 10 Player of the Year big-man Luka Brajkovic is their best player and is very skilled – Davidson’s versatility will be a handful for opponents
  • Winner: Davidson

No. 8 Boise State vs No. 9 Memphis (Thursday, 1:45pm, TNT)

  • Boise State is a big team that sets the tone underneath the basket, second-leading scorer Marcus Shaver Jr. is the only rotational player shorter than 6’5″ and Oregon transfer Abu Kigab is dominant inside, averaging a double-double for a third consecutive season
  • Memphis finished the season going 10-1 and have multiple scorers with four different players averaging double-digits in points including talented 6’10” C Jalen Duren who uses his 7’5″ wingspan and athleticism to wreak havoc around the rim – HC Penny Hardaway’s team was up and down but could be getting hot at the right time
  • Winner: Memphis