NCAA tournament preview: West Region

Previewing the NCAA tournament West region where Wisconsin is the team to beat

A look at the NCAA tournament's West Regional:


1 Wisconsin (31-3, Big Ten champion) vs.

16 Coastal Carolina (24-9, Big South champion)

Wisconsin, also the Big Ten regular-season champion, is a top-seeded team for the first time. Coastal Carolina is seeking its first NCAA tournament victory in its fourth appearance.

8 Oregon (25-9, at-large) vs.

9 Oklahoma State (18-13, at-large)

Senior guard Joseph Young averages a team-best 20.2 points for Oregon. Swingman Le’Bryan Nash averages 17.1 for Oklahoma State, which was 4-6 in its last 10 games.


5 Arkansas (26-8, at-large) vs.

12 Wofford (28-6, Southern champion)

Forward Bobby Portis leads Arkansas, making its first tournament appearance since 2008. Senior guard Karl Cochran averages 14.6 points for Wofford, which is 0-3 in the NCAA tournament.

4 North Carolina (24-11, at-large) vs.

13 Harvard (22-7, Ivy League champion)

Guard Marcus Paige is one of four North Carolina players averaging more than 10 points a game. Harvard Coach Tommy Amaker has Crimson in tournament for fourth year in a row.


6 Xavier (21-13, at-large) vs.

11 Play-in winner (see matchup below)

Matt Stainbrook averages 12.0 points and 6.8 rebounds and Trevon Bluiett averages 11.7 points for Xavier, which lost to Villanova in the Big East tournament championship game.

3 Baylor (24-9, at-large) vs.

14 Georgia State (24-9, Sun Belt champion)

Baylor forward Rico Gathers averages 11.7 points and 11.6 rebounds. Georgia State’s Ryan Harrow, a transfer from Kentucky who averages 18.7 points, sat out the Sun Belt tournament title game because of a strained hamstring.


7 Virginia Commonwealth (26-9, Atlantic 10 champion)

vs. 10 Ohio State (23-10, at-large)

Treveon Graham averages 16.3 points and seven rebounds for VCU. Ohio State won its only title in 1960 and last advanced to the Final Four in 2012.

2 Arizona (31-3, Pac-12 champion) vs.

15 Texas Southern (22-12, Southwestern Athletic champion)

Arizona has won its last 11 games and has not lost since Feb. 7. Senior guard Madarious Gibbs averages 14.1 points for Texas Southern, which is 0-5 in the NCAA tournament.


Brigham Young (25-9, at-large) vs.

Mississippi (20-12, at-large)

Tyler Haws averages 21.9 points for BYU, making its first appearance since 2012. Stefan Moody averages 16.3 for Mississippi, which is back in the tournament after a one-year absence.

Sorting the seeds

1) Wisconsin: The Badgers lost to Kentucky in a national semifinal last season and Coach Bo Ryan has them positioned to make consecutive Final Four appearances for the first time.

2) Arizona: The Wildcats are seeking for their first national title since 1997. They are set up for a rematch of last season’s West region final against Wisconsin.

3) Baylor: The Bears are one of seven Big 12 Conference teams to make the tournament.

4) North Carolina: The Tar Heels, seeking their first NCAA title and Final Four appearance since 2009, must bounce back from their Atlantic Coast Conference championship game loss against Notre Dame.

Cinderella search

Texas Southern, Coastal Carolina and Harvard are good stories, but it’s tough not to root for a Georgia State team led by a coach who was injured on the court celebrating a victory.

Top players

Frank Kaminsky, forward, Wisconsin

The 7-foot, 242-pound senior, a candidate for national player of the year, averages 18.2 points, 8.1 rebounds and 1.6 blocked-shots.

Stanley Johnson, forward, Arizona

The former Santa Ana Mater Dei High standout made an immediate impact as a freshman, averaging a team-best 14.1 points and 6.6 rebounds.

Wesley Saunders, guard, Harvard

The senior guard, who played at Los Angeles Windward High, averages a team-best 16.3 points and scored 22 in an Ivy League playoff victory over Yale.

Rim shots

Georgia State Coach Ron Hunter suffered a leg injury — he feared a torn Achilles — while celebrating his team’s 38-36 victory over Georgia Southern in the Sun Belt Conference championship game. Senior center Curtis Washington, a transfer from USC, averages 5.1 points and 4.2 rebounds.

Frontcourt player Zena Edosomwan, who played at Studio City Harvard-Westlake High, and center Kenyatta Smith, who played at La Canada Flintridge Prep, both average four points for Harvard.

If Arizona plays Ohio State, it will be a chance for Wildcats Coach Sean Miller to finally defeat Thad Matta, who he served as an assistant under at Xavier. Matta is 2-0 against Miller.

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