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2016 NCAA Tournament: Breaking down the West Region

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Taking a deeper look at the biggest threats that Oregon faces in the West Region.

Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

The West Regional for the 2016 NCAA Tournament has shaped up as follows.

Oregon certainly received a favorable geographical route as they will play the potential first two games in Spokane, Washington and have the chance to follow that up with a regional in Anaheim.

The first round game will take place against the winner of the play-in game between Southern and Holy Cross. The two teams were slotted into the play-in game after not winning their conference regular season play but winning their conference tournament.

First Round:

Southern

Holy Cross

Overall record

22-12

14-19

Conference record

11-7, SWAC

5-12, Patriot League

Leading scorer

Adrian Rodgers 16.6 PPG

Malachai Alexander 12.0 PPG

Points per game

73

65

Key win(s)

Mississippi State

Lehigh

Both of the teams are relatively low scoring squads without many key wins to their resume. One would expect that Southern pulls out the play-in game to face the Ducks but the way that Holy Cross is streaking after the conference tournament it might not be a foregone conclusion.

Second Round:

A potential second round matchup for the Ducks would be up against the winner of the Saint Joseph’s and Cincinnati matchup. The matchup should be a good one as the Bearcats are coming off of the heartbreaking quadruple overtime loss to UCONN and the Hawks are coming off of winning the A-10 tournament crown. Both teams are led through balanced scoring, but Saint Joseph’s big man Isaiah Miles is perhaps the best of the bunch between the squads. Miles averaged 18.2 points per game this season to go along with eight rebounds per game.

Saint Joseph’s

Cincinnati

Overall record

27-7

22-10

Conference record

13-5, A 10

12-6, AAC

Leading scorer

Isaiah Miles 18.2 PPG

Troy Caupain 12.6 PPG

Points per game

77

73

Key Win(s)

Temple, Dayton

SMU

Kenpom ranking

37

31

Contenders:

Once you move past the second round, it’s anyone’s guess as to who the next opponent may be. Now I take a look at some of the key stats for the other contenders for the West regional crown alongside the Oregon Ducks.

Of course the most dangerous contender the Ducks might have to face are the number #2 seeded Oklahoma Sooners. Led by the offensive machine that is Buddy Hield, the Sooners are a matchup nightmare for many teams.

#2 seed Oklahoma Sooners

Overall record

25-7

Conference record

12-6, Big-12

Leading scorer

Buddy Hield, 25 PPG

Points per game

80

Key win(s)

Villanova, Iowa State, West Virginia, Baylor

Kenpom rankings

7

Other contenders:

After grabbing a split of the SEC regular season title, the Aggies a chic pick for many to advance to the Elite Eight and even the Final Four. However, there are those on the other side who are quick to point out the weakness of the SEC this year to discount the Aggies as a contender.

#3 seed Texas A&M Aggies

Overall record

26-8

Conference record

13-5, SEC

Leading scorer

Jalen Jones, 15.6 PPG

Points per game

76

Key win(s)

Texas, Gonzaga, Baylor, Iowa State, Kentucky

Kenpom rankings

17

The defending National Champions are slotted into the West regional and face a potential matchup with the Ducks in the Sweet Sixteen. This Blue Devils team is led by guard Grayson Allen who averages over 20 points per game to lead Duke.

#4 seed Duke Blue Devils

Overall record

23-10

Conference record

11-7, ACC

Leading scorer

Grayson Allen, 21.6 PPG

Points per game

81

Key win(s)

Louisville, Virginia, North Carolina

Kenpom rankings

22

The familiar foe of the Baylor Bears were also slotted into the West Regional. Of course earlier this year Oregon knocked off Baylor 74-67 in Eugene.

#5 seed Baylor Bears

Overall record

22-11

Conference record

10-8, Big-12

Leading scorer

Taurean Prince 15.5 PPG

Points per game

77

Key win(s)

Vanderbilt, Iowa State, Texas

Kenpom rankings

24

West Region Cinderella’s

Of course it wouldn’t be March Madness without a few Cinderella’s. I picked out two teams that caught my eye for having the potential to surprise a few in the West.

#10 seed VCU Rams

Overall record

24-10

Conference record

14-4, A 10

Leading scorer

Melvin Johnson, 17.8 PPG

Points per game

77

Key win(s)

Saint Joseph’s, Davidson

Kenpom rankings

35

#12 seed Yale Bulldogs

Overall record

22-6

Conference record

13-1, Ivy League

Leading scorer

Makai Mason, 15.8 PPG

Points per game

75

Key win(s)

Lehigh

Kenpom rankings

38

Overall I think Ducks fans have quite a bit to be happy for with the bracket announcement.

· The closest locations to home with games in Spokane to open the tournament and a potential regional in Anaheim.

· A first round matchup involving teams who have to play an extra game earlier in the week.

· A potential matchup in the region against a Baylor team the Ducks already beat.

· Having the potential to avoid the offensive powerhouse Buddy Hield until the Elite Eight

All things considered, this is how I see the West region shaping up (winners in bold).

Sweet Sixteen:

1 Oregon vs 5 Baylor

2 Oklahoma vs 3 Texas A&M

Elite Eight:

1 Oregon over 2 Oklahoma in one of the games of the 2016 NCAA tournament.

What are your thoughts?