March Madness 2017 Predictions: Midwest Region

- Posted: Wednesday, March 15th

Bracket Predictions: East Region - South Region - Midwest Region - West Region - Final Four

Below you will find our predictions for the Midwest region of the 2017 NCAA Tournament:

Round of 64 picks

(1) Kansas over (16) UC Davis

UC Davis beat North Carolina Central and the reward is a matchup against the Jayhawks. As we all know, a No. 16 seed has never beaten a No. 1 seed and this won't be the first.

(9) Michigan State over (8) Miami-FL

Miami is a small favorite and this game could certainly go either way, but it's hard for me to go against Tom Izzo in March (even after their first-round loss as a No. 2 seed last year).

(5) Iowa State over (12) Nevada

Both teams enter the tournament on a roll -- Iowa State won the Big 12 tournament and Nevada has won nine straight. One of the most efficient three-point shooting teams in the country led by senior guard Monte Morris, I have the Cyclones moving onto the second round.

(4) Purdue over (13) Vermont

Entering the tournament with the longest winning streak (21 games) in D-1 basketball, the Catamounts slow it down with a patient and efficient offense. That said, Purdue is led by Caleb Swanigan, who averaged 18.5 points and 12.6 rebounds per game and had 26 double-doubles so far this season. Swanigan and the Boilermakers advance to the second round.

(11) Rhode Island over (6) Creighton

Even though Creighton is a (much) higher seed, Vegas has this game as a pick'em. Before the Maurice Watson ACL injury, Creighton was 18-1. Since then, however, they have lost more games (eight) than they have won (seven). On the other hand, Rhode Island has won eight consecutive games entering the tournament. They extend their streak to nine here.

(3) Oregon over (14) Iona

The Ducks lost Chris Boucher to a torn ACL, a devastating blow to their hopes of making a deep run in the tourney, but they should advance easily in Round 1.

(7) Michigan over (10) Oklahoma State

Getting to the conference tournament was certainly eventful for the Wolverines, but the adversity didn't stop Michigan from cutting down the nets in DC despite also being the No. 8 seed in the tournament. This game should be one of the most exciting of the first round as it's one of only two games with a combined over/under of 150-plus and a spread of less than 15.0 points. I like Michigan to move on in a close game.

(2) Louisville over (15) Jacksonville State

The good news is that this will be the Gamecocks first tournament appearance in school history. The bad news is that they are likely to lose big to a much more talented Louisville squad.

Round of 32 picks

(1) Kansas over (9) Michigan State

Izzo or not, the Spartans won't be able to slow down the Jayhawks. Not only do the Jayhawks have an immensely talented freshman in Josh Jackson, expected to be a high-lottery pick in a few months, but senior point guard Frank Mason III (20.8 PPG, 5.1 APG and 4.1 RPG) provides experience and talented guard play.

(5) Iowa State over (4) Purdue

It wouldn't surprise me if Eric Musselman's Nevada squad upsets Iowa State and Purdue's Caleb Swanigan has been a double-double machine, but I have the Cyclones moving on to face Kansas in the Sweet 16.

(3) Oregon over (11) Rhode Island

Averaging 16.4 points on the year, Dillon Brooks shot 51.3 percent from the field and 41.4 percent from three-point range and has scored 22-plus in three of his four games entering the tournament. Oregon will rely even more on Brooks with Boucher sidelined, but I have them advancing to the Sweet 16.

(2) Louisville over (7) Michigan

Sophomore guard Donovan Mitchell was a first-team All-ACC selection and averaged 15.7 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game as he improved his three-point shooting to 36.3 percent (from 25.0 percent as a freshman). Mitchell has had a couple of cold-shooting games this month in losses to Wake Forest and Duke with a combined 2-of-15 from three-point range, but I like Mitchell and the Cardinals to advance.

Sweet Sixteen

(1) Kansas over (5) Iowa State

These two conference foes split their regular-season matchups, both of which were decided by four or fewer points, and the road team actually won each game. Meanwhile, Kansas won the regular-season conference title, their 13th straight actually, and Iowa State won the conference tournament. This game could go either way, but I have the Jayhawks winning the rubber match.

(2) Louisville over (3) Oregon

Ranked seventh nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency, the Cardinals have good length to defend the perimeter and are one of the better rebounding teams in the country. They average 13.31 offensive rebounds per game, fifth-most among tournament teams, and as noted earlier, the Ducks have lost Chris Boucher for the season. I like Louisville to advance.

Elite Eight

(1) Kansas over (2) Louisville

This is essentially a home game for the Jayhawks, as the regional semifinals and final will be played in Kansas City. Frank Mason III is one of five players to average at least 20/4/4 per game and the only one in the tournament. Kansas has disappointed often in the tournament, but I have them moving on to the Final Four.

> Other brackets: East Region - West Region - South Region

> 2017 March Madness Final Four Predictions

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