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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, March 18, 2010

NCAA hoops: Midwest Region analysis: Bottom half of bracket is rugged


By Blair Kerkhoff
McClatchy Newspapers

Want the formula to beat Kansas, the overall top seed? The last three teams to do it are in this bracket.

Fifth-seeded Michigan State knocked the Jayhawks out of last yearís tournament, and Kansasí two losses this year were to No. 6 Tennessee and No. 7 Oklahoma State.
The bracketís bottom half is rugged.
Second-seeded Ohio State, the Big Ten co-champion, is coming off a dominant triumph over Minnesota in Sundayís conference championship game.
Buckeyes star Evan Turner, a favorite for national player-of-the-year honors, went for 31 points and 11 rebounds against the Golden Gophers.
Third-seeded Georgetown reached the Big East final before falling to West Virginia. The Hoyas have run the gamut this seasonógood enough to beat Duke, bad enough to lose at Rutgers. Center Greg Monroe and guard Chris Wright were superb throughout the league tournament.
In the bracketís top half, Kansas makes a short trip to Oklahoma City to open against Lehigh, and the Jayhawks want to forget the last time they played the Patriot League champion in that city. It happened in 2005 when the Jayhawks lost its first game to Bucknell.
Assuming Kansas doesnít become the first top seed to lose a first-round game, a dangerous 8-9 opponent awaits.
Eighth-seeded UNLV fell in the final of the Mountain West tournament, and ninth-seeded Northern Iowa of the Missouri Valley, like Kansas, rolled through its regular season and conference tournament.
The bracket also includes a couple of bracket-busters: No. 12 New Mexico State, surprise winner of the Western Athletic Conference, and No. 13 Houston, which upset Texas-El Paso to claim Conference USAís automatic bid.
The Spartans, who reached last yearís championship game, tied Ohio State and Purdue for the Big Ten championship, and fourth-seeded Maryland finished in a first-place tie with Duke in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
BEST MATCHUP
OSU vs. OSU
Weíre looking ahead to a potential second-round meeting between a pair of OSUs with special players: Ohio Stateís Evan Turner and Oklahoma Stateís James Anderson. Both are outstanding scorers and offensive focal points.
UPSET SPECIAL
San Diego State over Tennessee
The Aztecs knocked off New Mexico and UNLV in winning the Mountain West and have an RPI similar to the Volunteers, who are coming off a 29-point drubbing by Kentucky.

PLAYER TO WATCH

Greg Monroe, Georgetown
Itís the regional of Turner and Anderson, but when heís on, Monroe is the nationís top center.