NCAA Bracket Predictions 2017: March Madness Picks for Midwest Region

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Kansas is the top seed in the Midwest Region. (Getty)

The Midwest Region features Kansas, Louisville and Oregon as the top three seeds. It is a region open to chaos if some of the dominoes begin to fall in the first two rounds.

Kansas is led by Josh Jackson who is projected to be a top pick in this summer’s NBA Draft and veteran point guard Frank Mason III. Some potential sleepers to watch out for are Michigan State, Michigan and Rhode Island who are all poised for upsets if they can play their best basketball during the tournament.

This is the first of four articles as Heavy breaks down each NCAA Tournament region. Below you will find every pick mapped out for the Midwest region including a Final Four pick. Teams in bold are the pick for each game.

Here is how we see the region shaking out.


First Round

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Louisville should be able to handle Jacksonville State in the First Round. (Getty)

1 Kansas
16 NC-Central/UC Davis
Pick: A 16 seed has never defeated a top seed. You have likely heard it before, but it is still true. Go ahead and advance Kansas to the next round.

8 Miami
9 Michigan State
Pick: These appear to be two evenly matched teams. While the Spartans have not been the most consistent team, Michigan State has plenty of young talent including Miles Bridges. Over the years, smart money has been on Tom Izzo. Look for the Spartans to get it done against the Hurricanes.

5 Iowa State
12 Nevada
Pick: Iowa State is peaking at the right time. The Cyclones are coming off a Big 12 Tournament championship. There will be a temptation to pick Nevada given they are a 12 team, a seed that consistently upsets five seeds. Go with the experienced Iowa State squad.

4 Purdue
13 Vermont
Pick: Vermont is one of the hottest teams in the country. There is reason to think they can keep this close, but Purdue will be too much for Vermont to pull off the victory. Purdue is ranked 15th in the KenPom rankings while Vermont is all the way down at 63rd.

6 Creighton
11 Rhode Island
Pick: This is where the region starts to get interesting. Rhode Island was on the bubble heading into the A10 Tournament but left no doubt by getting an auto-bid with their conference championship. Creighton has not played well down the stretch. Rhode Island is my double-digit seed to watch in the Midwest region.

3 Oregon
14 Iona
Pick: The Ducks have a tough break with Chris Boucher out for the rest of the season. The injury is unlikely to impact Oregon in this matchup, but it could hurt them in later rounds. Iona is ranked all the way down at 118th in the KenPom rankings while Oregon is ranked 16th.

7 Michigan
10 Oklahoma State
Pick: Michigan galvanized around adversity during the Big Ten tournament to win the championship. Despite winning the conference title, the Wolverines are a bit under-seeded at seven. They are ranked 21st in the KenPom rankings and pose a difficult matchup for Oklahoma State. Michigan has a good chance to make the Sweet 16.

2 Louisville
15 Jacksonville State
Pick: Louisville comes into the tournament tested in the most challenging league in the country. Jacksonville State sits all the way down at 158th in KenPom and has little chance to pull off the upset in this one.


Round of 32

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Rhode Island is a sleeper to make a Sweet 16 run. (Getty)

1 Kansas
9 Michigan State
Pick: Kansas will need to bring their A-game to advance to the Sweet 16. Izzo will have his team ready, but Kansas has too much talent for the Spartans to overcome. Freshman phenom Josh Jackson along with senior guard Frank Mason make the Jayhawks a scary team.

4 Purdue
5 Iowa State
Pick: This is one of the more difficult matchups to pick. Expect Purdue’s size to give Iowa State problems. Look for Purdue to get after it on the boards and take advantage of Iowa State’s lack of rebounding on their way to the Sweet 16.

3 Oregon
11 Rhode Island
Pick: Rhode Island is peaking at the right time. According to ESPN, the squad is 2-1 against top 25 teams. Look for Rhode Island to stun a short-handed Oregon team. According to ESPN, three seeds are just 7-6 against 11 seeds since 2010. Rhode Island’s defense and athleticism gets them into the Sweet 16.

2 Louisville
7 Michigan
Pick: A traumatic week for Michigan may have been the best thing to happen to them. Their plane skidded off the run way forcing the team to consider forfeiting their opening game in the Big Ten tournament. They played the game in their practice uniforms as their real jerseys were missing. All that seems to have formed a bond that allowed them to play their best basketball of the season to win the Big Ten tournament. Louisville comes in tested with their ACC schedule but will come up short against a red-hot Michigan team.


Sweet 16

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Michigan has a chance to make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament. (Getty)

1 Kansas
4 Purdue
Pick: Purdue’s bigs have the potential to give Kansas fits. Expect a close contest, but Kansas’ talent should allow them to advance in a close matchup. The Jayhawks have plenty of experience winning close games.

11 Rhode Island
7 Michigan
Pick: The dream run continues for one of these two teams. Michigan comes in more tested than Rhode Island and the Wolverines experience allows them to advance for a matchup against Kansas for the right to make the Final Four.


Elite Eight

Kansas is my pick to make it to the Final Four out of the Midwest. (Getty)

1 Kansas
7 Michigan
Pick: This is where Michigan’s historic run ends but not before giving Kansas a run for their money. The Jayhawks appear to have the easiest path to the Final Four of any of the one seeds. While Kansas is not immune to an upset, they are in a favorable region that will help them advance.

Heavy’s Pick: Kansas advances to the Final Four out of the Midwest Region.

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