This article is part of our NCAA Tournament Preview series.
WEST REGION PREVIEW
One word formed my first impression of the West Region upon its announcement: defense. My eyes slid past Gonzaga, which I assumed would be the one-seed in the region, and noted Michigan and Texas Tech. If St. Mary's was able to slow down the Zags and execute each play meticulously to win the WCC tournament championship, then the Wolverines and/or Red Raiders are going to be a problem for coach Mark Few's team. My glance also landed on the 5-12 matchup between Markus Howard of Marquette and Ja Morant of Murray State. That will be appointment viewing in the first round.
No. 1 Gonzaga – The Zags had an historic run through the WCC in the regular season. They beat their conference foes by an average margin of 27.0 points on their way to an undefeated WCC campaign. And did I mention they beat Duke, which had its entire roster at its disposal? Their loss to the Gaels in the WCC final was one of the most shocking results of the season. Particularly, because the Bulldogs were held to 47 points. That game may be a blueprint to knock out the Zags, but it will need to be coupled with a terrible perimeter game from the Bulldog guards (2-of-17 in that final).
No. 2 Michigan – After beating Michigan State three times last season, the Spartans got their revenge. They were the only team to beat Michigan