Here’s The Game Day’s March Madness West Region Preview, picks and predictions for the 2021 NCAA Tournament, breaking down the region with Gonzaga, Iowa, Kansas, and Virginia as the top four seeds. Daniel Preciado offers his advice for Upset Specials, Cinderella Sleepers, and 2021 March Madness West picks.
After you read our reveals for March Madness West predictions, check out our complete 2021 March Madness Preview Guide.
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March Madness West Region Preview
March Madness West Region Schedule
- Round 1: Friday, March 19-Saturday, March 20
- Round 2: Sunday, March 21-Monday, March 22
- Sweet 16: Saturday, March 27-Sunday, March 28
- Elite 8: Monday, March 29-Tuesday, March 30
March Madness South Region Teams
- Drake/Wichita State**
- UC Santa Barbara
- Eastern Washington
- Grand Canyon
- Norfolk State/Appalachian State**
** - part of play-in game First Four on March 18
March Madness West Region: Top 4 Seeds Breakdown
Gonzaga is inarguably the best team in college basketball. Yes, I said inarguably. According to KenPom rating, Gonzaga is just that — the crème de la crème. With two possible lottery picks in top-five Jalen Suggs and sharpshooter Corey Kispert, Gonzaga is the envy of college basketball. They have a very real shot to win the entire tournament and we might be witnessing them cutting down the nets in a matter of weeks.
Luka Garza. Iowa has been held together by one man for this season despite all the complementary pieces surrounding Garza. Iowa has as good of a shot of taking down Gonzaga as anybody in this tournament, but all of it needs to click at the right time. They got off to a hot start, but cooled off a tad. Instead of beating teams by 30, they began to beat teams by single digits. I’m being totally sarcastic. However, in this tournament, you need to play your best ball. If you don’t bring your best against a team like Gonzaga, you’re already down for the count.
Kansas is seemingly in the tournament every season as a top seed and most years they wind up disappointing. However, nobody would be surprised this year to watch them falter. That quite possibly could be their key to success — lack of expectation. They are the third-best team in this region, as their seeding implies, but I see them in a tier below both Gonzaga and Iowa.
Virginia is a bit of a wild-card team. They are a well-oiled machine that plays a very frustrating brand of basketball. They pride themselves on decisiveness on offense and lockdown defense. Many teams in this tournament play quick brands of basketball that feature offensive-minded schema. Virginia bucks that trend and their ability to simply provide a change of pace could get them further in this tournament than expected.
March Madness West Region: Upset Special
(6) USC over (3) Kansas (Round of 32)
As I mentioned earlier with the Jayhawks, they tend to disappoint. However, I don’t think them losing to USC would be all that big of a disappointment — I strongly feel USC is just outright the better team. Evan Mobley is an absolute stud, and Kansas simply does not have a sufficient answer for him defensively.
March Madness South Region: Cinderella Sleepers
Anytime you have the consensus second overall NBA Draft pick, Evan Mobley, on your squad, you will be primed to shatter the dreams of lots of top-tier teams. USC was supposed to be a tad better than they wound up being in the regular season, but they are the type of team that plays better in a single-elimination format.
(15) Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon went from being one of the worst teams in D-1 basketball to a solid one in the matter of a single year. Mid-major schools never get their due credit, and while GCU isn’t necessarily a highly likely upset candidate, the Antelopes could surprise if they somehow can find their way past Iowa.
March Madness South Region: Prediction
Winner: Gonzaga over Iowa
What a tough time to be Iowa. There is a very real argument for Iowa being the second-best team in all of college basketball, and on the way to a Final Four berth, the Hawkeyes might have to run into … the best team. If Iowa were on the opposite end of the bracket, I would probably be picking a Gonzaga-Iowa final all day long, but that simply is not the case.
Gonzaga is said by many to be a fraudulent team, but I don’t see it that way at all. Gonzaga should be punching its ticket to the Final Four with a win over Iowa in a matter of weeks.
March Madness South Picks & Futures Bets
All betting odds for March Madness South picks are courtesy of BetMGM as of March 14 of 8:30 p.m. ET. Use BetMGM’s welcome offer — a risk-free bet of up to $600 — to place this and more 2021 March Madness futures bets for the NCAA Tournament.
Iowa to win West Region (+400)
Gonzaga (-250) is currently placed as a heavy favorite to take the region, but Iowa at +400 is a bit wild. Gonzaga and Iowa have very similar odds of taking the entire region in my eyes, and Iowa laying 4-to-1 is a massive value.
Iowa to win the 2021 NCAA Tournament (+1600)
A similar line of thinking goes into this one. All it really takes for Iowa to make the Final Four is Gonzaga getting knocked off. Iowa is simply the next best thing. Getting 16-to-1 is another absurd value.
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