March Madness: West Region Cheat Sheet

West Region

Thank the heavens – March Madness is back in our lives once again. Let’s break down the West Region.

What This Is: A resource. There are endless ways to study this bracket – and I urge you to read up on team summaries, see recent performance, and study who it is that leads these teams.

In general, I tend to gravitate to a few different factors. Teams with a senior-laden roster, teams that have won their conference tournament, teams that shoot the three exceptionally well, or if there is some other type of dynamic talent on the floor, be it a big man or NBA lottery pick.

The below is a compilation of each first round matchup for the West Region and how teams stack up in the metrics that matter most to me. As always, a special shoutout to TeamRankings.com. 

I’m taking a look at how these offenses and defenses rank nationally, and how reputable sites like KenPom and FiveThirtyEight grade out the squads.

This is heavily focused on analytics and statistics – I’ll be avoiding breaking down the lineups, I’m just trying to get a baseline view of these teams.

At the bottom, I’ll give you my picks for the region. I won’t pretend I’m an expert, I’m just looking at the numbers. Let’s begin.

West Region: Rankings

There are at least 3 good reasons Gonzaga will be undefeated on Selection  Sunday 2021 | NCAA.com

 

#1 Gonzaga

26-0

#16 TBD

TBD

Offense

eFG% Rank: 1

Offensive Efficiency Rank: 1

3P% Rank: 58

Defense

Opp. EFG% Rank: 56

Defensive Efficiency: 15

Opp. 3P%: 102

Overall

KenPom Ranking: 1

FiveThirtyEight% S16: 89%

Offense

eFG% Rank:

Offensive Efficiency Rank:

3P% Rank:

Defense

Opp. EFG% Rank:

Defensive Efficiency:

Opp. 3P%: 

Overall

KenPom Ranking:

FiveThirtyEight% S16:

 

#8 Oklahoma

15-10

#9 Missouri

16-9

Offense

eFG% Rank: 129

Offensive Efficiency Rank: 68

3P% Rank: 161

Defense

Opp. EFG% Rank: 123

Defensive Efficiency: 101

Opp. 3P%: 256

Overall

KenPom Ranking: 39

FiveThirtyEight% S16: 7%

Offense

eFG% Rank: 124

Offensive Efficiency Rank: 128

3P% Rank: 253

Defense

Opp. EFG% Rank: 105

Defensive Efficiency: 156

Opp. 3P%: 120

Overall

KenPom Ranking: 51

FiveThirtyEight% S16: 4%

 

#5 Creighton

20-8

#12 UCSB

22-4

Offense

eFG% Rank: 14

Offensive Efficiency Rank: 32

3P% Rank: 49

Defense

Opp. EFG% Rank: 42

Defensive Efficiency: 72

Opp. 3P%: 83

Overall

KenPom Ranking: 19

FiveThirtyEight% S16: 41%

Offense

eFG% Rank: 56

Offensive Efficiency Rank: 31

3P% Rank: 115

Defense

Opp. EFG% Rank: 68

Defensive Efficiency: 31

Opp. 3P%: 148

Overall

KenPom Ranking: 69

FiveThirtyEight% S16: 4%

 

#4 Virginia

18-6

#13 Ohio

16-7

Offense

eFG% Rank: 11

Offensive Efficiency Rank: 16

3P% Rank: 16

Defense

Opp. EFG% Rank: 76

Defensive Efficiency: 104

Opp. 3P%: 183

Overall

KenPom Ranking: 11

FiveThirtyEight% S16: 51%

Offense

eFG% Rank: 13

Offensive Efficiency Rank: 15

3P% Rank: 56

Defense

Opp. EFG% Rank: 215

Defensive Efficiency: 207

Opp. 3P%: 162

Overall

KenPom Ranking: 78

FiveThirtyEight% S16: 3%

 

#6 USC

22-7

#11 TBD

TBD

Offense

eFG% Rank: 78

Offensive Efficiency Rank: 47

3P% Rank: 117

Defense

Opp. EFG% Rank: 11

Defensive Efficiency: 33

Opp. 3P%: 196

Overall

KenPom Ranking: 14

FiveThirtyEight% S16: 36%

Offense

eFG% Rank:

Offensive Efficiency Rank:

3P% Rank:

Defense

Opp. EFG% Rank:

Defensive Efficiency:

Opp. 3P%: 

Overall

KenPom Ranking:

FiveThirtyEight% S16:

 

#3 Kansas

20-8

#14 E. Wash.

16-7

Offense

eFG% Rank: 186

Offensive Efficiency Rank: 108

3P% Rank: 173

Defense

Opp. EFG% Rank: 45

Defensive Efficiency: 45

Opp. 3P%: 103

Overall

KenPom Ranking: 22

FiveThirtyEight% S16: 53%

Offense

eFG% Rank: 38

Offensive Efficiency Rank: 29

3P% Rank: 73

Defense

Opp. EFG% Rank: 60

Defensive Efficiency: 98

Opp. 3P%: 65

Overall

KenPom Ranking: 110

FiveThirtyEight% S16: 3%

 

#7 Oregon

20-6

#10 VCU

19-7

Offense

eFG% Rank: 31

Offensive Efficiency Rank: 27

3P% Rank: 19

Defense

Opp. EFG% Rank: 174

Defensive Efficiency: 124

Opp. 3P%: 156

Overall

KenPom Ranking: 36

FiveThirtyEight% S16: 19%

Offense

eFG% Rank: 125

Offensive Efficiency Rank: 174

3P% Rank: 211

Defense

Opp. EFG% Rank: 23

Defensive Efficiency: 14

Opp. 3P%: 30

Overall

KenPom Ranking: 45

FiveThirtyEight% S16: 9%

 

#2 Iowa

21-8

#15 Grd Canyon

17-6

Offense

eFG% Rank: 28

Offensive Efficiency Rank: 4

3P% Rank: 13

Defense

Opp. EFG% Rank: 91

Defensive Efficiency: 169

Opp. 3P%: 229

Overall

KenPom Ranking: 5

FiveThirtyEight% S16: 71%

Offense

eFG% Rank: 61

Offensive Efficiency Rank: 71

3P% Rank: 248

Defense

Opp. EFG% Rank: 6

Defensive Efficiency: 16

Opp. 3P%: 16

Overall

KenPom Ranking: 108

FiveThirtyEight% S16: 1%

 

West Region: First Round Picks

Mason Peatling, Tanner Groves help Eastern Washington bounce back, blow out  Montana State | The Spokesman-Review

#1 Gonzaga over #16 Norfolk St./App. St.

#8 Oklahoma over #9 Missouri

#5 Creighton over #12 UCSB

#13 Ohio over #4 Virginia

#6 USC over #11 Wichita St./Drake

#14 Eastern Washington over #3 Kansas

#7 Oregon over #10 VCU

#2 Iowa over #15 Grand Canyon

My favorite upset in this region is #14 Eastern Washington over #3 Kansas. That Jayhawk offense is pretty ugly on paper, and with news of multiple Covid cases testing the team’s depth – I’m riding with Eastern Washington.

It also appears that #13 Ohio stacks up nicely against Virginia. At the minimum, I’ll likely take Ohio’s spread – but I’m rolling with two upsets in this region.

Really like Creighton here as a Top-20 KenPom team with strong-shooting and an upperclassmen lineup.

KenPom also loves USC, and I’m intrigued by Evan Mobley being a presumptive top-five pick in the NBA draft next year.

Iowa's Luka Garza is college basketball's underrated star - Sports  Illustrated

Second Round

#1 Gonzaga over #8 Oklahoma

#5 Creighton over #13 Ohio

#6 USC over #14 Eastern Washington

#2 Iowa over #7 Oregon

Sweet Sixteen

#1 Gonzaga over #5 Creighton

#2 Iowa over #6 USC

Elite Eight

#2 Iowa over #1 Gonzaga

A bit chalky to the end, but I’m rolling with Iowa over Gonzaga if they were to meet up. Gonzaga’s offensive rankings above are as good as it gets, and at 26-0, they’ve been the best team all season. Maybe this is finally the year the Zags make the leap.

In my opinion, Oklahoma and Creighton are both tougher matchups than Iowa’s path, and if these teams do match up, you have to like Iowa’s 13th ranked 3P% rank going against Gonzaga’s 102nd opposition’s 3P%. It always helps to have the best player in college basketball in Luka Garza.

So, that’s my West Region – I hope you don’t blindly follow me. What I do hope is that the above metrics consolidated help bring you some familiarity with the teams playing.

For the next few regions, make sure you’re following on Twitter, @griffybets. Missed you March.

 

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