BOSTON (CBS) – Michael Whitmer of the Boston Globe called in to give his tournament sleepers, which top seeds are in danger of the upset, and the teams built for the Final Four.
Florida, Wichita State, Arizona and Virginia are the number one seeds as all the action begins this Thursday with three local teams (UMass, Harvard and Providence) representing.
Experts are calling the Midwest Region the toughest they’ve seen in years with three teams in last year’s Final Four. The top four seeds in that region include Wichita State, Michigan, Duke and Louisville.
“That region is loaded and you didn’t even mention Kentucky,” said Michael Whitmer Monday morning on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich show.
Whitmer points out that Wichita State (the only team in men’s college basketball to go undefeated this year) is shaping up to face the preseason #1 ranked team in Kentucky in the second round. If they advance, they’ll then face Rick Pitino and the defending national champion Louisville Cardinals in the Sweet 16 – not exactly a fair shake for the Shockers.
“That region is loaded. I’ll say that it’s Louisville that probably gets out of that region. They’ve been playing really well and have just been pounding teams. They haven’t been pounding great teams, because I wouldn’t say that their conference has been all that great this year,” said Whitmer.
As for the local teams, Whitmer really likes the way UMass battled through a tough non-conference schedule. They have proven to be battle tested and have definitely earned their sixth seed.
“UMass played teams like New Mexico and beat ’em. They played Nebraska and beat ’em. They played Providence and beat ’em. They played BYU and beat them – all four of those teams are in the tournament,” said Whitmer.
Harvard, a number 12 seed, squares off against Cincinnati this Thursday. Whitmer likes the Crimson’s chances.
“I think they’re offensively balanced. They’re gonna have to play well defensively. Cincinnati is pretty much a one man show on offense in Sean Kilpatrick. There’s not many options the Bearcats can turn to. I think Harvard has five starters that average double figures in points. This is a game that’s certainly winnable for Harvard.”
Listen below for the full discussion: