Who Will Win the West Region at March Madness 2021?
From VCU pulling out to Iowa and Kansas getting run out of the gym, we’ve seen a bit of everything in the West Region. The one thing we haven’t seen is very many close games.
Just one contest has been decided by three or fewer points; 7 of the 11 matchups resulted in blowouts of 12 or more.
Will the trend of lopsided final scores continue or will things start tightening up?
As the road to the Final Four marches on, let’s dive into a West Region prediction.
Gonzaga Bulldogs (-300)
- 1st Round: Defeated #16 Norfolk State, 98-55
- 2nd Round: Defeated #9 Oklahoma, 87-71
It’s nearly impossible to hold Mark Few’s group down for an entire 40 minutes. Armed with three guys who were honored as either the First- or Second-Team All-Americans, this Bulldogs squad has as much firepower as any during Few’s 22-year tenure in Spokane.
Drew Timme has been in the headlines after his standout performance in the second round (30/13/4), making some forget that Corey Kispert is 10/17 from beyond the arc thus far.
The Zags have received significant contributions from role players like Joel Ayayi and Anton Watson on their way to coasting past their first two opponents.
In terms of betting on the West region at this point in the proceedings, there’s plenty of value to be had at this price.
Some of the best March Madness betting sites installed Gonzaga’s West Region odds at -400 before the tournament began. The Bulldogs won’t have to contend with the #2, 3, or 4 seed the rest of the way, and yet MyBookie is letting us in at -300.
Sounds like a bargain to me.
Creighton Blue Jays (+1400)
- 1st Round: Defeated #12 UCSB, 63-62
- 2nd Round: Defeated #13 Ohio, 72-58
Dean McDermott and his crew deserved to celebrate their win over Ohio. It’s the first time this program has reached the Sweet 16 – ever.
Unfortunately, there’s not much time to rest on any laurels thanks to a date with Gonzaga looming on Sunday.
The Blue Jays were fortunate to escape against the Gauchos in the first round and appear to be severely overmatched versus the Bulldogs. Having said that, a complete performance against the Bobcats the last time out gives the Jays a little bit of mojo heading in.
Creighton held an Ohio team averaging nearly 80 ppg to just 58. They limited the Bobcats to 31.8% shooting, they forced 14 turnovers, and they never let Jason Preston gain any momentum.
On the other side of the ball, all five starters scored in double-figures and Marcus Zegarowski continued his stellar shooting from outside.
One of the players who shined during the first week of March Madness, Zegarowski is as dependable of a three-point shooter as anyone in this region outside of Corey Kispert.
|Marcus Zegarowski – 3-Point Shooting at Creighton|
Seniors Damien Jefferson and Denzel Mahoney will need to be at their best if Creighton is going to give Gonzaga a run for their money.
Oregon Ducks (+650)
- 1st Round: VCU Forced to Forfeit
- 2nd Round: Defeated #2 Iowa, 95-80
So much for Iowa being the biggest threat to Gonzaga in the West Region. Luka Garza was 14/20 from the floor and scored 36 points, and yet the Hawkeyes still got trounced by the Ducks. Not only was Oregon more prepared, they were faster and hungrier, too.
AP Pac-12 Player of the Year Chris Duarte is a serious force to be reckoned with and is on the radar to win the MOP.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: If you took Chris Duarte off Oregon and put him on Villanova or Duke, he’d be regularly talked about as one of the best players in the sport.March 22, 2021
Duarte dropped 23 points on 9/12 shooting in the Ducks 95-80 victory – one of four Oregon starters who scored at least 17 points. Will Richardson is averaging 7.3 assists and 6.7 rebounds over his last three games and has total control in the half-court set.
Remember, Dan Altman’s bunch won the Pac-12 regular-season title and leads the conference in three-point shooting (38.2%).
This is a dangerous team that could theoretically unseat the Zags.
USC Trojans (+550)
- 1st Round: Defeated #11 Drake, 72-56
- 2nd Round: Defeated #3 Kansas, 85-51
The Ducks might be able to beat Gonzaga. The question is, will they even have that opportunity?
Sitting at #5 in my Sweet 16 power rankings, I was high on the Trojans going into their game against Kansas. On the heels of an 85-51 thumping, the general public is finally catching on.
When assessing a USC vs. Oregon matchup, SoCal fans can find solace knowing the Trojans beat the Ducks by 14 on February 22nd.
SC is dynamic on the offensive side of the ball and is led by a budding superstar, but it’s their length on defense that makes them one of the legit Final Four sleepers.
SC leads the Pac-12 in field-goal % defense holding opponents to a 39% clip. They also lead the conference in rebounding, holding a substantial edge over the Ducks in that department.
With all of the attention being paid to Evan Mobley, older brother Isaiah has been going off in March Madness. Their +50 point differential through the first week is tops in the entire tournament.
My West Region Prediction for 2021
The winner of the Oregon vs. USC game will head into an Elite 8 matchup against Gonzaga with lots of positive vibes.
The Trojans ability to protect the rim gives them the slight edge, and I’m not expecting the Ducks to shoot 55.9% from the field again.
But as with Creighton, all of that excitement will be short-lived. As talented as SC is, they’ll eventually run into the buzzsaw that is Gonzaga’s journey to a perfect 32-0 season.
Don’t worry about laying -300 or being late to the party; there’s plenty of value to latch onto at this stage of the game.