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West region preview for the first round of the 2022 March Madness

We take a look at how the bracket for the West Region has come together ahead of the 2022 NCAA tournament, including a preview of what and how to watch following Selection Sunday.

Gonzaga Bulldogs guard Andrew Nembhard (3) and center Chet Holmgren (34) congratulate guard Nolan Hickman (11) against the San Francisco Dons during the first half in the semifinals of the WCC Basketball Championships at Orleans Arena.  Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Here’s a look at the West Region in the 2022 NCAA Tournament. The Gonzaga Bulldogs drew the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament and will come out of the West Region. Their top competition could be the Duke Blue Devils, who are the 2-seed in the bracket.

No. 1 Gonzaga vs. No. 16 Georgia State

Gonzaga roared through the WCC as expected, losing just one conference game. The big question was whether the non-conference slate gave fans and bettors enough confidence to count on the Bulldogs to finish the job this time around in the NCAA Tournament.

The Panthers finished the season off strong but only played two games total against a Quad 1 or 2 opponent. GSU has been a bottom 20 team in effective field goal percentage on offense but a Top 20 team in turnover rate on defense.

No. 2 Duke vs. No. 15 Cal State Fullerton

As expected, Duke was battle tested this season and posted 10 victories against Quad 1 and 2 opponents throughout the regular season. The Blue Devils’ best victories came over the likes of Kentucky, Gonzaga, and arch rival North Carolina on the road.

E.J. Anosike is a double-double waiting to happen, but CSU Fullerton is going to need more balance if it wants to advance to the round of 32 and beyond. The Titans are back in the dance for the first time since 2018, but haven’t advanced out of the round of 64 since 1978, which was the program’s first NCAA Tournament appearance.

No. 3 Texas Tech vs. No. 14 Montana State

For Williamns, he led the team in scoring with 13.6 points over the 33 games he played in. McCullar struggled with injuries but he still managed to lead the team in rebounds (5.5) and asissts (3.1) per game.

Look for Xavier Bishop and Jubrile Belo to lead the Bobcats in their opening tournament game. Montana State is going to draw a Power 5 opponent, but the team’s three-point shooting can be the great equalizer when playing a superior opponent on paper. We’ll see if the Bobcats can make some noise early in March Madness.

No. 4 Arkansas vs. No. 13 Vermont

In the tough SEC Arkansas showed they can compete with anyone, and it starts on the defensive end. If JD Notae can continue to be a big scorer in the NCAA Tournament, the Razorbacks have a shot at making a run to New Orleans.

Once again, the America East conference tournament belongs to Vermont. The Catamounts have become the top program in the league, so it’s no surprise to see them back in the “Big Dance”. Both Ryan Davis and Ben Shungu are capable of propelling Vermont to some upset wins in the field of 68.

No. 5 UConn vs. No. 12 New Mexico State

The UConn Huskies advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the second year in a row, and they have three playmakers who can carry the team with R.J. Cole, Adama Santiago and Tyrese Martin, making this a tough team to beat.

Teddy Allen is capable to singlehandedly winning a tournament game or two, so look for the Aggies as a potential upset threat. The WAC title holders have dominated their conference in recent years and will now be hoping to add a NCAA Tournament win to the resume.

No. 6 Alabama vs. No. 11 Rutgers/Notre Dame

Alabama has been pretty disappointing this season given their preseason expectations. While their play in the SEC Tournament will play a major role in their seeding, They can compete with anybody in the country offensively, but they need to do some work defensively.

Rutgers experienced a mix of great wins and bad losses this season. It owns victories over Big Ten title game participants Iowa and Purdue but suffered a horrible Quad 4 loss against Lafayette in November.

Blake Wesley and Paul Atkinson Jr. are the top scorers for Notre Dame but the true strength of this team is in the amount of rotational three-point shooters it can field. The Irish have four guys getting heavy minutes who are hitting at 38 percent or better from deep.

No. 7 Michigan State vs. No. 10 Davidson

The Spartans need to find a guy who can take over games if they want to go on a run in the NCAA Tournament. Malik Hall looks like he could be that guy, but he needs to be more consistent.

The Wildcats can light it up from downtown, shooting 38.5% from three which is good for eighth in the country.

No. 8 Boise State vs. No. 9 Memphis

The Boise State Broncos make for a dangerous team in the NCAA Tournament because of how well they play on the defensive end of the floor. They rate inside the top 20 in KenPom’s adjusted efficiency, and they could certainly be a tough out in the opening weekend of the NCAA Tournament.

Memphis started the season off terribly given their preseason expectations, but turned that around towards the end of their season winning 10 of their last 11 games. They’ll need Jalen Duren to keep having success if they want to make a run in the NCAA Tournament.