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

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

The Kansas Jayhawks are your 1-seed in the Midwest Region of the 2022 NCAA Tournament. This region is pretty loaded with Auburn, who was the top team in the country for parts of this season. Wisconsin won the Big 10 regular-season title while Providence was a force in the Big East.

No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 16 Texas Southern/Texas A&M Corpus Christi

The Kansas Jayhawks are in the NCAA Tournament for the 32nd time in a row, and they are legitimate Final Four contenders once again. Kansas has one of the best offenses in the country led by Ochai Agbaji.

Texas Southern gets in with the SWAC automatic bid and it looks like it’ll be a short stay for the Tigers. Unless John Walker III can have a breakout game, it’s hard to see Texas Southern creating chaos in March Madness.

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi took down the top two seeds in this conference tournament run, winning each game with minimal issues. This team has won seven of its last eight games, which is a good sign heading into the NCAA Tournament. Isaac Mushila and Trevian Tennyson are the top players to watch for the Islanders.

No. 2 Auburn vs. No. 15 Jacksonville State

While Auburn has been one of the top teams in the country, they have been extremely fun to watch as well. Their star player, Jabari Smith, is averaging 17.1 points and 6.9 rebounds per game and is likely going to be the number one overall pick in the NBA Draft.

The Gamecocks can upset a high seed if they are hot from the perimeter. They make 38.2% of their 3-pointers, the 11th-best rate in Division I.

No. 3 Wisconsin vs. No. 14 Colgate

Wisconsin is expecting Davis to be ready for the NCAA tournament and he would be a huge part of their team that they would be missing. Davis is a sophomore guard that led the team with 20.0 points and 8.1 rebounds per game.

Colgate enters the big dance with the third-longest winning streak in the nation at 15.

No. 4 Providence vs. No. 13 South Dakota State

Providence was arguably the biggest overachieving team in the country this season. It stood atop the regular season Big East standings despite being ranked 33rd in NET and 48th in KenPom.

South Dakota State, still hunting for the program’s first-ever NCAA Tournament win, has one of the most dangerous offenses in college basketball. No team is better in 3-point shooting, and only Gonzaga scores more points per game than the Jackrabbits.

No. 5 Iowa vs. No. 12 Richmond

The Iowa Hawkeyes can struggle on the defensive end, but they can make up for it with one of the top offenses in the country. Keegan Murray is going to be the best player on the floor in just about every game, and he could carry this team on an NCAA Tournament run.

Richmond comes through from the A-10 conference behind some thrilling comeback wins. The Spiders have the experience and resilience to be successful in March, but we’ll see what the matchup is before tabbing them as a potential bracket buster.

No. 6 LSU vs. No. 11 Iowa State

Even with its inconsistencies, LSU boasts the fifth best defense in adjusted efficiency per KenPom. The Tigers have a 25.3% turnover percentage on defense, good for third in the nation.

The Iowa State Cyclones won just two games last season, but they’re in the NCAA Tournament in Year 1 under TJ Otzelberger. While the offense can struggle at times, Iowa State is one of the top defensive teams in the country.

No. 7 USC vs. No. 10 Miami

Isaiah Mobley had the second-most rebounds per game in the USC. Even if their opponent focuses on Mobley, guards Drew Peterson and Boogie Ellis will be waiting in the wings to clean up.

Miami was up-and-down all season, but they have been able to score all year with Kameron McGusty averaging 17.4 points per game and Isaiah Wong averaging 15.4 points per game. They’ll need to lock in defensively like the did down the stretch of the regular season.

No. 8 San Diego State vs. No. 9 Creighton

Sure, Bradley deserves the highlight, but I’m going with Mensah as my Aztec to highlight. He averaged seven boards a game, but his 2.2 blocks per game really set the intensity level for the defense. He led the conference in blocks per game, putting his lanky, 6 ft. 10 frame to work.

A year after the Creighton Bluejays reached the Sweet 16, they are back in the NCAA Tournament thanks to outstanding play on the defensive end. Creighton has weathered the storm without point guard Ryan Nembhard, who was ruled out for the year late in the regular season.