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NCAA Tournament: Bracket talk for the West Region

Most anticipated matchup

UConn vs. Memphis. Players love that saying "to be the best, you've got to beat the best." This game would define that category. Connecticut has been No. 1 during this season; Memphis clearly thinks it should have been. And John Calipari and Jim Calhoun on the sideline together? Classic.

Something to prove

Mississippi State wouldn't even be in the tournament without its four victories over four days to win the SEC tournament. Now the Bulldogs need to justify taking that spot. In five trips, Rick Stansbury's teams haven't won more than one game in the tourney. With the nation's leading shot blocker (Jarvis Varnado) and a solid supporting cast, MSU has a chance to pull an upset and gain respect.

Longest ride, shortest trip

Cal State Northridge has earned its first trip to the tourney, but the Matadors might travel farthest for the shortest amount of time. It's about 1,590 miles from Northridge to Kansas City, Mo. And since Cal State is playing Memphis in the first round, the Matadors most likely won't be there longer than one game.

Potential sleeper

Purdue. The Boilermakers have picked up the pace in the past six games, averaging 73.4 points and shooting 49 percent from the field. And they've got F Robbie Hummel back. Hummel suffered through a back injury that wouldn't allow him to practice most of the season and kept him out of five games, but he scored 48 and had 28 rebounds during the Big Ten tournament.

NCAA Tournament: Bracket talk for the West Region 03/15/09 [Last modified: Sunday, March 15, 2009 10:27pm]
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