- No. 1 Gonzaga, No. 2 Michigan, No. 3 Texas Tech and No. 4 Florida State each won their first two games by double digits
- Florida State beat Gonzaga in the Sweet 16 during the 2018 NCAA Tournament
- See the odds to win the West region of the 2019 NCAA Men’s Tournament entering the Sweet 16
The 2019 NCAA Tournament has been short on upsets as we’ve only seen four one-possession games through the first weekend.
That’s the fewest we’ve seen ever since the addition of the First Four (2011). One region that’s played out as expected – with the top seeds all advancing – is the West.
So who’s the best bet to emerge from the West at this point?
Odds To Win 2019 West Region
*Odds taken March 25
West Playing Out As Expected
One of the first things that stands out about the West Region is that it’s played out by the book.
The top four seeds in the region have advanced as No. 1 Gonzaga, No. 2 Michigan, No. 3 Texas Tech and No. 4 Florida State are all in the Sweet 16.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 22, 2019
There haven’t been a ton of crazy upsets this tournament, but other regions have seen a little inflow of lower seeds making it through, as the South saw two double-digit seeds in the Round of 32 and one in the Sweet 16.
Gonzaga opened the tournament with +140 odds to win the West, but is now the odds-on favorite with only two games remaining until the Final Four.
Florida State is the only team of the four who has not seen their odds shorten. They opened at +600 and remain at +600 thanks to a meeting with the Bulldogs in the Sweet 16.
Gonzaga Still The Top Dog
We’ve seen nothing to indicate that the Bulldogs are not the top dog in this region. They easily handled No. 16 Fairley Dickinson in their opening contest, winning 87-49, then crushed Baylor 83-71 in the Round of 32.
That sets up a rematch with Florida State, who beat them in the Sweet 16 last year.
Even Gonzaga's bricks are turning into highlights pic.twitter.com/usslSViD1N
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) March 22, 2019
The difference this time around is both teams are seeded higher as Gonzaga was a No. 4 and is now No. 1. Meanwhile, Florida State was No. 9 and is now No. 4.
The other key is that Gonzaga has a lot more size. Forward Brandon Clarke, who is coming off a 36-point effort against Baylor, is going to be a handful.
Michigan, Texas Tech Set For Defensive Showdown
The Wolverines and Red Raiders have been defensive stalwarts in the NCAA Tournament, just as they were in the regular season. The two teams finished No. 1 (Texas Tech) and No. 2 (Michigan) in the KenPom defensive efficiency ratings and have each stifled their first two opponents so far.
Taking that Old Town Road out west! 😎🌴🐴 pic.twitter.com/uLpY9ur31j
— Texas Tech Basketball (@TexasTechMBB) March 25, 2019
Michigan allowed just 55 points to Montana and then held Florida to just 49. Meanwhile, Texas Tech muzzled Northern Kentucky, limiting them to 57 points, and then held an explosive Buffalo team to just 58.
The issue is that both squads have trouble offensively. It hasn’t been something that’s cropped up yet but I’m expecting it to as we’ve move into the Sweet 16 and beyond.
Who Is The Best Bet?
I’m still sticking with Gonzaga.
They’re a special offense and I don’t see anyone being able to slow them down. They’ll be very focused on Florida State to get revenge after losing to them last year.
After that, I think they’ll be strong enough to breakthrough the defense of Michigan or Texas Tech. This is an elite team that should represent the West Region in the Final Four.
Let's have fun and keep it civil.