Your Guide To The 2019 NCAA Men’s Tournament: West region

Top seed perspective: Gonzaga is the best club in the West with a substantial margin, but the Zags, despite reaching haven’t always performed well under the lights of this tournament. Still, Gonzaga has a 70 percent probability of reaching the Elite Eight, based on our model, as well as the third-best chances of any group to reach the national championship match (26 percent).
If Gonzaga face Syracuse in the second round, the zone defense of the Orange will give the Bulldogs trouble. Here is the best crime Mark Few has experienced Spokane, but it may be analyzed by any of the terrific defenses from the West: Four of the best 15 can be found in this region, including the top two at Texas Tech and Michigan.
Sneaky Final Four select: No. 4 Florida State. A fixture at the KenPom Top 20 for most of the season, the Seminoles are hoping to build on last year’s championship run, which saw them come inside a 4-point margin of creating the Final Four. FSU has a dominant defense (No. 9 in Pomeroy’s evaluations ) and a balanced roster that saw four players collect at least 2.5 win shares. This draw is not horrible, either: Vermont is not especially difficult as a first-round foe, and Marquette is quite beatable (more on that below). No. 1 seeded Gonzaga probably looms after that, and also we give FSU a 24 percent chance from the Zags — but the Seminoles would have a 48 percent chance of making the Final Four if they were to pull off the upset.
Don’t wager : No. 5 Marquette. Teams seeded fifth are not generally good bets to make it past the Sweet 16 anyway, but Marquette might be an especially terrible choice. According to the FiveThirtyEight power evaluations, the Golden Eagles are undoubtedly the worst No. 5 seed in the field, and also a first-round date using breakout mid-major superstar Ja Morant didn’t do them any favors. Marquette has some star power of its own in junior guard Markus Howard, who ranks sixth in the nation with an average of 25 points per game, but this team dropped five of its last six matches and has a tough tournament road ahead of it.
Cinderella see: No. 10 Florida. The Gators may have been among the last bubble teams to creep in the area of 68, however they could be poised to do some damage now that they are here. They brought Nevada, a so-so No. 7 seed, at the very first round, and we provide Florida a 42 percent chance of pulling the upset that. Last year’s nationwide runner-up, Michigan, likely waits in Round 2, and that’s a tough matchup (23 percentage likelihood of Florida) — however if the Gators win, then they have a 38 percent chance of making the Elite Eight. Than the typical 10-seed, Florida looks better in a region with quite a few possibilities that are good-but-flawed.
Player to watch: Gonzaga, Brandon Clarke The linchpin of this Zags isn’t the consensus lottery pick, nor the two guards who have collectively started 87 percent of the games of Gonzaga . It is Brandon Clarke, a move from San Jose State who’s in his first active season with the group. He is perhaps the most underappreciated player in the country.
On a group that features a 7-footer shielding the rim, it’s Clarke, at 6-foot-8, who’s tasked with protecting the paint this year. Clarke has responded by placing a single-season blocks record and submitting the maximum block rate of any group under Few.
“If I feel like if I could find a good, fast jump first, I will pretty much jump with anybody,” Clarke told me. “I mean, I have seen Zion (Williamson) coming down through the lane before TV, and when I can not jump at the right time, I probably would not jump with him, however… I do not actually see myself not jumping with anybody.”
Likeliest first-round upsets: No. 9 Baylor over No. 8 Syracuse (48 percent); No. 10 Florida over No. 7 Nevada (42 percent); No. 12 Murray State over No. 5 Marquette (32 percent)

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