Observer Sports March Madness Bracket — Round of 64, West Region
Observer Sports Staff | Monday, March 30, 2020
We are back with the third of four regions in the Round of 64 for the Observer March Madness Bracket. Last edition saw a 12-seed advance in our first major upset –– will any underdogs prevail today? Read below to find out.
No. 1 Gonzaga def. No. 16 North Carolina Central 89-66
No one sees Gonzaga having trouble in this one. Mark Few’s teams have rarely gotten upset in the past five to seven years, and they have no issue dispatching their first opponent here.
No. 8 Louisiana State University def. No. 9 Oklahoma 79-73
The Sooners had some very impressive games in the middle of the season, but two months after being decimated in football by LSU, they lose again to the Tigers, who lead by as many as 15 and hold on down the stretch.
No. 5 Michigan def. No. 12 Yale 76-66
I bet everyone thought a group of Notre Dame writers would pick Michigan to get upset, but we went with the Wolverines unanimously. Yale just doesn’t produce enough offense to keep up with the Big 10, and their two losses to Harvard have many wondering if they were even the best team in the Ivy League. Michigan has too much March pedigree to lose in this one.
No. 4 Oregon def. No. 13 New Mexico State 82-76
Oregon did not garner all of our votes in this one. New Mexico State came within a point of taking down Auburn last year in the first round and ending their Final Four run before it began. They give the Ducks all they can handle, but Oregon has Peyton Pritchard who knocks down two buttery jumpers in the final 45 seconds to close out the Aggies.
No. 6 Brigham Young University def. No. 11 Indiana 68-64
Indiana was a confusing team this year, and BYU looked very good down the stretch. It’s not unanimous, and we believe it will be close, but ultimately, the Cougars crawl past the Hoosiers and into the Round of 32. They were a popular underdog pick to go far prior to the tournament’s cancellation, so we’ll see if they can start to make a run in the second round.
No. 3 Seton Hall def. No. 14 Eastern Washington 80-67
Seton Hall lets some early nerves get to them against a solid squad in Eastern Washington, but Myles Powell turns on the gas in the second half, and the Pirates don’t look back. A three-point halftime edge gets as big as 24 before Seton Hall lets up a little, cruising to a win.
No. 10 Texas Tech def. No. 7 Arizona 76-71
Texas Tech just doesn’t feel like a 10-seed. Sure, their resume stacks up like one, but the Red Raiders were in the national championship last year, and they’re a well-coached team that plays a disciplined brand of basketball. Arizona may have a little more raw talent, but they can’t defeat Texas Tech’s system, and the Red Raiders swing the upset.
No. 2 San Diego State def. No. 15 University of California Irvine 75-72
Not a lot of faith in the Aztecs. At one point, they looked extremely legitimate, but late losses to University of Las Vegas and Utah State have shaken that perception. While it was unanimous, no one thinks this will be a blowout. We’ll say the Aztecs trail by eight at half and never lead by more than five before squeaking past UCI and into the Round of 32. A tough test against Texas Tech awaits.