Observer Sports March Madness Bracket — Round of 32, Midwest Region
Observer Sports Staff | Wednesday, April 1, 2020
We are into the Round of 32, and there are some very interesting match-ups we will be exploring in the coming days. Be sure to check out these picks and all the upcoming regions to see who is moving on to the Sweet 16!
No. 1 Kansas def. No. 9 Marquette 82-77
Why is this game even close? Because Marquette has Markus Howard, who is the most prolific shooter in the country. When Howard is hot, the Golden Eagles can shoot their way past most everyone in the country. But Kansas is so complete, and they ultimately don’t have to rely on one star. Their depth and strong play in the paint from Udoka Azubuike are the X-factors, as the Jayhawks edge out their Big East opponent and slide into the Sweet 16.
No. 4 Wisconsin def. No. 5 Auburn 81-75
Had this game been played — pause to wipe a tear from my cheek — it could have been an absolute classic. Auburn and fired up, push-the-pace style of play versus Wisconsin’s pedigree and disciplined defense. The Tigers have had more recent March success, but the Badgers have historically been better this time of year. Here, Wisconsin takes a big lead early, before Auburn figures out their stifling defense. They force the Badgers to make a few shots, but Wisconsin does just that, doing just enough to edge Auburn and set up an intriguing Sweet 16 battle.
No. 6 Iowa def. No. 3 Duke 86-85 (OT)
Duke gets a tough second-round draw in the Hawkeyes, who have arguably the best player in the country in Luka Garza. Garza was an absolute monster, particularly in the second half of the season, and he draws a few early fouls from Vernon Carey, allowing Iowa to absolutely dominate in the paint. Duke’s superior outside shooting helps them force overtime, but Garza takes over in overtime, and the Hawkeyes stun the Blue Devils to get to the Sweet 16!
No. 2 Kentucky def. No. 10 Arizona State 82-68
After the Sun Devils pulled a small upset in round one, they stand no chance against a Kentucky team who was playing extremely well down the stretch. The Wildcats got off to a sluggish start in Round 1, but they have no such issues here, opening up a ten-point halftime lead and extending it to as much as 19 in the final ten minutes. Kentucky will try to knock off Garza and the Hawkeyes in the Sweet 16.