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NCAA tournament preview: Arizona officially headlines West bracket

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The NCAA tournament bracket had a few mysteries before Selection Sunday on March 16. However, the Arizona Wildcats could have been penciled in as the West bracket's top seed weeks ago. Indeed, despite two late losses and a defeat in the Pac-12 title game, the Wildcats were officially penned in as an NCAA tournament top seed out West anyway.

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Nevertheless, the Wildcats got a somewhat tougher road to start off than many expected. With the Gonzaga Bulldogs and Oklahoma State Cowboys slated for the West's 8-9 game, Arizona could get a very stiff test right away in the third round. Given that factor, as well as how the Wildcats slipped up late in the Pac-12 championship game to the UCLA Bruins on March 15, it might not be a shock if Arizona doesn't escape the opening weekend.

Should that happen, the Wisconsin Badgers would presumably be the next favorite in the West region. As the No. 2 seed and as the second best regular season team in the tough Big Ten, the Badgers were right in the running for a No. 1 seed until losing in their conference tournament.

Yet the big star of the West bracket may not be a team, but an individual. Record setting Creighton Bluejays senior Doug McDermott will play his final college games in this year's NCAA tournament. As a No. 3 seed, the Bluejays are in position to send McDermott off in the Final Four, if enough breaks go their way and McDermott doesn't lose his shooting touch.

Although this is technically the West region, many teams from the Midwest have a chance to steal it away from Western powers like Arizona, San Diego State and Gonzaga. The accompanying slideshow lists the mix of powers in this bracket -- West, Midwest and otherwise -- who can make a tournament run all the way to the Final Four in Texas.



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