South: We could have a second-round Kansas-North Carolina matchup right as the Tar Heels seem to be getting over their early season slump. VCU, Florida and Georgetown are equally formidable foes in the region, both playing aggressive defense. The team that takes care of the basketball will survive.

West: Gonzaga, Kansas State, Arizona and New Mexico are all strong Final Four candidates.

East: Indiana and Miami are the toughest contenders in this region.

Midwest: Louisville's stiffest competition may be a less-than-stellar Duke team.

ilimon@tribune.com

Midwest = Thunderdome

Brian Hamilton

Chicago Tribune

Before the NCAA brackets were unfurled, a prediction that Louisville, Duke, Michigan State or Saint Louis would make the Final Four likely would have gone unchallenged. A prediction that any of those teams would win the national title may have caused a little hesitation, but not much.

And here they are, all four of them, hurled into the Midwest Region and so tilting the field that it's a wonder the South and East brackets don't just tumble over onto the Midwest. The top four seeds in one region would make a decent Final Four by themselves. It's not a bracket. It's Thunderdome.

After that, it probably goes South, West, East, in order of formidability. But really, there's no comparison.

bhamilton@tribune.com