Rank NCAA regions in order of difficulty?

Midwest is toughest

Dom Amore


Hartford Courant

The toughest? Louisville's Midwest. The Cardinals have Duke at No. 2, Michigan State at No. 3, Missouri at No. 9. Memphis, which tore through Conference USA, is a No. 6.


Next, I'd go with the East because Miami, the first team to win the ACC regular-season and tournament titles and not get a No. 1, is the No. 2 behind Indiana here. Big East team Marquette is at No. 3, and Syracuse is at No. 4.

Kansas may be starting in Kansas City in the South, but it has Georgetown in its bracket at No. 2. Florida and Michigan, another former No. 1, are behind them.

Gonzaga might have the easiest draw in the West, but the Bulldogs will have to earn their way to Atlanta with Ohio State and New Mexico in the bracket.

West looks weakest

Chris Dufresne

Los Angeles Times

1: Midwest. Louisville got the top overall seeding, but the committee also put Rick Pitino's team in a python pit. Louisville shares the bracket with Michigan State, Saint Louis and Duke.

2: South. The regional semifinals could easily feature Kansas, Michigan, Florida and Georgetown. And that would require these schools eliminating the likes of North Carolina, UCLA, Villanova and San Diego State.

3: East. Indiana fumbled the overall No. 1, but the ride shouldn't get bumpy until a possible regional semi against Syracuse. Butler is a tough out at No. 6.

4: West. Gonzaga got a No.1 seeding and the easiest bracket. The only thing the Bulldogs need to fear now is fear itself ... and maybe Pittsburgh.


South looks treacherous

Iliana Limón Romero

Orlando Sentinel

Here are the regions ranked from toughest to easiest:

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.

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.

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