NCAA Tournament West Region: Team-by-Team Breakdown

Here’s a look at the western region of the NCAA tournament when March Madness 2022 gets underway on Thursday:

#1 Gonzaga (26-3)

Conference: WCC

coaching: Mark few

Post: The Zags continued an undefeated regular season and a trip to the NCAA tournament title game last year with a more understated dominance. The Bulldogs are led by 7-footer Chet Holmgren, a potential No. 1 pick, and junior forward Drew Timme, but anyone in their starting five can carry the country’s best-performing offense if they earn their first national aiming for championship.

Gonzaga forward Drew Timme celebrates his shot in the second half of an NCAA basketball game against Santa Clara on Saturday, February 19, 2022 in Spokane, Washington.
Drew Timme
AP/Young Kwak

#16 State of Georgia (18-10)

Conference: sunbelt

coaching: Rob Lanier

Post: The Panthers’ opportunistic defense fuels their offensive. They force 16.5 turnovers per game, the 15th most in the country, and surrender less than 12 times per competition. Four players are averaging at least 1.4 steals per game, led by senior guard Kane Williams (1.8). Watch your back pocket.

No. 8 Boise State (27-7)

Conference: mountain west

coaching: Leon Rice

Post: The Broncos, MWC regular-season and tournament champions, are back in the NCAAs for the first time since 2015. They boast a balanced attack with four players averaging double figures, led by senior forward Abu Kigab. Boise State also fielded the fourteenth-best defense in the country, keeping opponents at 61.0 points per game.

#9 Memphis (21-10)

Conference: American

coaching: Penny Hardaway

Post: Memphis finished the regular season with 10 wins in 11 games, including two dominant wins over Houston to field their way. Lottery winner Jalen Duren is a force in the color anchoring an improving defense, and guards Lester Quinones and Landers Nolley II have been more consistent lately.

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#5 UConn (23-9)

Conference: Great East

coaching: Dan Hurley

Post: After losing star James Bouknight from last year’s tournament team, Hurley has relied on a deep Huskies bank with plenty of local flair. Outstanding graduate student RJ Cole, their top scorer (15.7 ppg), hails from Union, NJ, while warden Andre Jackson is from Albany Academy and warden Jalen Gaffney is from Columbus, NJ

No. 12 New Mexico State (26-6)

Conference: Western Athletic

coaching: Chris Jans

Post: Former West Virginia and Nebraska guard Teddy Allen found a home in the state of New Mexico and thrived averaging 19.3 points and 6.8 rebounds per game, propelling the Aggies to the WAC regular-season titles and led in the postseason. He is joined in backcourt by Sir’Jabari Rice, a versatile junior guard with an all-tournament name that also averages double figures.

Arkansas' JD Notae reacts to blocking a shot during the second half of a game against Kentucky at Bud Walton Arena on February 26, 2022 in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
JD Notae
Getty Images/Wesley Hitt

No. 4 Arkansas (25-8)

Conference: SEC

coaching: Eric Musselman

Post: The Razorbacks lost Moses Moody from last year’s Elite Eight team, but senior JD Notae — a Jacksonville transfer — has stepped into the limelight as the team’s star. The fast, 6-foot-1 playmaker leads Arkansas in points (18.4), assists (3.7) and steals (2.2) and carries any hopes of a deep run in March.

No. 13 Vermont (28-5)

Conference: America East

coaching: John Becker

Post: The Catamounts played hard away against Providence, defeating Patriot League champion Colgate. With an offense that ranks in the top 50 for efficiency, Vermont will be a trendy surprise pick, especially after beating its three America East Tournament opponents by 110 points combined.

#6 Alabama (19-13)

Conference: SEC

coaching: Nate Hafer

Post: Few teams throw more from the 3-point line than the Crimson Tide, and they’ve lived by their jump shots more times than they’ve died despite their 30.8 percent mark from 304th in the country. Junior guard Jaden Shackelford is the team’s leader and top scorer (16.7 ppg), averaging more than eight 3-pointer attempts per game.

#11 Rutgers

Rutgers guard Ron Harper Jr. reacts after the Scarlet Knights were selected for the NCAA tournament on selection Sunday.
Rutgers guard Ron Harper Jr. reacts after the Scarlet Knights were selected for the NCAA tournament on selection Sunday.
Noah K Murray/New York Post

Conference: big ten

coaching: Steve Pikiell

Post: The Scarlet Knights got off to a rocky start (including losses to Lafayette and UMass) but have emerged as one of the more dangerous teams with their somber style of play. Behind senior guards Ron Harper Jr. and Geo Baker, they knocked out five ranked teams in the regular season, including then-No. 1 Purdue on a Harper buzzer-beater.

No. 11 Notre Dame (22-10)

Conference: Acc

coaching: Mike Brey

Post: The Fighting Irish have put together one of their best regular seasons in conference play since joining the ACC and helped capture their first NCAA berth in five years. Freshman guard Blake Wesley, who plays for his hometown team, is leading the way as a potential one-and-done while Dane Goodwin is one of the country’s best snipers from deep.

No. 3 Texas Tech (25-9)

Texas Tech guard Terrence Shannon Jr. (1) reacts after a second-half game against Kansas at T-Mobile Center.
Terrence Shannon Jr.
Amy Kontras/USA TODAY Sports

Conference: big 12

coaching: Mark Adams

Post: In his first year as Texas Tech’s head coach, Adams, a former assistant to Chris Beard, brought with him a defensive focus that forged a true identity. The Red Raiders might not be the most fun to watch for their stifling defense, which ranks seventh nationally (59.9 ppg), but their tenacious style has gotten them this far.

#14 State of Montana (27-7)

Conference: big sky

coaching: Danny Sprinkle

Post: With their fourth tournament appearance and first since 1995, the Bobcats have had their best regular season in nearly a century. Experience is a key factor in their success. This is the second year that top scorers Xavier Bishop, Jubrile Belo and Amin Adamu have played together and the third season for Belo and Adamu.

No. 7 Michigan State (22-12)

Conference: big ten

coaching: Tom Izzo

Post: After barely fielding and losing in the First Four last year, the Spartans are back for their 24th straight tournament. Izzo’s side don’t have a game breaker — top scorer Gabe Brown has proven hot and cold, averaging just 11.4 ppg — but they have depth and are one of the better 3-point shooting teams in the country.

No. 10 Davidson (27-6)

Conference: Atlantic 10

coaching: Bob McKillop

Post: After an out-of-conference win over Alabama, the Flyers went 15-3 in conference play and their three losses totaled 15 points. They have two international players leading the way with Luka Brajkovic (Austria) and Hyunjung Lee (South Korea), A-10 Player of the Year, taking eighth place in 3-point shooting average (38.7).

No. 2 Duke (28-6)

Duke's Paolo Banchero shoots a layup during the second half of a game against North Carolina at Cameron Indoor Stadium on March 5, 2022 in Durham, North Carolina.
Paolo Banchero
Getty Images/Jared C Tilton

Conference: Acc

coaching: Mike Krzyzewski

Post: Will Coach K Get His Dream Ending? There’s certainly plenty of talent, with up to five first-rounders predicted. Newcomer Paolo Banchero is the most hyped, but White Plains forward AJ Griffin has emerged, while Trevor Keels, second-in-command Mark Williams and junior Wendell Moore round out the young but impressive line-up.

No. 15 Cal State Fullerton (21-10)

Conference: Great West

coaching: Dedrique Taylor

Post: The Titans are dancing again, and like four years ago, a local star who’s gone west leads them to the party. In 2018 it was Brooklyn native Kyle Allman Jr. This March it’s EJ Anosike of East Orange, NJ, a multidimensional forward who is Cal State Fullerton’s top scorer (16.5) and rebounder (8.3) and one the best is playmaker. NCAA Tournament West Region: Team-by-Team Breakdown


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