West Bracket Thoughts

Here are three quick thoughts about the West Regional, and storylines affecting the Longhorns' side of the bracket.

*The West stays tough

Many people singled out the West as a tough bracket early on, in large part because of the power at the top.

And after three days, that power is left standing. The West is the only region that hasn't suffered an upset, courtesy of a clutch Derrick Williams block that pushed No. 5 Arizona past No. 12 Memphis and a late shot that propelled No. 7 Temple past No. 10 Penn State.

The region is staring a star-studded Sweet 16 straight in the face. No. 2 San Diego State and No. 3 UConn took care of business in the bottom part of the bracket, and Duke and Texas have their chances Sunday. No. 1 Duke plays No. 8 Michigan, while No. 4 Texas takes on Arizona.

*Individual intrigue

If you're looking for a bracket with individual talent remaining, look no further. The West is the region of Kyrie Irving's foot and Kemba Walker's will. It's also the region of Bruce Pearl's exit, a 30-point blowout at the hands of the Michigan Wolverines.

Only in the West could you potentially see a No. 1 and No. 4 with the firepower of a Duke-Texas match-up. The only region that could compete would be the East, provided Ohio State gets by George Mason.

On the other side, there's Walker, arguably the country's most gifted scorer, against San Diego State, one of the country's top help defenses. And that doesn't count the still-to-be-played Texas-Arizona game where the country's top defense will try to slow down the Wildcats' Derrick Williams, an NBA Lottery pick and a brutally efficient offensive weapon.

*Tough road to hoe

San Diego State needed two overtimes to survive a feisty Temple squad 71-64 on Saturday. What's the Aztecs' reward? A red-hot Connecticut team that continued its winning ways over Big East teams with an 11-point win over conference rival Cincinnati.

San Diego State doesn't have a history of tournament success — this is the Aztecs' first trip to the Sweet 16 — and they'll face not only Walker, but also coach Jim Calhoun, who has multiple NCAA titles to his credit.

Steve Fisher, of course, won a national championship at Michigan and went to two other title games with the Wolverines. But those were in the early 1990s, before many of his current players were old enough to remember.

Should the Aztecs prevail, and should the seeds play out, they'll play an even more experienced tournament team in Duke, the defending national champions.

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