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March Madness 2018: Breaking down four regions, upset picks, region favorites

Who are the best players, best upset picks, best teams in the 2018 NCAA Tournament bracket?

For college hoops fans, it doesn't get better than this.

For casual sports fans who have yet to watch a single bucket scored in college hoops, there's finally a reason to watch.

The bracket for the 2018 NCAA men's basketball tournament was unveiled Sunday evening, not long after a ferocious comeback by UPenn, beating Harvard to make its first NCAA Tournament bid in 11 years, clinched the final at-large bid.  

The four No. 1 seeds were no surprise, with Villanova the overall top seed, Virginia, Kansas and Xavier rounding out the favorites.


As for the rest of the slate? Here's a brief look at what you need to know about each of the four regions before things tip off later this week:

Eastern Region

Top 4 seeds: 1. Villanova, 2. Purdue 3. Texas Tech, 4. Wichita St.

Best first round match up: Want to see an offensive explosion? Tune in Friday to watch No. 8 Virginia Tech play No. 9 Alabama. Collin Sexton nearly single-handedly lifted the Crimson Tide to an NCAA Tournament berth and the Hokies have been one of the more upset-minded teams all season long. VT has beaten Virginia, Duke, Clemson and UNC this season and might make a deep tournament run — and will have eyes on No. 1 Nova if they can handle Sexton and Bama.

Best player: Jalen Brunson, PG, Villanova — The likely player of the year, Brunson plays like an NBA point guard. He doesn't turn the ball over, plays suffocating defense and takes smart shots. He will have the Wildcats looking for another title this postseason.

Best upset pick: Villanova has had a lot of trouble with No. 10 Butler, which will take its Big East toughness to its battle against No. 7 Arkansas. This could go either way but is a good upset pick.

Best Final 4 pick: Villanova is a deserving No. 1 and should represent the region in the Final 4.

South Region

Top 4 seeds: 1. Virginia, 2, Cincinnati, 3. Tennessee, 4. Arizona

Best first round match up: Not the Kentucky of old, this year's squad lands a No. 5 seed and will have its hands full with the red-hot 12th seeded Davidson, fresh off their upset win in the A-10 tournament besting Rhode Island. This could be a perfect situation for a 12-over-5 upset.

Best player: Deandre Ayton, C, Arizona — He's vying to be the top pick in the NBA draft and he's got a great chance of fueling his Wildcats to a deep tournament run. He plays on both sides of the ball and hus 7-foot-5 wingspan will make things tough for any opposition.

Best upset pick: The Ramblers from Loyola-Chicago won it all 55 years ago, and have been dominant in their conference. Theyw ill have a tough test against No. 6 Miami as an 11-seed, but as any avid tournament watcher knows well, there is always an 11 that advances. This could be the best bet for that upset and Miami is coming off a crushing near 30-point loss to UNC in the ACC tournament. The Ramblers smell blood.

Best Final 4 pick: Arizona's toughest test will be Virginia — but if they can handle the Cavaliers (and they potentially could with Ayton leading them) — Arizona might be a good way to go if you want to avoid picking all the top seeds. 

Mid West Region

Top 4 seeds: 1. Kansas, 2. Duke, 3. Michigan St., 4. Auburn

Best first round match up: Kansas will be heavily favored, and will face the revitalized UPenn squad as the 16th seed in the first round. Pennsylvania deserves better, and will more than likely falter to the top-seeded Jayhawks. But this has the potential to be one of the better 1-vs-16 match ups we've ever had. There has never been an upset in a 1-16 game, and this one probably won't change that, but it is the best chance for a true Cinderella story.

Best player: Miles Bridges, F, Michigan St — Another player likely to be drafted in the NBA lottery, Bridges averages 16.9 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. He is a vocal lead on the floor and will be a valuable winger as the Spartans look to make a deep run.

Best upset pick: We like the College of Charleston, ranked as the 13-seed to beat No. 4 Auburn in the SEC — a conference lacking in great basketball lately. The Cougars have three players who score 17 or more points per game, making match up issues a big problem for Auburn.

Best Final 4 pick: Duke, when playing its best, can beat anyone in the country. They have a very tough region, and if they face Michigan State in the Sweek 16 it will be a fantastic test for them. But Duke has the firepower to make a very deep run this year led by Marvin Bagley III.

West Region

Top 4 seeds: 1. Xavier, 2. North Carolina, 3. Michigan, 4. Gonzaga

Best first round match up: The Cougars from Houston are the 6-seed out west and will have a tough time against the 11th seeded San Diego State Azteks. Their entire starting line up averages in double figures and Houston has struggled at times in the lackluster American conference. This is another great spot for an 11-seed.

Best player: Michael Porter Jr., F, Missouri — Back from injury just in time for the conference tournament, Porter is another lottery pick will be worth watching over the next two weeks. How healthy he can be next week when Missouri faces Florida State in the first round will determine how far the Tigers can go.

Best upset pick: Providence is the 10 seed but has the credentials of a true contender. They have defeated the No. 2 overall seed Villanova, and took them to overtime in the Big East championship game nearly upsetting them for a second time. They will face the 7-seeded Aggies from Texas A&M to open and will have another upset on their minds.

Best Final 4 pick: North Carolina always comes to play in March, and have been battle-tested in the ACC. Their resume includes wins over Duke (twice), Ohio State, Michigan, Clemson and other big time teams.

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