Breaking down NCAA Tournament's West Region

So now that we know where Pitt is headed, thought a look at their region was worthwhile. We've done our complaining on the No. 8 seed, but if you take a look at the region, the complaints should die down a bit.

First a disclaimer - there's no such thing as a cakewalk in any region in any year. We may use that terminology but the fact is that winning four games against good competition to get to a Final Four is not easy, regardless of the opponent. Some teams are better than others, but four straight wins against other teams with a 'Survive and Advance' mentality is difficult.

With that out of the way, it's hard not to like Pitt's draw at least a little. The Panthers have a difficult game against Wichita State coming up. But if they can somehow get by them, it's not really all bad.

Playing a No. 1 seed in the second game? Yeah, that sucks. But Gonzaga is arguably the weakest of the four top seeds and even beyond that, it's a team Pitt should be able to compete against. Gonzaga has beaten several quality teams in the non-con including Oklahoma, Kansas State, Davidson, Butler, and Oklahoma State. But as a few people have pointed out already, the Bulldogs have had a fairly light schedule since beating Butler two months ago. It will be interesting to see how they respond to what could be a very physical game. Pitt should be the most physical team they've played in a while.

If the Panthers somehow got past Gonzaga, again, it's hard to say they couldn't compete against a team like Wisconsin or Kansas State ... and that's assuming those teams get by their respective opponents. Kansas State is good, but they've lost most of their major tests this year. They also were beaten more soundly by Michigan than Pitt was and beat Delaware by a smaller margin when looking at same opponents. Wisconsin is a bit scarier as they have a pile of great wins. But I'm not sure they have the offense to go all that far. They don't rank in the top 200 in scoring or even shooting percentage. At some point, they'll have trouble scoring points.

The bottom half of the region has some very good teams. Personally, New Mexico is my sleeper in this region. Ohio State and Arizona are there, as is our favorite team, Notre Dame. But we'd only be talking about a one-game situation there.

A run through the west won't be easy for Pitt - and frankly, I'm not picking it. But it's actually a navigable region for them if they can get hot.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter @PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics.

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