Washington will run past Montana.
Pacific is a pretty good matchup for Pittsburgh, but the Panthers, with their propensity both to turn the ball over and miss free throws, aren't especially well-suited for pulling out close games. PACIFIC TO WIN AT +160.
The conventional wisdom surrounding Georgia Tech and their prospects for advancing deep in the tourney have me perplexed. Yes, they're better with BJ Elder playing, but Will Bynum still takes/forces to many shots and they have demonstrated the ability to play good offense and defense on the same day. The Yellow Jackets are a little better than George Washington, but neither team will get past Louisville.
Louisville, the only team in this region to have demonstrated an ability to play defense, will make quick work of Louisiana-Lafayette. LOUISVILLE -11.5.
UCLA belongs in the group of major conference teams that received credit for who they played without regard for how they played against those teams along with Minnesota, Mississippi State, Iowa, and Cincinnati. Texas Tech had been wildly inconsistent this year (sort of Villanova without as much upside), but will more likely than not handle the young Bruins.
Gonzaga's defensive deficiencies will not be exposed by Winthrop though the Eagles might slow the game down enough to keep things close for a half.
I like Creighton to out shoot West Virginia. CREIGHTON TO WIN AT +125 and OVER 135.
Chattanooga represents no threat to Wake Forest.
I think Washington deserved their one seed. I think that if Pacific can break even rebounding against the Huskies, they'll win.
Louisville is a four seed because the committee recognized how poor Conference USA was this year. (An item they seemed to forget when slotting UAB in the bracket.) The Cardinals are strong in every phase of the game save rebounding, but Georgia Tech won't be able to take advantage of that as they're a slightly worse team on the glass.
Somebody from the bottom half of this region is getting to the final eight without having to play any defense. Turiaf and Morrison should pull Gonzaga past Texas Tech. Creighton presents a dangerous matchup (as would West Virginia, both teams could take advantage of the Deacons' poor perimeter defense) for Wake Forest, but the Bluejays are unlikely to defend or rebound enough to knock them off.
Louisville will frustrate a game Pacific team in a game that will likely mirror the Tigers' loss to Kansas in the second round last year (nip-and-tuck for 30-32 minutes before the better team pulls away).
Gonzaga and Wake Forest would be an entertaining, high-scoring affair. I have the Zags advancing simply because they're more likely to make it to the Sweet 16 than are the Deacons.
Louisville is the most complete team in the region. They'll guard Gonzaga forcing missed shots and turnovers. The Zags will not be able to do either of those things to Louisville.