Best Player: Ja Morant
I apologize to have of Gonzaga’s lineup, the twins in Nevada, and several others in the West Region. I couldn’t resist going with Morant. Per Kenpom, Morant is ranked 8th %Min, 3rd in %Poss, and 1st in ARate. He controls the game is so many different ways. Morant played against two Power Conference teams, Alabama and Auburn. Against the Tide, he scored 38 points but was hampered by 10 turnovers. He was much better against Auburn where he went for 25 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists. He’s scored 20 or more points in 15 of his last 16 games.
Upset: Murray State over Marquette
This is your “stranger danger” 5 vs 12 match-up. This region could have all kinds of upsets including Nevada beating a 2-seed Michigan.
But, getting back to the Racers, they are heading in the right direction while Marquette seems to be going in the other direction. The challenge for Murray State will be matching up with the Hausers (Sam and Joey). Their length and ability to stretch the defense is well known. Both big men shoot over 40% from the three point line. The key to guarding Marquette is to turn the Hausers into ball handlers and then attack them.
If Murray State can contain them, they could win this game by double digits.