Giant Killers: West Region
Breaking down the best chances for potential NCAA tournament upsets
For each of the four regions, we'll break down the six Giant vs. Killer matchups. (Remember, a Giant Killer is any team that beats an opponent seeded at least five spots higher. See our full methodology here for more details.)
Per tradition, we have divided the games among four categories: Best Bets, Worth a Long Look, Not Completely Crazy and Stay Away. We can't tell you exactly how to play your brackets; that depends on how much upsets are worth in your pool. But we can give you the odds of upsets, based on statistical analysis that begins with teams' basic power ratings and layers in their "special sauce" (their statistical similarity to past Davids and Goliaths) and adjusts further for the matchup of their playing styles.
Here are matchups to watch in the West Region ...
North Dakota State is a classic example of what we call a "schoolyard bully" -- a team built to dominate inferior conference competition and earn NCAA berths, but unlikely to stand up to the big boys. These squads protect the ball, shoot smart and mostly from the inside, and work the defensive boards, all at a slow pace, while avoiding the risks involved in pressing for turnovers or crashing the offensive glass -- a model Bucknell took to an extreme last season. Problem is, safe play is usually no way for an underdog to beat a Giant; Killers usually need some 3-pointers or steals or boards in their special sauce to spice up their game against superior opposition.
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