2012 NCAA Bracket Picks: West Region Odds, Predictions and Expert Bracketology Projections: The West Region in this year NCAA Tournament Bracket has plenty of heavy hitters. The Mountain West, Big Ten, Big 12 and Big East tournaments champs are all in the mix, as well as a Murray State team that has lost once all season. Not surprisingly, the West Region could end up being one of the more wide-open groups because so many teams are bringing a ton of momentum into the tournament. Several teams have the hot hand, but only the team with the hottest hand will get to punch its ticket to New Orleans.

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NCAA West Bracket Favorites to Make the Final Four

Michigan State: It’s March, and Michigan State coach Tom Izzo does his best work this time of year. The Spartans are coming off their first Big Ten tournament title since 2000, and that year, they went on to win the national, as well. Irrelevant coincidence, possibly, but Michigan State is physical on defense, rebounds well and has a legitimate star player in forward Draymond Green. The Spartans have already faced North Carolina, Duke and Florida State this year, and they are prepared as team for the rigors of the tournament environment. Izzo could be headed for another Final Four.

Missouri: The Tigers have a loaded backcourt, and they take advantage of it, starting four guards. Missouri uses its smaller lineup to push the tempo and score a ton of points, creating matchup nightmares for opponents. Marcus Denmon and Kim English lead the way, and Missouri can torch opponents from beyond the arc and in transition. The Tigers won 30 games and the Big 12 tournament title, and there isn’t another team in the West Region that can match their offensive firepower. If they continue to shoot 50.4 percent from the field as a team, the Tigers should head to New Orleans.

NCAA West Bracket Upset Specials

St. Louis over Memphis: The Tigers cruised to the Conference USA regular season and tournament titles, but they struggled against top competition out of conference. Memphis is an athletic team that relies heavily on its transition game, but they struggle to score at times in half court sets. Meanwhile, the Billikens are one of the top defensive teams in the country, and they are great at controlling the pace of the game. It is always easier to slow a game down than to speed it up, and St. Louis has the matchup advantage in this one.

Davidson over Louisville: Granted, the Cardinals have been a lot better since getting fully healthy – good enough to win the Big East tournament in fact. That being said, Louisville is not exactly an offensive juggernaut, and scoring points remains an issue. Meanwhile, Davidson is 12th in the country in scoring and has six players that can knock down a shot from beyond the arc. The Wildcats have already defeated Kansas this season, and they take care of business on the glass, ranking 19th in the country in rebounding. Louisville was bounced in the first round last year by Morehead State, and another early exit could be on tap for Rick Pitino’s bunch.

NCAA West Bracket High Seed on Alert

Marquette: A loss in the first round of the Big East tournament puts Marquette in dangerous company. For starters, no team has ever lost in the first round of its conference tournament and gone on to win the national title. More importantly, only one team in the last three years to lose in the opening round of its conference tournament has made it to the Final Four and half have lost in the Sweet 16. The Golden Eagles have plenty of speed and athleticism, but come March when the pace of the game tends to slow, they may not have to half-court offense to get the job done.

NCAA West Bracket PREDICTION: No. 2 seed Missouri Tigers

Vegas Favorites and Odds to win the 2012 West Region
Get 2012 West Region Odds on each individual game at Bovada Sportsbook
211 Michigan St. +216
212 Missouri +244
213 Marquette +607
214 Louisville +607
215 New Mexico +910
216 Murray St. +2501
217 Florida +2001
218 Memphis +1416
219 St. Louis +3500
220 Virginia +7002
221 Colorado St. +15165
222 Long Beach St. +7077
223 Davidson +11000
224 BYU +15165
225 Iona +15165
226 Norfolk St. +20220
227 LIU Brookyn +20220

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