The Midwest Region of the 2022 NCAA Tournament is defined by a bona fide blue blood sitting at the top with a series of usurpers right below them waiting for their opportunity to strike.
Let’s break down the favorite, a sleeper and a dark horse to come out of the East region.
Favorite: Kansas (+160)
No. 1 Kansas is the clear favorite coming out of the Midwest and enters the tournament with the third-highest odds in the entire 68-team field to reach the Final Four. Led by Ochai Agbaji, the Jayhawks racked up another Big 12 Tournament title this past weekend and on-paper seem primed to make a deep run.
However, KU has only made one Final Four in the last decade and we’ve seen Kansas teams in the past trip up in moments where they were the clear favorite. Still, it’ll be tough for any other team in the region to put this team down.
Sleeper: San Diego State (+2500)
The No. 8 Aztecs enter the tournament fresh off a 23-win campaign where it finished two points short of a victory over Boise State in the Mountain West Conference Tournament title game. The Aztecs are nothing to write home about offensively but have been spectacular on the other end, boasting the nation’s second-best defense in adjusted efficiency.
That style of play may come in handy in the tight environment of the NCAA Tournament where the game slows down. That could spell doom for Kansas in a potential second-round showdown.
Dark Horse: South Dakota State (+15000)
The No. 13 Jackrabbits are riding a 21-game winning streak into the tournament and just finished up sweeping right through their Summit League schedule. They are ranked 71st in KenPom and are the best three-point shooting team in the nation at 44.2%.
That spells potential danger for No. 4 Providence, who has to play them in round-one. An upset there could really springboard South Dakota State into a surprise tear.
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