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Breaking down the Midwest Region

North Carolina guard Patrick Crouch reacts after scoring

North Carolina guard Patrick Crouch reacts after scoring a bucket against Florida State. (March 11, 2012) Photo Credit: AP

Best team

North Carolina: The Tar Heels retained a No. 1 seed despite being upset by Florida State in Sunday's ACC Tournament championship game. One of the most experienced and talented teams in the field, UNC went 29-5 en route to the ACC regular-season title. Injuries, however, could hurt the Tar Heels in the tourney. The status of injured John Henson (left wrist), the ACC Defensive Player of the Year, will be key to their chances of making it to the Sweet 16 and beyond. The 6-11 forward averaged 14.1 points, 10.3 rebounds and 2.9 blocks.

Best big man

Thomas Robinson, Kansas: Forced to wait his turn behind other Jayhawks bigs, Robinson finally came into his own and left his mark on the Big 12. The 6-10 forward was the unanimous conference Player of the Year, averaging 18 points and a league-high 11.9 rebounds.

Best guard/play maker

Kendall Marshall, North Carolina: Don't blink or you might miss one of Marshall's full-court passes or a lob to his big men. The sophomore point guard, who now holds the ACC single-season record for assists (311), has tremendous court vision and is one of the most exciting guards to watch.

Best player you've never heard of

Doug McDermott, Creighton: The sophomore forward, ranked third in the nation in scoring (23.2), was named the Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year and the tournament's Most Outstanding Player after setting a school record in points (765). McDermott played with UNC's Harrison Barnes at powerhouse Ames (Iowa) High, where they won 53 straight games.

Best go-to guy

Harrison Barnes, North Carolina: The small forward can dismantle defenses inside the paint or from the perimeter. Already on NBA scouts' must-watch lists, the 6-8 sophomore is a game-changer for the Tar Heels. Barnes leads the team in scoring (17.4 ppg) and averages 5.1 rebounds and 39.6 percent from three-point range.

Best bet to spring an upset

Belmont: The 14th-seeded Bruins are riding a 14-game winning streak, which could spell trouble for their second-round opponent, third-seeded Georgetown. Belmont (27-7), which tested Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium in November, is fourth in the nation in scoring, averaging 81.5 points and fifth in the country in assists (17.4).

Best matchup

(1) North Carolina vs. (2) Kansas: If there are no crazy upsets in the Midwest, the Tar Heels and Jayhawks could be headed on a crash course for the regional finals. Both teams have outstanding guard play, plus it'll be interesting to see which big man comes out on top, UNC center Tyler Zeller or Kansas' Robinson.

Best coaching matchup

Roy Williams (UNC) vs. Bill Self (Kansas): Hall of Famer Roy Williams has won two national championships and has coached his teams to seven Final Fours over the past 24 years. Self, on the other hand, has established himself as one of the top coaches in the game since taking over the Jayhawks' program after Williams' departure in 2003. The last time these two teams met, Kansas bested UNC, 84-66, in the 2008 Final Four.

Final Four prediction

Syracuse, Missouri, Kansas and Kentucky.

The Wildcats have the toughest road to New Orleans, but they also have the most weapons.

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