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Arizona seeded first in West Regional

Nick Johnson #13 and T.J. McConnell #4 of

Nick Johnson #13 and T.J. McConnell #4 of the Arizona Wildcats celebrate on the bench late in their semifinal game of the Pac-12 basketball tournament against the Colorado Buffaloes at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on March 14, 2014 in Las Vegas. Credit: Getty Images / Ethan Miller

WEST

Best team: Arizona played its last 13 games without sophomore forward Brandon Ashley (11.5 ppg, 5.8 reb), who was lost for the season to a right foot injury. His absence didn't deter the Wildcats from going 10-3 without him or getting to the Pac-12 title game. Freshman forward Aaron Gordon, who does a little bit of everything, along with the emergence of 7-foot sophomore Kaleb Tarczewski make Arizona the team to beat in the West.

Possible stumbling blocks for the Wildcats could be Creighton, which can score on anyone, and a potential third-round matchup against Marcus Smart and Oklahoma State.

Best Big Man: Baylor's 7-1 sophomore Isaiah Austin played his best basketball of the season in the Big 12 Tournament, averaging 14 points and 3 blocks per game. His presence in the paint will make Nebraska think twice about dumping the ball inside.

Best Guard/Playmaker: Oklahoma State's Marcus Smart took a lot of heat for making contact with a fan during a loss at Texas Tech in February. He's been lights out since his return from a three-game suspension for the incident, averaging 18.7 points and 6 assists. More importantly, the Cowboys went 5-2 with him back, with wins over Kansas and Kansas State.

Best go-to-guy: Doug McDermott is the best scorer in the country, and he's had some of his best games against Creighton's top competition. He averaged 32.5 points in wins over NCAA Tournament teams Nebraska, Saint Joseph's, Tulsa, Providence, Xavier (twice) and Villanova (twice). McDermott isn't just a scorer. He can rebound (7.0), too.

Best player you've never heard of: BYU's Tyler Haws (23.4 ppg) was just as potent a scorer as Jimmer Fredette was. He gets far less publicity, but he will be a handful for Oregon.

Best bet for an upset: There are some who believe BYU didn't deserve an at-large bid. But non-conference wins over Stanford and Texas say otherwise. It's also worth mentioning that Oregon needed a big rally to beat BYU, 100-96, in overtime in the regular season.

Best matchup: The numbers say Baylor, at least offensively, is the better squad. But Nebraska's grind-it-out style has frustrated opponents all season. Both teams got hot late. Look for a tight finish.

Best coaching matchup: Baylor's Scott Drew has done a masterful job transforming a struggling program into a perennial NCAA contender. The same can be said of Nebraska coach Tim Miles, who has the Cornhuskers in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1998.

New York Sports