I was in shock. There was Villanova, sitting as the 2 seed in the South Region. What!?!? They were supposed to play in Philly!? They DESERVED to play in Philly!!! But there it was, we were in the South Region with Kansas, and that was that. MSU didn't get placed in the West because they're only a stones throw from Chicago. And I bet Kansas didn't get put there because the committee didn't want to put Kansas MSU before the Final Four.
But now that some time has passed and I've had some time to think about it... I'm still pissed. Not that we're in the South, or even that we're not in the East. I'm pissed that the committee thinks they can just throw the rules out and place people willy-nilly in whatever Region they choose. Why should they get to have all the fun? So in today's What If Wednesday, I ask you Nova Nation: What Region would you have wanted Nova to be the 2 seed in?
Likely Final 4 Path: UNC Asheville -> Iowa -> Miami -> Kansas
Possible Other Opponents: Temple, Arizona/Wichita State, Cal/Maryland
Locations: Brooklyn, Louisville
I'm not going to lie, this is a pretty great draw to the Sweet 16, if not all the way to the Final Four (and beyond?). UNC-A got blown out when playing teams on Nova's level this season, and Iowa is slipping into obscurity. Miami does pose a difficult match up for the Cats with a strong, veteran front court. But if Nova can reach the elite 8, they match up REALLY well against Kansas. I'm not saying it'd be a cakewalk by any means, but it's not bad compared to some of the draws they would have faced in previous seasons.
Likely Final 4 Path: Weber State, Wisconsin, West Virginia, North Carolina
Possible Other Opponents: Pitt, ND/Mich, Indiana/Kentucky
Locations: Brooklyn, Philadelphia
There's no place like home. Nova would have a shot at playing at the Wells Fargo Center where they went 2-1 this season and would have a home court advantage in the Sweet 16 and Elite 8, which is HUGE in college hoops. This is another bracket where I don't see a lot of problems keeping Nova from the Sweet 16, but even at home they could face tough tests in the next 2 rounds. West Virginia's press would give Nova problems. Nova does an ok job with the press now, but that WVU press is on another level, and teams that press generally don't like to have it come back at them. I still like Nova to win that game because of WVU's troubles scoring in a set offense, but it's closer than I'd like to admit. After that, UNC, Kentucky, and Indiana would all be tough match-ups for Nova. Big front courts backed by a star guard is not our forte. While I'd love to see them play at home, I don't think Nova makes the Final Four in the East.
Likely Final 4 Path: Middle Tennessee, Dayton, Utah, Virginia
Possible Other Opponents: Syracuse, Seton Hall/Gonzaga, Purdue
Locations: Brooklyn, Chicago
If a couple upsets went the right way, this could be Villanova's revenge bracket. Imagine that after disposing of MTSU, 'Nova got Syracuse, Seton Hall, and Virginia. A chance to reconcile some of their biggest losses in the last 2 seasons. Unfortunately, that's not the likely scenario. Nova probably would easily get to the Sweet 16 where they'd face a game that could go either way against Utah. If Nova hits 3's, Utah doesn't stand a chance. If they don't, they're out right there. But even if they get to the Elite 8, there's Virginia. Nova almost beat them on their home court, but I don't see how this game is anything but a toss-up that could come down to the last play. And in a toss-up, the advantage goes to the team with the best player. As much as I love Josh Hart, Virginia's Malcolm Brogdon is a pro.
Likely Final 4 Path: CSU Bakersfield, Oregon State, Texas A&M, Oregon
Possible Other Opponents: VCU, Texas/UNI, Duke/Baylor
Locations: Brooklyn, Anaheim
This region is full of bad match-ups for the cats. Solid front courts and speedy back courts don't play well in their favor. Again, I still see Nova reaching the Sweet 16, but then they'd face Texas A&M. As a team, they don't especially scare me, but Danuel House does. He's a 6-7 wing that can finish through contact, create fouls, and run rampant on a team's interior defense (AKA exactly what I think Paschal will be next year!!!). Even if Nova got by them, they'd face either the super speedy back-court of Oregon with insider information from Ennis, or the uber-athletic and long players of Baylor. Like I said, match-up nightmares.
After looking through all this, I do think that the Cats ended up in the Region that gives them the best shot at getting back to the Final Four. But enough of what I think, I put it to you Nova Nation. Which Region would you have liked to see the Wildcats play in?