The Oregon Ducks are the No. 1 seed in the West Region but they’re not even favored to win the quadrant. And while they’re one of the four No. 1 seeds in the 2016 NCAA Tournament, they’re actually sixth in line to win it all behind Kansas (+500), Michigan State (+500), North Carolina (+700), Kentucky (+1000) and Virginia (+1200).
Are we sleeping on the Ducks, who are at +325 in the West and +1400 overall?
Sleeping is something that many people have been doing while the Ducks are playing this season as their start times are late for those on the east coast. They’re one of the hottest teams entering the tournament as they’ve won 14 of their last 16, which includes wins over Arizona (twice), Utah (twice), UCLA (twice) and USC (twice).
However, the skeptics would point to their lackluster defense: the Ducks are ranked 50th in Ken Pomeroy’s adjusted defensive efficiency rankings. Only one team has won March Madness since 2002 while being outside the top 20 of those rankings.
Oklahoma (+225) is the favorite in the West as many people felt they were very close to earning a No. 1 seed throughout the year. They’re led by Buddy Hield, the Wooden Award candidate who has been one of the best players in the country this season. They have the 20th-most efficient offense and 11th-most efficient defense, so they offer more balance than the Ducks.
If it’s not the top two, though, teams like Duke (+450), Texas A&M (+600), Texas (+750) and Baylor (+1000) are all going to make a case.
Duke is having a down year, as evidenced their No. 4 seed. Their defense is vulnerable and their bench is short, but they’re stocked with two of the best players in the region – Grayson Allen and Brandon Ingram – and they can score on anyone.
Texas – now led by head coach Shaka Smart – is a team that could be worth sleeper consideration. They did get roughed up down the stretch, going 4-5 in their last nine, but each of those losses was to a team ranked in the Top 25. This is a team that can beat anyone as evidenced by what they did in the regular season. They have wins over West Virginia, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Iowa State and Baylor.
Speaking of Baylor, they’re at 10/1 to win the region but keep in mind that Scott Drew has led them to the Sweet 16 along with a pair of Elite Eight berths since 2010.
In other words, the West is wide open and should produce some of the most entertaining matchups we’ll see in the NCAA Tournament.