CHAMPAIGN IL - FEBRUARY 13: Brandon Paul #3 of the Illinois Fighting Illini blocks a layup by E'Twaun Moore #33 of the Purdue Boilermakers at Assembly Hall on February 13 2011 in Champaign Illinois. Purdue defeated Illinois 81-70. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Big Ten teams in region: There are two Big Ten teams in this region. Those teams are the Purdue Boilermakers and the Illinois Fighting Illini. Purdue is a three seed and Illinois is a nine seed. Illinois would probably have to play Kansas in the third round if they win their first game. Purdue would probably face off with Georgetown if they win their first game. Georgetown creates an interesting matchup with Purdue, depending on if they have their best player back from injury or not.
Which Big Ten team is likely to go the farthest in the region: Obviously, I believe this would be Purdue. Illinois would have to face number one seeded Kansas in the third round and that is just not something I see a struggling Illinois team winning. Purdue has a great chance to advance to the Elite Eight this year, if they get back on track. The two seed in the region is Notre Dame. Purdue matches up really well with Notre Dame, it would be a great game. Purdue and Notre Dame potentially could meet up in the Sweet 16 but both should not overlook the teams they have to play to get there, there are some tough potential match-ups. If Purdue gets to the Elite Eight, it will be very difficult for them to get to the Final Four if they run into Kansas. They will hope that Kansas gets upset by Louisville, which I believe is Kansas's best chance to get upset in the region before the Elite Eight. If Purdue plays Louisville, Purdue would have a good shot at the Final Four and a great shot at advancing the national title game as the Southeast Region is very weak, and Purdue should not be afraid of any of the teams that could potentially come out of the Southeast Region. The key for Purdue will just be surviving their region, if they get out of their region, anything can happen, as they could potentially face Ohio State in the championship game, a team they have already beaten this year.
Most likely upset: The most likely upset I see in this region is the 12-seeded Richmond Spiders over the fifth-seeded Vanderbilt Commodores. I see a potential matchup problem for Vanderbilt in this game. Beware of the Spiders, they beat Purdue earlier this year and are very capable of being dangerous when they chose to be.
Most intriguing first round matchup: The seventh-seeded Texas A&M Aggies against the ten-seeded Florida St. Seminoles is the most intriguing first round matchup in this region. Although you can make a case for Illinois and the UNLV Runnin' Rebels. I just see two defensive minded teams going at it in the Texas A&M vs. Florida State game. If A&M can produce the points to go with the defense in this tournament, they could potentially be a matchup problem with Notre Dame in the third round.
Most intriguing possible later round matchup: The most intriguing possible later round matchup in this one is Purdue against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Notre Dame has been known in Indiana to not want to play Purdue, so seeing these two teams come together as the two and three seeds, battling it out for a spot in the Elite Eight, would be very interesting to see. The edge would go to Purdue in that game, as most simulations have it. The Irish have no answer for JaJuan Johnson and they struggle against tough defensive teams. This is a potential storyline as well because Scott Martin of Notre Dame transferred from Purdue to Notre Dame. The Boilermakers could do some serious damage and make Martin wish he never transferred.
Best potential storyline: This region really has two. The first one was really stated above with Scott Martin taking on his old team, Purdue. The second best potential story line is Kansas Head Coach Bill Self taking on his old team, Illinois in the third round of the tournament. It would be a great, emotional game for him.
Most likely to win region: Obviously, everyone has Kansas coming out of this region and they are indeed favorite. I just don't see how you could pick against Kansas right now. Most of these teams in this region don't have an answer for the Morris twins. Kansas got a very favorable draw this year.
Team in the region that got a raw deal: I think it would have to be Florida State. They have ten. losses and are a 10 seed. I just don't see how this team ended up as a ten seed besides the fact that the committee already filled all the other seeds and they had no where to put them, so they ended up as a ten. This is a team that beat Duke. They are capable of a lot of things. Sure, they failed against some top ranked teams this year, but Florida State can be deadly. What really hurt them is they struggled down the stretch. This is the only logical pick to me in this region, that you could at least make an argument for.. I think everyone else got the seeds they deserved in this region.
Best team mascot: I am going to go with the Vanderbilt Commodores. It is the most unique in this region. A commodore is a military rank, for those of you who didn't know.
Feel-good story of region: The feel good story of this region is Notre Dame. After not being ranked in the preseason polls and being underrated to begin the season, the Irish fought their way into the top ten and are lead by five seniors. They got their school the highest seed it has been since the Digger era.