2022 Midwest Region Breakdown: March Madness Bracket Of Death?

Written By Brett Gibbons on March 14, 2022 - Last Updated on March 18, 2022
Midwest Region

The field of 68 is set and March Madness is just about underway. Let’s look at Midwest Region bracket odds, past results, and what to expect from this year’s field. Generally, the Midwest region features the third-strongest No. 1 seed– in this year’s case, Kansas– but also a tougher No. 2 seed (this year, Auburn, the top two seed).

This year, the Midwest region final and semifinal– the Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight– will be played at United Center in Chicago. The Sweet Sixteen takes place on March 25 and the Elite Eight on March 27.

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Midwest Region Bracket Odds To Reach Final Four

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The Bracket

Midwest Region Bracket Breakdown

The Favorites

Kansas: The Jayhawks (28-6) are the third-overall seed in the NCAA Tournament and have the best odds in the Midwest region bracket to make the Final Four. For good reason– guard Ochai Agbaji is one of the nation’s most prolific scorers (19.7 points per game) and Kansas is sixth overall in KenPom. They’re tied for the most quadrant one wins in the nation (nine). Of course, the championship experience with Bill Self and the rest of the coaching staff at Kansas matters.

Auburn: Auburn (27-5) is the highest overall two seed in the bracket and has more quadrant one wins than Arizona. Though they fizzled out in the SEC Tournament against Texas A&M, the Tigers are one of the most intriguing teams in the tournament. Potential first-overall pick Jabari Smith (17.1 points, 7.0 rebounds per game) is one of the best players in the nation. He and teammate Walker Kessler (11.7 points, 8.2 rebounds per game) are on the John Wooden Award ballot this season.

The Contenders

Iowa: Oddsmakers like the draw Iowa was dealt on Sunday, giving the fifth-seed Hawkeyes better odds to make the Final Four than Duke (a two seed), every three seed but Tennessee, and every four seed. Iowa could draw two double-digit seeds in the first two rounds. While nothing is guaranteed, every team in the tournament would welcome that path. Should they not draw a double-digit seed in the Round of 32, they’d face Providence. That isn’t so bad either.

The Longshots

South Dakota State: South Dakota State should be thanking the Selection Committee for their draw in the Round of 64. The Jackrabbits are the shortest underdogs against a four seed as a 13 seed since at least 2002. Should they complete the upset, they could be looking at a showdown with Iowa– a team that’s struggled defensively– setting up South Dakota State with a reasonable path to the Sweet Sixteen. Are we crowning them there? Not yet. But for all of the 13 seeds in this bracket, their path to a multi-round run is among the more realistic.

The Pretenders

Wisconsin: The Badgers are extremely lucky to be playing their first two rounds in Milwaukee just miles from Madison. KenPom has Wisconsin tagged 34th overall, by far the lowest among the No. 3 seeds (by 20 spots) and our own Eli Hershkovich has Wisconsin outside the top 20 in his power rankings. Despite having seven quadrant one wins this season, the Badgers have fallen flat many, many times.

Providence: Could the Friars be on the cusp of defying all expectations? Maybe. But sportsbooks have these guys pinned. As mentioned, they’re the shortest four seed favorite against a 13 seed in the NCAA Tournament since at least 2002. KenPom has Providence barely inside the top 50 (49th), setting up maybe one of the most telegraphed upsets in this year’s tournament.

How I’m Drawing Up The Midwest Region Bracket

Since it’s March Madness, I’m looking at this region in terms of bracket pool rather than bet slip. Auburn is a really enticing choice for the Final Four. They’re a top-two seed in the tournament (some argue should have been one) and face the third-ranked one seed, Kansas. They hit the bracket jackpot landing in the same region as Wisconsin and Providence– both teams I could see being bounced in the Round of 64.

LSU has a nice path to the Sweet Sixteen this year, as they face Iowa State (48th in KenPom) and then the winner of Wisconsin/Colgate, but with coaching turnover, this is a dicy proposition. Another way I’m looking to get different in bracket pools is a multi-round run with South Dakota State. The Jackrabbits can run toe-to-toe with Iowa in scoring, a problem for the Big Ten champs. In their nine losses this season, Iowa surrendered 75+ in six of them (and another three between 70-74). South Dakota State is 18th nationally in scoring.

Other Region Breakdowns:

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Written by
Brett Gibbons

Brett is an avid sports traveler and former Division-I football recruiter for Bowling Green and Texas State. He’s a graduate of BGSU and works as an auditor for Google content curation products. He’s also contributed to Sports Illustrated and Fansided during his young writing career.

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