One could make the case that the entire 2021 NCAA men’s basketball tournament will take place in the “Midwest Region.”
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all March Madness games this year will be played in the state of Indiana. Of course, Indiana is the epicenter of Midwest basketball.
Nonetheless, the Big Dance will be broken down into four regions per usual. Here we will look at the 2021 Midwest field, odds for region, and the region’s history.
2021 NCAA Tournament: Midwest Region Bracket odds
Here are Midwest Region bracket odds for the 2021 NCAA tournament.
8. Loyola Chicago
9. Georgia Tech
12. Oregon St.
4. Oklahoma St.
6. San Diego St.
3. West Virginia
14. Morehead St.
15. Cleveland St.
Midwest Region: What happened last time?
Auburn, the 5 seed, emerged as the Midwest Region champ in 2019, beating Kentucky 77-71 in OT in the Regional Final. What the Tigers accomplished two years ago was mighty impressive considering they had to topple traditional college basketball powers like Kansas, North Carolina and Kentucky along the way. The Jayhawks, Tar Heels and Wildcats all had better seeds than Auburn.
The Tigers’ journey ended on Final Four Saturday as they were edged by eventual National Champion Virginia, 63-62. As far as upsets in the Midwest in 2019, No. 11 Ohio State pulled off the biggest stunner – knocking off No. 6 Iowa State in the first round. No. 9 Washington also beat No. 8 Utah State.
The 2019 Regional semi-finals and final was played in Kansas City.
Midwest Region history: First round upsets
Call this the “feast or famine region” when it comes to upsets. In 2015, for instance, the region did not have a single first round upset. The next year, 2016, a 15 knocked off a 2 seed, a 12 beat a 5, an 11 toppled a 6, a 10 beat a 7 and a 9 upended an 8.
Middle Tennessee was the 15 seed in the Midwest in that crazy tournament five years ago. They toppled No. 2 seed Michigan State.
In the past 21 years, there have also been two 14 seeds that have shocked the world. Mercer took down No. 3 seeded Duke in 2014 and No. 14 Ohio upset No. 3 Georgetown in 2010. The Midwest region has been kind to Ohio as two years after the Bobcats beat the Hoyas, they knocked off Michigan as a 13 seed.
Here is a list of upsets in the Midwest since 2000:
- 2019: No. 11 Ohio State over Iowa State, No. 9 Washington over No. 8 Utah State
- 2018: No. 11 Syracuse over No. 6 TCU
- 2017: No. 11 Rhode Island over No. 6 Creighton, No. 9 Michigan State over No. 8 Miami
- 2016: No. 15 Middle Tennessee over No. 2 Michigan State, No. 12 Little Rock over No. 5 Purdue, No. 11 Gonzaga over No. 6 Seton Hall, No. 10 Syracuse over No. 7 Dayton, No. 9 Butler over No. 8 Texas Tech
- 2015: None
- 2014: No. 14 Mercer over No. 3 Duke, No. 11 Tennessee over No. 6 UMass
- 2013: No. 12 Oregon over No. 5 Oklahoma State
- 2012: No. 13 Ohio over No. 4 Michigan, No. 12 South Florida over No. 5 Temple, No. 11 North Carolina State over No. 6 San Diego State, No. 10 Purdue over Saint Mary’s
- 2011*: N/A
- 2010: No. 14 Ohio over No. 3 Georgetown, No. 10 Georgia Tech over No. 7 Oklahoma State, No. 9 Northern Iowa over No. 8 UNLV
- 2009: No. 13 Cleveland State over No. 4 Wake Forest, No. 12 Arizona over No. 5 Utah, No. 11 Dayton over No. 6 West Virginia, No. 10 USC over No. 7 Boston College, No. 9 Siena over No. 8 Ohio State
- 2008: No. 13 Siena over No. 4 Vanderbilt, No. 12 Villanova over No. 5 Clemson, No. 11 Kansas State over No. 6 USC, No. 10 Davidson over No. 7 Gonzaga
- 2007: No. 11 Winthrop over No. 6 Notre Dame, No. 9 Purdue over No. 8 Arizona
- 2006: No. 12 Montana over No. 5 Nevada, No. 11 UW-Milwaukee over No. 6 Oklahoma
- 2005: No. 12 UW-Milwaukee over No. 5 Alabama, No. 11 UAB over No. 6 LSU, No. 9 Nevada over No. 8 Texas
- 2004: No. 12 Pacific over No. 5 Providence, No. 10 Nevada over No. 7 Michigan State, No. 9 UAB over No. 8 Washington
- 2003: No. 13 Tulsa over No. 4 Dayton, No. 9 Utah over No. 8 Oregon
- 2002: No. 12 Creighton over No. 5 Florida
- 2001: No. 10 Butler over No. 7 Wake Forest, No. 9 Charlotte over No. 8 Tennessee
- 2000: None
*In 2011, the NCAA Div. 1 men’s basketball tournament did not feature a traditional Midwest Region. It instead had an East, West, Southeast and Southwest Region.
NCAA Champions from the Midwest Region
There have been eight NCAA champions from the Midwest Region since 1990, tied for the second most. The South Region has produced nine title teams and the East Region has also had eight teams win it all in that time.
It has been a while since the NCAA champ came from the Midwest. You’d have to go back to 2013 when Louisville won it all.
The “glory years” for the region came in the 2000s when teams from the Midwest won three titles in a row. The Florida Gators won in 2006 and 2007, and then Kansas cut the nets in 2008.
Here is a list of March Madness champions by region and seed going back to 1990:
|2020||*Tournament canceled due to COVID-19 pandemic||N/A||N/A|
How the Midwest Region is selected
Seeding is the first priority for the Selection Committee each year. For instance if there are four clear-cut No. 1 seeds but two of them are from East Coast, one is from the South and the other is from the West Coast – an East Coast team might wind up as the top seed in the Midwest Region.
Typically, though – the Midwest is represented at the top of the bracket by a team geographically close to the Midwest. For instance, Kansas was the top seed in 2017 and 2018 and Wichita State was the 1 seed in 2014.