How will the West be won this year? We’re about to find out now that it’s March.
There will be no NCAA tournament games played on the West Coast in 2021 as the entire tourney will be played in the state of Indiana. But the West will be well-represented in this year’s Big Dance.
Gonzaga has been atop odds boards to win the 2021 NCAA Div. 1 men’s basketball National Championship for months. Here, we’ll look at the odds for the Bulldogs, break down the seeding in the West Region bracket, and examine the history of this March Madness region.
2021 NCAA Tournament: West Region Bracket odds
Here are West Region bracket odds for the first round of the 2021 NCAA tournament.
16. Norfolk St./App St.
12. UC Santa Barbara
11. Wichita St./Drake
14. Eastern Washington
15. Grand Canyon
West Region: What happened last time?
Texas Tech was the winner of the West Region in 2019 as it toppled 1 seed Gonzaga in the Elite 8, 75-69. The Red Raiders then beat Michigan State in the National semi-finals before losing to Virginia in the National Championship game, 85-77 in overtime.
The West was chalk in 2019 as far as the Regional Final goes as 2 seed Michigan and 4 seed Florida State joined Gonzaga and Texas Tech.
First round upsets in the West two years ago included No. 12 Murray State upending No. 5 Marquette, No. 10 Florida dumping No. 7 Nevada, and No. 9 Baylor beating No. 8 Syracuse.
The 2019 West Regional semi-finals and final was held in Anaheim, California.
West Region History: First Round upsets
The West Region has had some of the more memorable first round upsets in March Madness history. In 2001, No. 15 Hampton toppled No. 2 Iowa State. Another 15 over 2 seed upset in the West occurred in 2012 when Norfolk State stunned Missouri.
The West has also had 14 seeds take down 3 seeds as Harvard did the deed in 2013 with a win over New Mexico, and in 2015 Georgia State shocked Baylor.
Here are more upsets that took place in the West over the past 21 years:
- 2019: No. 12 Murray State over No. 5 Marquette, No. 10 Florida over No. 7 Nevada, No. 9 Baylor over No. 8 Syracuse
- 2018: No. 9 over No. 8 Missouri
- 2017: No. 11 Xavier over No. 6 Maryland
- 2016: No. 12 Yale over No. 5 Baylor, No. 11 Northern Iowa over No. 6 Texas, No. 10 VCU over No. 7 Oregon State
- 2015: No. 14 Georgia State over No. 3 Baylor, No. 10 Ohio State over No. 7 Virginia Commonwealth
- 2014: No. 12 North Dakota State over No. 5 Oklahoma
- 2013: No. 14 Harvard over No. 3 New Mexico, No. 13 La Salle over No. 4 Kansas State, No. 12 Mississippi over No. 5 Wisconsin, No. 10 Iowa State over No. 7 Notre Dame, No. 9 Wichita State over No. 8 Pittsburgh
- 2012: No. 15 Norfolk State over No. 2 Missouri, No. 9 Saint Louis over No. 8 Memphis
- 2011: None
- 2010: No. 13 Murray State over No. 4 Vanderbilt
- 2009: No. 10 Maryland over No. 7 California, No. 9 Texas A&M over No. 8 BYU
- 2008: No. 13 San Diego over No. 4 UConn, No. 12 Western Kentucky over No. 5 Drake, No. 9 Texas A&M over No. 8 BYU
- 2007: No. 11 VCU over No. 6 Duke
- 2006: No. 13 Bradley over No. 4 Kansas, No. 10 Alabama over No. 7 Marquette, No. 9 Bucknell over No. 8 Arkansas
- 2005: None
- 2004: None
- 2003: No. 11 Central Michigan over No. 6 Creighton, No. 10 Arizona State over No. 7 Memphis, No. 9 Gonzaga over No. 8 Cincinnati
- 2002: No. 12 Missouri over No. 5 Miami, No. 11 Wyoming over No. 6 Gonzaga
- 2001: No. 15 Hampton over No. 2 Iowa State, No. 13 Kent State over No. 4 Indiana, No. 11 Georgia State over No. 3 Maryland, No. 10 Georgetown over No. 7 Arkansas, No. 9 St. Joe’s over No. 8 Georgia Tech
- 2000: No. 10 Gonzaga over No. 7 Louisville
NCAA Champions from the West Region
The West Region has had the longest drought when it comes to having a team win it all. Kemba Walker’s 2011 UConn Huskies were the last team from the West Region to cut down the nets in early April. UConn accomplished the feat that season as a 3 seed.
The Huskies, despite being an East Coast school, have had great success whenever they’ve been placed in the West. UConn also captured the title in 2004 and 1999 after coming out of the West.
The 1995 UCLA Bruins and 1990 UNLV Runnin’ Rebels are the only other two programs to win the championship out of the West Region in the past 31 years. The West has produced the least amount of champions (five) out of any NCAA tournament region during that time.
Here is a list of NCAA tournament champions over the past three decades.
|2020||*Tournament canceled due to COVID-19 pandemic||N/A||N/A|
How the West Region is selected
Thirty-two NCAA teams receive automatic bids into the NCAA tournament. The rest of the field is chosen by the NCAA Div. 1 men’s basketball “Selection Committee,” headed by Kentucky athletic director Mitch Barnhart. The committee chooses at-large teams via their season record, strength of schedule, scoring margin, location of wins and losses, net offensive and defensive efficiency, and quality of wins and losses.
Top teams will be placed in tournament regions that are geographically close to where they are from. Teams that barely squeak into the tourney might have to do some traveling.