NCAAB: Previewing NCAA Tournament Midwest Region - Do we doubt Purdue?

darren cooper
Darren Cooper
NCAA Basketball Sports News


  • Purdue is the top seed in the NCAA Tournament Midwest Region after winning the Big 10 regular season title and features 7-foot-4 big man Zach Edey.
  • The Boilermakers were the second No. 1 seed to lose to a 16 seed last year in the first round when they lost to Fairleigh Dickinson.
  • SEC regular season champ Tennessee is the 2 seed in the Midwest Region, followed by Creighton and Kansas.

Purdue has been a punchline since last year’s NCAA Tournament flop, this year, they’re back on the top line in the Midwest Region.

After a stunning loss to Fairleigh Dickinson in the first round last year, Purdue ran through the Big 10, powered by Zach Edey and guard Braden Smith and finds themselves right back where they were in 2023.

Michigan Sportsbooks are good every time of year, but especially during March Madness. BetMGM will have odds on each of the four region winners. Caesars will list spreads and props on each game as we count down to the Final Four in Phoenix April 6 and 8.

We’ve got your preview on the Midwest Region which includes some rogue Cowboys, someone Great and the Zips.

What Do the Oddsmakers Say? 

Purdue has been the most consistent team in America this season and is one of the favorites to win the NCAA title. The Boilermakers are +600 at DraftKings and +650 at BetMGM.

The Boilermakers were just the second team ever to lose in the first round as a one seed. It happened to Virginia back in 2018. The next year, Virginia won the NCAA title. Purdue is hoping for that kind of turnaround.

FanDuel has Purdue +170 to win the Midwest and get to the Final Four, followed by Tennessee (+350) Creighton (+480) and traditional powers Kansas and Gonzaga (+1000).

Best First Round Game 

March Madness fans see the name and they remember. In 2022, St. Peter’s University out of Jersey City, New Jersey, rose up to beat second-seeded Kentucky, then the seven seed, then the three seed, reaching the Elite Eight as a No. 15 seed, the lowest seeded team to ever get so far.

The Peacocks are in a familiar spot, having won the MAAC championship and still have one real contributor from two years ago, Latrell Reid, the MAAC Defensive Player of the Year.

Reid will likely match up against Tennessee star Dalton Knecht, who has played his way into the NBA Draft Lottery after a big season. Tennessee is the 2 seed in this bracket. Yes, another SEC team, just like in 2022. The Vols won the SEC regular season title, but stumbled in the SEC Tournament. They’ve never had a ton of success in the NCAA Tournament.

St. Peter’s is 20-11 against the spread this year, while the Vols are just 16-15-1.

Made In The Midwest 

It’s stunning to see both Kansas and Gonzaga seeded so low. The Zags are in the tournament for a 25th straight year, which is the second longest active streak behind only Michigan State. They get McNeese State out of Louisiana in the first round. The Cowboys have won a school record 30 games.

Kansas started the season as pre-season No. 1 but finished 10-8 in the Big 12 and have lost four of their last six. They meet Southern Conference champ Samford, who is led by Achor Achor. Samford lost to Purdue, of all people, by 43 points in the season opener, then later went on a 17-game win streak.

The 8/9 game is a Great one. Eighth-seeded Utah State is led by UK-born Great Osobor, who averaged 18 points a game. Ninth-seeded TCU started the season 7-0 playing against cupcakes, but is 13-11 since then, but they did beat contender Houston by a point. Creighton, the three seed, has allowed the fewest free throws by opponents in the nation at 343.

Born and raised in Louisiana, Darren Cooper has a fond appreciation for bayous, Mardi Gras beads and the sports betting industry. Darren has worked for multiple print and online publications since 1998, primarily as a sports columnist in the Northeast. He’s covered a Super Bowl (it was a blowout), the World Series (same) and the NBA Draft (man, those guys are tall). For the last few years he’s dug deep into the sports gambling industry as it exploded across America, learning how the legal sausage is made and how while all the sportsbooks look the same, they all have different identities and styles. He’s learned to always bet within his means -- and take the under. When not in front of his computer creating, Darren spends time with his three boys. He runs, reads and is always looking for the next big thing to write about.