2023 NCAA Tournament: Midwest Region preview, schedule, best bets, more

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Texas is a threat in the Midwest region of the NCAA Tournament
Interim Texas head coach Rodney Terry, bottom, celebrates with Texas forward Dillon Mitchell (23) after Texas won the Big 12 Conference tournament championship NCAA college basketball game against Kansas Saturday, March 11, 2023, in Kansas City, Mo. Texas won 75-56. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

March Madness is here and the 2023 NCAA Tournament first-round action is just days away. We’ll walk you through every region, the biggest names, the best matchups, and our best bets. 

We started with the East Region, then headed West, and then South, so now we finish with the Midwest region of the NCAA tournament. 


States: MA, OH, MD, NY, KS, LA, AZ, CO, IA, IL, IN, MI, NJ, PA, TN, VA, WV

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Midwest Region Schedule

First Four 

No. 11 Mississippi State (2112) vs. No. 11 Pittsburgh (2211)

  • Date: Tuesday, March 14, 2023
  • Time: 9:10 p.m. ET
  • Location: UD Arena in Dayton, Ohio
  • Channel: truTV

First Round

Date Time Teams Channel
Thu, March 16 6:50 p.m. ET

No. 8 Iowa (19–13) vs. No. 9 Auburn (20–12)

Thu, March 16 7:25 p.m. ET No. 2 Texas (26–8) vs. No. 15 Colgate (26–8) TBS
Thu, March 16 9:20 p.m. ET No. 16 Northern Kentucky (22–12) vs. No. 1 Houston (31–3) TNT
Thu, March 16 9:55 p.m. ET No. 7 Texas A&M (25–9) vs. No. 10 Penn State (22–13) TBS
Fri, March 17 12:40 p.m. ET

No. 3 Xavier (25–9) vs. No. 14 Kennesaw State (26–8)

Fri, March 17 3:15 p.m. ET No. 6 Iowa State (19–13) vs. Play-in Winner truTV
Fri, March 17 7:25 p.m. ET No. 5 Miami (25–7) vs. No. 12 Drake (27–7) TBS
Fri, March 17 9:55 p.m. ET No. 4 Indiana (22–11) vs. No. 13 Kent State (28–6) TBS
Trayce Jackson-Davis is one of the best players in the Midwest Region of the NCAA tournament
Indiana’s Trayce Jackson-Davis (23) pumps up the crowd after scoring during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Maryland at the Big Ten men’s ncaa tournament, Friday, March 10, 2023, in Chicago. Indiana won 70-60. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Midwest Region Best Matchups

No. 5 Miami vs No. 12 Drake: 

So we get to see a popular Cinderella pick in Drake go up against a potentially overrated team in Miami? Love that from the selection committee. Drake ranks 66th in KenPom rankings with the 44th-best defense and the country’s third-highest defensive rebounding rate. Playing good defense and dominating the glass is a great way to score an upset.

When you also add that Miami ranks just 40th overall in KenPom and has the 132nd-ranked defense, they seem like a prime target to get picked off by a Drake team that shoots 36.7% from beyond the arc this year. Miami’s best interior player, Norchad Omier, injured his ankle in the ACC tournament, which is just yet another knock against their chances.


No. 7 Texas A&M vs No. 10 Penn State

These teams are super close in KenPo’s rankings with A&M coming in at 25th in the country and Penn State rankings 39th. However, Penn State has been playing better basketball of late and lost by just two points to Purdue in the Big Ten Conference tournament. The Nittany Lions’ upset bid will depend on their 17th-ranked offense by KenPom’s efficiency metric) and their three-point shooting, since they made the 3rd-most three-pointers per game of any team in the country. Their defense ranks just 101st by KenPom though, so they may need this to be high-scoring to have a chance. 


Midwest Region Best Players

Trayce Jackson-Davis – Center, Indiana

Trayce Jackson-Davis is simply one of the best big men in the country. He’s one of only three players averaging a double-double in the NCAA tournament with 20.8 points, 10.9 rebounds, 4.1 assists, and 2.7 blocks per game. Those are crazy well-balanced numbers. He can absolutely take over a game, but he’s also the focal point for every defense, so Indiana needs to hit their shots in order to keep the defense spaced for him to operate inside. 


Jarace Walker – Forward, Houston

Yes, Marcus Sasser is the leading scorer for Houston, but it’s hard to not call a potential top-10 NBA pick one of the best players in the region. Walker won AAC Freshman of the Year by averaging 11.1 points, 6.6 rebounds, 1.7 steals, and 1.0 blocks per game while shooting 47.1% from the field and 34.4% from three. He’s a problem. 


Marcus Carr – Guard, Texas

Carr may not have gaudy numbers, but he is the driving force behind a Texas team that is a real threat to make the Final Four. He averaged 15.9 points, 4.1 assists, 3.0 rebounds, and 1.7 steals per game while shooting 48% from the field and 36% from beyond the arc. If he’s feeling it and causing havoc on the defensive end, Texas can beat anybody in this region. 

Jarace Walker is one of the best players in the Midwest Region of the NCAA tournament
Houston forward Jarace Walker (25) reacts after a dunk as Cincinnati guard David DeJulius (5) looks on during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in the semifinals of the American Athletic Conference Tournament, Saturday, March 11, 2023, in Fort Worth, Texas. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)

Midwest Region Pick to Advance


I mean, Houston is the number one team in the nation by KenPom and lost just three games all year. They boast the 11th-ranked offense and 4th-ranked defense and have a collection of tremendous talent in Marcus Sasser, Tramon Mark, Jaraxe Walker, and J’Wan Roberts. Sasser’s health could be a concern deep in the tournament, but this team is talented enough to get to the Final Four even if he’s banged up. 

For more NCAA tournament coverage, visit amNY Sports