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The Brewery

A gathering place for sports analysis and opinion with Seattle Times sports columnist Jerry Brewer.

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March 20, 2013 at 2:33 PM

NCAA tournament overview: Midwest Region

Last in our Big Dance series.
Previous: South Region, West Region, East Region.

At first glance

This is a very difficult region for No. 1 overall seed Louisville. No. 2 Duke and No. 3 Michigan State are capable of winning the entire tournament, and No. 4 Saint Louis is playing great basketball and has become a popular pick to advance far in this tournament.

The Cardinals should have a relatively easy time advancing to the Sweet 16, but that’s when it gets interesting, especially if Saint Louis and the winner of the potential Duke/Michigan State game are waiting on them in Indianapolis.

This region is blessed with great point guards, and the teams have vastly different playing styles. It should make for some incredible matchups.

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March 20, 2013 at 11:05 AM

NCAA tournament overview: East Region

Third in our Big Dance series. Previous: South Region, West Region.
Coming soon: Midwest Region overview.

At first glance

The top two seeds in this region, Indiana and Miami, have been two of the more consistent teams in an inconsistent year of college hoops. They’re clearly the best two teams in the East, but the next four seeds – Marquette, Syracuse, UNLV and Butler – are dangerous if they’re on their game.

This might be the region to bet chalk on most of the games.

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March 19, 2013 at 3:53 PM

NCAA tournament overview: West Region

Second in our Big Dance series. Previous: South Region.
Coming soon: East and Midwest Region overviews.

At first glance

It’s Gonzaga vs. the thumpers in this region. The top-seeded Zags may have lucked out by being placed the weakest region on paper, but when you take a closer look, they might have to face some of the most rugged and underrated teams in the Big Dance. Their potential round of 32 matchup against the Pittsburgh/Wichita State winner could be the most challenging of all the No. 1 seeds. Then, if the seeds hold, they could face Kansas State or Wisconsin in the Sweet 16 and Ohio State in the Elite Eight. You might consider this region easier than the others, but it isn’t easy by any means. If the Zags survive and advance, they’ll have the bruise marks to prove it.

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March 17, 2013 at 9:54 PM

NCAA tournament overview: South Region

For the Monday newspaper, I was assigned to do this first look at the South Region of the NCAA tournament. I’ll post that here and use the same format to give you my initial thoughts on the other three regions over the next two days.

At first glance

Six weeks ago, Kansas, Georgetown, Florida and Michigan were all legitimate contenders for No. 1 seeds. Now, they’re in the same region, making it a tough road to the Final Four.

That quartet had its troubles, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see any of those teams exit early, especially when you consider the depth in the South Region. When young-but-talented traditional powers UCLA and North Carolina are seeded sixth and eighth, respectively, you know you’re in a difficult region.

Don’t sleep on No. 5 VCU, No. 7 San Diego State, No. 11 Minnesota or No. 13 South Dakota State. This unpredictable region might destroy many brackets.

The South is a region of contrasting defensive styles, from VCU’s fullcourt pressure to Kansas’ suffocating man-to-man to Minnesota’s ball-line defense. Georgetown, Florida, San Diego State and UCLA are also among the best defensive teams in the nation, according to college hoops stats maven Ken Pomeroy. In a year of low scores across college basketball, the team that triumphs in the South will have to win ugly.

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March 12, 2013 at 3:38 PM

Extra points: Percy Harvin deal continues Seahawks’ trend of spending the most on offense

Related column: Bold Seahawks make statement with Percy Harvin tradeThere was one point I wanted to make in today’s Harvin column that I wound up axing because it was too much of a tangent. So, let’s discuss it here.

It’s about how the Seahawks have used their resources with John Schneider and Pete Carroll in charge. Here are the exact words omitted from today’s piece:

Looking at how the Seahawks have built this contender, they have spent big on offense and used the draft mostly to create that oversized, aggressive defense. Their biggest acquisitions through trade and free agency have been for the offense, most notably wide receiver Sidney Rice, running back Marshawn Lynch and tight end Zach Miller. But all of those additions were productive players in their mid-20s who still had room to grow with a young team.

Even when you consider the draft, the Seahawks have used a large portion of their highest picks on offense under Schneider. The list of offensive players taken in the first three rounds of the past three drafts: left tackle Russell Okung, wide receiver Golden Tate, tackle/guard John Carpenter, guard John Moffitt and, of course, quarterback Russell Wilson. Schneider also leveraged some high draft assets to take an ill-fated chance on quarterback Charlie Whitehurst.

No matter how you look at it, building the offense has come at a high cost for the Seahawks. The defense has been built on scouting gem after scouting gem, which is perhaps a result of the collaboration between Carroll, the defensive guru who knows what he wants, and Schneider, the GM who values every pick he makes.

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March 11, 2013 at 5:00 AM

Guess who’s back?

That would be me, the erstwhile manager of this fickle blog. Where have I been? Right here, of course, writing my column at least three times a week. I’ve been focusing on that, along with this new radio gig with the wonderful Elise Woodward that you may have heard about, as well as teaching a…

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