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2016 NCAA Tournament: Initial reaction to the Midwest region

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The Zags got a good draw on first glance.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

It was a rather bizarre bracket this year. There are plenty of snubs, plenty of question marks, a two-hour show to reveal it all, and a leaked bracket to undercut said two-hour show.

Out of all of it, this is what we know: Gonzaga is a No. 11 seed in the Midwest Region, and at first glance, they got a pretty decent draw.

Gonzaga's first opponent is No. 6 Seton Hall in Denver. The location of the game will be a big draw for Gonzaga fans, channeling the solid alumni community in Denver. And well, Spokane is quite a bit closer to Denver than New Jersey is.

This matchup is either a good hit for the Zags, or will be a huge miss. Seton Hall is ranked No. 26 overall by Ken Pomeroy, largely on the strength of their defense. The Pirates are also one of the hotter teams coming into the NCAA Tournament. After dropping four of their first seven Big East opponent, Seton Hall finished out the season 12-2, winning the Big East Conference Tournament.

Overall, the matchup against Seton Hall is pretty simple to break down. Their guards are better than our guards, but our frontcourt is much better than theirs. The Zags will have to stay focused on defense, while creating havoc in the frontcourt. With the way Gonzaga has played as of late, it seems highly probable.

If Gonzaga makes it past that round, one other thing to take into account is the Zags will most likely play Utah. The second game, up in that mile high air, will be a factor to watch if it comes to that. Gonzaga runs a short squad and can ill afford to have players running out of breath.

No matter how you cut it, Utah is a tough draw. The Utes are anchored by Jakob Poeltl down low, and watching him and Domantas Sabonis battle it out will be one of the best player matchups in the second round. Utah is an experience squad who are great at shooting the ball, but they do have some deficiencies in three-point defense. It isn't that much of a stretch to see Gonzaga pulling the upset there. It also is pretty easy to envision a situation where Utah takes down Gonzaga in a methodical manner.

After that, if there even is an after, things will get a bit difficult. The Zags also drew the No. 2 Michigan State Spartans, who were early and roundly known as the team that should be a No. 1 seed.

So cool, we got the region with two No. 1 seeds basically. So it goes. Realistically, if Gonzaga is able to make any noise in this NCAA Tournament, a run to the Sweet 16 has to be considered a success. Considering the situation this team was in just four weeks ago, it seemed like the NCAA Tournament streak might be in jeopardy. Now the Zags have a chance to validate themselves and this team, and perhaps capture the nation's hearts again as the little team out of Spokane wearing slippers to the big dance.

Here is the rest of the Midwest region.