A look at the weakest of the four regions.

BEST PLAYERS

1. Creighton F Doug McDermott: The national player of the year is the closest thing to a Larry Bird-, Danny Manning-caliber one-man team in the country. Offensively, he's off the charts (26.9 points per game, 55 percent from the field). But even Bird and Manning had help getting to the Final Four.

2. Arizona G Nick Johnson: The Pac-12 player of the year averages 16.2 points and is even better defensively. He's also the Wildcats' leader and best clutch shooter. In Arizona's four losses, he was 19 of 66 from the field. But when he's on target, the Cats are close to unbeatable.

3. Oklahoma State G Marcus Smart: The sophomore began the season as a player of the year contender. Then he slumped, went into the stands after a fan, got suspended and — well, here we are. Smart has Lottery Pick talent, but what of his state of mind?

Just missed the cut: Wisconsin F Frank Kaminsky.

BEST COACHES

1. Wisconsin's Bo Ryan: The three-time Big Ten coach of the year has guided the Badgers to the Sweet 16 (or beyond) in five of their 12 appearances during his tenure. In a region stocked with top tacticians, he might be the best of the bunch.

2. Oregon's Dana Altman: Nobody's better at assimilating newcomers (freshmen or transfers) than Altman, who led the Ducks to the Sweet 16 last year. After a mid-season stumble, Oregon showed signs of coalescing in the final weeks. A dangerous team.

3. Oklahoma's Lon Kruger: So good is the coaching in the West that Arizona's Sean Miller and Gonzaga's Mark Few didn't make the cut. Kruger is one of the top strategists nobody talks about, but he has been a coach of the year in three different conferences (SEC, Mountain West and Big 12).

DREAM MATCHUP

No. 1 Arizona vs. No. 2 Wisconsin. In a region devoid of the sport's Blue Bloods, an Elite Eight duel betrween the top seeds is as good as we could hope to get. No. 6 Oklahoma against No. 11 Nebraska would be intriguing ... in football.

UPSET SPECIAL

No. 6 Baylor over No. 3 Creighton. This potential third-round matchup might not qualify as an upset when tipoff rolls around. Depending on how the talented but erratic Bears play in the round of 64, they could be favored to knock out McDermott and Co.

SLEEPER PICK

Oklahoma State. Think back to early November: The Cowboys were No. 8 in the AP poll and possessed a top-tier backcourt in Smart and Markel Brown. Four months later, everything has changed and nothing has changed: The talent remains.

LAST TEAM STANDING

Arizona. Potholes await, but the Wildcats have the easiest path to the Final Four of any No. 1 seed. To reach the grand stage, they must bring their usual effort defensively, make open jumpers and hit their free throws (not as easy as it sounds for this group). The bench will have to contribute, especially on the second game of the weekend when fatigue sets in.

For more on college sports, see Jon Wilner's College Hotline at blogs.mercurynews.com/collegesports. Contact him at jwilner@mercurynews.com or 408-920-5716.