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NCAA Tournament 2012: North Carolina Has Easiest Road To Elite Eight

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The St. Mary's, Calif. Gaels are headed to the 2012 NCAA Tournament, but they face a tough task ahead of them if they hope to make some noise beyond their starting bracket.

SB Nation basketball editor Mike Rutherford offers five points of analysis regarding the bracket announcements. One of his points is that the Midwest Region, in which St. Mary's holds the No. 7 seed, represents the easiest bracket for any of the four No. 1 seeds. The North Carolina Tar Heels look poised for a straight shot to the Elite Eight, unless to Gaels -- or any other team -- play the spoiler.

The top half of the Midwest bracket appears to be the weakest in the tournament, and North Carolina gets to reap the benefits. Even though the Heels have been prone to seeming bored at times this season, there's no one they'll face before the regional final who is capable of throwing them off the road to New Orleans.

Click through to the article for a full look at his early analysis. It's very insightful and well worth the read.

You can click here for a full, printable 2012 NCAA Tournament bracket.

Check out our Gonzaga team blog The Slipper Still Fits. For more coverage of Gonzaga in the 2012 NCAA Tournament, visit SB Nation Seattle's storystream. Click here for a link to our NCAA bracket 2012. For more coverage of St. Mary's in the 2012 NCAA Tournament, visit the SB Nation Bay Area NCAA Tournament Storystream.

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