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Utah Utes basketball can make Final Four, but Michigan State in way: Midwest bracket analysis

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Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

The Utah Utes can play spoiler in the Midwest bracket. But they have two big obstacles that stand in the way, and a few smaller obstacles in the way.

The first step for Utah is to defend essentially homecourt advantage in Denver the first weekend. Then they can worry about the bigger obstacles ahead.

Round of 64, Fresno State: Fresno State has been an average team most of the season, but the Bulldogs did battle Oregon and Arizona pretty hard earlier this season.

Round of 32, Seton Hall or Gonzaga: Wow. Talk about underseeded. Seton Hall and Gonzaga literally have some of the easiest paths to win the title.

Sweet 16, Michigan State: It's not going to be anybody but Sparty. If Michigan State gets upset, Utah immediately becomes a favorite to advance to the Elite 8 if they get this far. But if it is Michigan State (and they have the easiest bracket out of all the major seeds), the Utes have a huge obstacle to win on the road in Chicago.

Elite 8, Virginia or Purdue or Iowa State: The harder side of the bracket is going to produce a very formidable team for the Utes. If it's Virginia, the Cavaliers can play at their pace, and if it's Purdue or Iowa either team will enjoy great homecourt advantage.