NCAA Tournament East Region: What You Need To Know

    Teams in the East have to be wondering what they did wrong to be punished by the Selection Committee. The bracket might be the best from top to bottom in

    March 19, 2015

    Teams in the East have to be wondering what they did wrong to be punished by the Selection Committee.

    The bracket might be the best from top to bottom in the tournament, and there are essentially two teams deserving of the No. 1 seed. Villanova earned it from the Committee, but Virginia was certainly deserving, and there won’t be an easy game in the bunch.

    Honestly, would you be surprised if ‘Nova or Virginia comes out of this group? How about Oklahoma or Louisville or Michigan State? Every round is going to be more competitive than the last, and it’s going to be fantastic to watch.

    Best second-round game

    This is like picking your favorite supermodel. It all depends on taste. Northern Iowa vs. Wyoming is a fascinating battle between two defensive-minded teams that also feature a player who can dominate at will. Northern Iowa’s Seth Tuttle is a stud, and Wyoming’s Larry Nance Jr. is the kind of player you call off of work to see. This isn’t the game for you if you love the over.

    Upset Special

    We’re going to stick right here with Northern Iowa-Wyoming. The Cowboys are the No. 12 seed and likely wouldn’t have earned a trip to the Dance had it not won the Mountain West Conference tournament. They went 25-9 on the season, so it’s not like they’re awful, but this is a team that is hungry. Northern Iowa has been ranked in the top 25 all season and owns 30 wins, but this will be a tough, tough matchup for the Panthers, one they might not win.

    Best Player

    With all due respect for Oklahoma’s Buddy Hield, you don’t get much better than Louisville’s Montrezl Harrell. He’s one of the most intense players in college basketball… ah, forget it. He’s THE most intense player in college basketball, one who pours emotion for 40 minutes and leaves opponents with nightmares for days after games. He can score, he can rebound, he blocks shots and is a violent dunker who thrives in the spotlight.


    Big & Tall shop owners are going to flood KeyArena in Seattle with Louisville and UC Irvine coming to town. Check the length. The Cardinals bring 6-10 Mangok Mathiang, 6-10 Chinanu Onuaku, 7-foot Matz Stockman and 7-foot Anas Mahmoud to the floor, giving U of L the depth inside few teams can even imagine. UC Irvine happens to have the tallest Anteater you’ve ever seen, not to mention the biggest player in college basketball. Mamadou Ndiaye is a 7-6, 300-pounder who isn’t a stiff, but he’s just one of the giant Anteaters. There’s also 6-10 Jonathan Galloway, 6-10 John Ryan, 6-10 Mike Best and 7-2 Ioannis Dimakopoulos.

    The Overlooked

    Everyone wants to talk about Duke or Kentucky or Wisconsin, but it seems like there aren’t a lot of teams talking up ‘Nova despite the fact the Wildcats have lost just twice all season. But Villanova isn’t the only team feeling a bit disrespected. Virginia won the ACC but didn’t get a No. 1 seed. Duke – the team that finished behind the Cavaliers and had one more loss on the season – did get a spot on the top line, and the Cavs ain’t happy about it. It also doesn’t seem like Oklahoma is getting much respect, either, and everyone is asking what’s wrong with Louisville. That should make for some focused teams.

    Take It to the Bank (Unless We’re Totally Wrong)

    Michigan State is just a No. 7 seed in the East, but this is Tom Izzo in March. Look for the Spartans to cruise past Georgia thanks to Brandon Dawson and Travis Trice, and they’ll give Virginia fits in the third round. We’re not saying Michigan State is going to beat a very good Cavaliers team, but UVA is going to have to work for absolutely everything it gets on the floor.


    Virginia basketball isn’t a festival for the eyes, but it’s effective in the NCAA Tournament. MSU is going to give the Cavs all they can handle, and look for Louisville to play a tough, tough game with the Cavaliers for the right to go to the Final Four. Virginia ultimately will head to Indy.


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