Before you do, read this. I make no guarantees, but this will help you not finish last. Ethel the mail lady won’t read this. Let her finish last.
Like one of my favorite one-hit wonders we will Head East and preview the region nobody is really talking about.
That happens when the Midwest Region has all the best teams and somehow, the 1996 Bulls as well.
East games are in Raleigh, Spokane, San Antonio and Buffalo and finish at Madison Square Garden in The Big Apple.
Favorite: Virginia is the No. 1 seed on the strength of a regular-season and ACC tournament championship. The politicking (reads: whining) about how good the ACC is by Coach K didn’t hurt either.
That’s how the conference ended up with a team in the First Four. Not a great team in my opinion but good enough to make it to New York because of the draw.
Michigan State is the sexy pick here. The Spartans did struggle at times in the regular season due to injuries, but they are healthy now and on a roll after winning the Big 10/11/12 Tournament.
Adreian Payne is a beast inside and Gary Harris makes the Spartans go at both ends. Tom Izzo knows how to coach in the NCAA Tournament as well.
In fact, this senior class is the only one that hasn’t been to a Final Four under Izzo. Don’t think for a second he hasn’t reminded them of that.
But I’m not convinced they are title bound as you will soon see.
Cinderella: Harvard upset New Mexico last year and there is almost always a 12-5 upset. Cincinnati was one of the best teams in the country for a stretch in the middle of the season, but they weren’t as good at the end.
Providence was uncomfortably on the bubble until the Friars won the Big East Tournament, likely knocking Xavier into the First Four. The No. 11 Friars are hot and could knock off No. 6 North Carolina, which is as hard to figure out as one of Dr. Sheldon Cooper’s string theories.
Either of those teams could win a couple games or more.
Most Likely to be an upset: In addition to the aforementioned Providence-UNC matchup, and perhaps Harvard, I would put my money on St. Joseph’s to knock off UConn. Granted it’s only a 7-10 game, and either team is a procedural bump away from being an 8 or 9 so it’s not much of an upset. But it is the Atlantic 10 beating the American Athletic Conference and let’s face it. We were talking about St. Joseph’s as a bubble team and potential First Four participant. The Hawks were seeded 38th overall, UConn 26th.
Unheralded Player: James Bell makes No. 2 Villanova go. He can jump out of any gym and is fun to watch in transition. He has good size at 6-foot-6 and can play a wing or mix it up inside. Bell has solid range from 3-point land as well. Scoring nearly 15 points a game and grabbing 6 rebounds he will have the ball in his hands a lot, especially late in a close game as he is an 81% free throw shooter.
Elite Eight Teams: As I mentioned, I’m not drinking the Green and White Kool-Aid. Someone will beat Sparty before they get to the regional final. I just have that feeling. That said, I like Virginia to make it, even though I think they are not one of the four best teams in the country. The other Elite Eighter is a team I have yet to mention: Iowa State.
Kind of like the San Antonio Spurs, the Cyclones quietly go about their business without much fanfare, although winning the Big 12 title in Kansas’ backyard was impressive and certainly made other teams take notice. Conference player of the year Melvin Ejim scores a ton and he will need to because Iowa State is horrible at defense, like 272nd nationally horrible. Despite that, I like them to play the Cavaliers in the Garden.
Should be an interesting regional final.
The Big Ten tournament is in the books and our beloved Buckeyes have won it all. On a roll to close the regular season the Bucks swept into Chicago and took care of Nebraska, Michigan State and Wisconsin to claim the crown. We’ll discuss all things hoops, it’s Wednesday, let’s rumble!
Another Big Ten tournament has come and gone. Many expected the 2013 version to be a knock down, drag out brawl. Did it live up to the hype and expectations?
The field is set for the men’s 2013 NCAA college basketball tournament. This afternoon we’ll take a look into the East regional that culminates March 30-31 in Washington, DC. If you’ve already filled it out, this will be your chance to review the work you did for our Tournament Challenge this year.
The East regional is topped by the Indiana Hoosiers followed by Miami (Fl), Marquette and Syracuse rounding out the top four seeds. Along with the Hoosiers, the Illinois Fighting Illini will also represent the Big Ten in the region.
The Favorite: Ranked as the top team in the region, the Hoosiers are the obvious favorite to win the region. Despite falling to Wisconsin in the Big Ten tournament semi-finals, they were considered by the selection committee as a lock for a number one seed. The Miami Hurricanes are the “sexy” pick by the national pundits to take the region. The ‘Canes are on a roll winning both their regular season conference championship and the ACC tournament. If anyone can take down the Hoosiers, “The U” may be the ones to do it.
Cinderella: While I don’t see a traditional “Cinderella” team, I do see a few that are in the middle of the pack that may very well make some noise.
While seeded 10th, the Colorado Buffaloes come into the tournament on the heels of their third consecutive 20 win season, the first time that has happened in school history. Though they fell in the second round of the PAC-12 tournament to Arizona, confidence is high amongst head coach Tad Boyle’s team that they can be a player in the East region. Read More
The Buckeyes have advanced to the Round of 32 for the third time in three years. This time around their opponent is the 7th seeded Gonzaga Bulldogs, a team that has been to the dance many times in the last decade.
Coach Mark Few is one of the only coaches in the country to regularly put together 20 win seasons. Since he first joined Gonzaga in 1999, his first Head Coaching gig, his teams have not won fewer than 23 games in a season. He and Thad Matta are the only coaches with upwards of a decade of straight 20 win seasons, making this game a particularly interesting matchup of coaching minds.
Gonzaga has also never failed to make the NCAA Tournament while under Few, but have never advanced further than the Sweet 16. The last two seasons have seen the ‘Zags only win their first game in the tournament before being knocked out. That’s a streak the Buckeyes would obviously like to continue this season.
The Bulldogs are surprisingly led in scoring by a freshman this season. Guard Kevin Pangos (6-1, 180) out of Ontario, Canada, is averaging nearly 14 points per game and 3 rebounds. He shoots a cool 40.7% from beyond the arc in 32 minutes per game and will most likely be Aaron Craft’s defensive assignment. He’s more than a scorer, though, and is skilled at feeding his teammates in good positions to score. He’s also good at protecting the basketball, losing control less than twice per game.
The madness continues here at the Buckeye Battle Cry! This has to be one of our favorite times of the year (really, who doesn’t feel that way?) and we love to celebrate by talking about as many teams, games, and players as we can! Joe Dexter was kind enough to get the whole thing kicked off this morning with a preview of the West Region. Now it’s my turn to take a look at the home-favorite East Region. Tomorrow, WVaBuckeye and MaliBuckeye will take a look at the two remaining regions, so that you can have plenty of time to read and peruse your way to what is hopefully a winning bracket!
Make sure you join the BBN’s Bracket Challenge this year! Bragging rights abound!
Favorites: The East region is graced with a few powerful teams that could be poised to make a deep run. The Syracuse Orange obviously stand in the best position of everyone in the region. The Orange hold a 32-2 season record, including non-conference wins over fellow tournament teams Florida and NC State. Seven-footer Fab Melo, a Sophomore out of Brazil, anchors Syracuse in the paint and is assisted by senior forward Kris Joseph, who leads the team in scoring at just under 14 per game, and senior guard Scoop Jardine, who seems to have been at Syracuse for 50 years. The ‘Cuse lost in the semi-finals of the Big East tournament to fellow East Region member Cincinnati, but looks to bounce back in the Big Dance.