NCAA Tournament: East Region Preview


If the committee tries to give each region an identity physical defensive play could be associated with the top four teams in the East region.  Starting with top seeded Syracuse who are know for Coach Boeheim’s 2-3 zone that has been a  match up problem for teams the past 30 years.  Ohio State has the ability to knock down outside shots, but their true identity starts inside with powerful Jared Sullinger.  I need not expand on the type of defense Florida State plays as Tar Heel fans got a close look at it again today in the championship game.  The Seminoles could be the most tenacious defensive team in the country and this region is a perfect fit.  The fourth seed belongs to Wisconsin and the Badgers methodical half court offense has been a juggernaut for many top teams as they marched through the tournament.  In 2005 Wisconsin gave eventual champion North Carolina everything it could handle before the Tar Heels pulled away in the final minute.  The East region has several interesting match ups  that could unfold on the way to New Orleans as well as some intriguing first round games.  No I cannot call Thursday/Friday games second round as Seth Davis did.  Tuesday and Wednesday are play in games at best.  Here we will preview a few of the more interesting games on Friday.

#5 Vanderbilt vs. #12Harvard

The Vanderbilt Commodores are are the fifth seed in the East region, but are coming off an exciting win in the SEC Championship game over the Kentucky Wildcats.  Vanderbilt has a tough test however in the first round when they take on Harvard.  This 5/12match up feels like a game pitting two kids who met up on collegiate jeopardy.  Tommy Amaker’s Harvard team did win against eventual ACC Champion Florida State earlier in the year so this team is not your typical Ivy League representative.   A player to watch in this game is Vanderbilt’s John Jenkins who leads the Commodores with 20 points per game.

#6 Cincinnati vs. #11 Texas

Following the Xavier fiasco the Bearcats from Cincinnati could have taken a turn for the worse, but they have persevered over the the last two months making a run to the Big East Championship game.  Although they failed to beat Louisville the Bearcats have showed they can beat number one seed Syracuse and will be a tough out in the tournament.  Texas is peaking at the right time, but this rick Barnes team still appears to be lacking the fire power to make a deep run.  Cincinnati does not shoot the basketball with a high percentage and that will bold well for the Longhorns as they rely on hard fought defense that have helped them steal a few games down the stretch.  A Texas win in this game would be an upset by the brackets, but these two teams have similar numbers on offense that you can may have as good a chance flipping a coin to pick the winner as oppose to using your instinct.

#7 Gonzaga vs. #11 West Virginia

Gonzaga as usual comes into the NCAA tournament with the ability to shoot the basketball, but they have been decent on the glass as well as they rank 44th in rebounding.  West Virginia has been in more tough ball games, and that may be the difference in the Mountaineers making an early exit from the tournament.  Gonzaga is no longer Cinderella and Coach Mark Few has the experience to match up with Coach Bob Huggins.  This game may be the most entertaining on the first day of games played in the East Region.  West Virginia will get out and run with Gonzaga, but look for play to tighten up some during the last ten minutes of the game where possessions and buckets will be at a premium.

Check back after each day to catch updates on each round.

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