NCAA Tournament Breakdown-East Region

>> Monday

Yeah, I'm sure you will see something similar to this on all of the major sports websites. However, I guarantee they will be nowhere near as hokey and blatantly wrong as ours, plus I have no issue with throwing a few colorful words or phrases if need be. I will start my breakdown with the East Region, featuring the #1 seed in the tournament, the best 3 seed and that sweaty chest painter from Knoxville.

Sleeper Team: Butler

A veteran team with NCAA success last season, Tennessee could not have enjoyed seeing Butler on the 7 line (should have been a 5 seed) and their likely second round match-up could probably be classified as a toss-up. I think the Bulldogs have a great chance of repeating their Sweet 16 run last season, but anything further may be unlikely with an excellent Louisville team likely awaiting after a potential win over the Vols.

Best First Round Game: Indiana v. Arkansas

While Butler-South Alabama and Washington State-Winthrop should be hard fought opening games, this region's 8-9 game features two talented, yet inconsistent major programs that have both looked really good at times. Indiana has just about collapsed down the stretch after the resignation of Kelvin Sampson, and despite having two future NBA first round picks in Eric Gordon and D.J. White, probably deserved to dropped down the board (sorry Vinnie). Arkansas has nine wins over top 50 RPI teams, but has also lost to 4 teams outside the top 100 (and two more to #98 Georgia). The winner of this game could easily give Carolina a helluva game in the second round, especially if their Jekyll side comes out.

Best Chance for an Upset: St. Joe's over Oklahoma

In a game that could resemble a Big Ten affair (I know, a frightening thought), these teams will slug it in the half court and taking the under may be the best bet of all on this game. St. Joe's has the more experienced team (heavily rely on two seniors and two juniors), and has played well of late with two wins over Xavier and a run to the A-10 tournament final that likely got them into the field. Oklahoma's big man duo of Blake Griffin and Longar Longar have both admirably played through leg injuries, but this likely grind it out, physical match-up does not favor them. I look for St. Joe's tall wing Pat Calathes to make the difference, as his ability to play inside and also hit the perimeter shot presents a tough match-up for Oklahoma and helps put the Hawks in the second round.

Regional Final: Louisville vs. North Carolina

Projected Winner: Louisville

While I wish the Cards played a little more consistently on the offensive end, their strong defense will key them in the Elite 8 match-up against North Carolina. Also, their ability to throw many bodies at Tyler Hansbrough will somewhat keep him in check and I think Louisville will be able to control the pace of the game and force Carolina to beat them in the half court. Louisville will need Jerry Smith to hit shots to open things up and allow David Padgett and Derrick Caracter to control things in paint. Despite a couple of close losses late, I think Louisville has played great since Padgett returned from his knee injury in January and the Cards will give the Big East a Final Four representative.


Patrick 6:11 PM  

Yeah, I've been getting ridiculed all day about my Final Four picks, including Louisville winning the title. I just love the way they are playing, and how can you not get excited about a Hansbourgh - Padgett matchup

Zuch 10:47 PM  

I really like Louisville as a team, but wished they could score the ball a little bit easier (especially from the three perimeter positions). At some point, that will probably come back to bite them, but I think the East would actually be a fairly easy region and that they have a great chance of making it out of there.

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