Bracket Breakdown: East Regional


By: David Kay

With mid-majors New Mexico and Temple as two of the top five seeds, this regional looks a little weak.  Kentucky is the most talented team in the country with four future lottery picks on their roster but can they put it all together to make a tournament run?  #2 West Virginia is coming off a Big East Tournament title and is a serious contender to get to Indy while #4 Wisconsin is one of the best coached teams in the nation and if they get hot, can beat anybody.

Best First Round Game: #8 Texas vs. #9 Wake Forest

This has to be the battle of underachievers.  Remember when Texas was unbeaten and ranked #1 in the country?  That was fun.  Now the ‘Horns are in the same spot they were last year; a team loaded with talent but just unable to put it all together as they have dropped nine of their last sixteen.  Wake is losers of four of their last five including an embarrassing loss to Miami (Fl) in the opening round of the ACC Tournament.  Yet, there are easily at least six future NBA Draft picks in this game and if either team can put it together in their opening round game, they could pose a threat to Kentucky in the second round.

Early Out: #5 Temple

The Owls drew the dreaded 5 seed and a tough opening round match-up against 27-4 Cornell who nearly upset Kansas this year.  The Big Red are no strangers to the NCAA Tournament, representing the Ivy League in the dance for the third straight year.  They are a veteran group that also has the size to cause some problems inside.  If the Owls can survive the opening round, I find it hard to believe they will be able to knock off #4 Wisconsin in a game that could very well be played in the 40’s.

Sleeper: #6 Marquette
I mean, duh?  Right?  In all seriousness, I really like Marquette’s draw.  They open with a guard oriented team in Washington who under-achieved in the weak Pac-10.  A second round match-up against New Mexico doesn’t scare me either.  And remember, Marquette has been though it all this year, being involved in 14 games decided by four points or less.  They play as hard as any team in the country and value the ball on offense.  A potential Sweet 16 match-up would pit MU against Big East for West Virginia, who beat the Golden Eagles earlier this season by one point thanks to a now common Da’Sean Butler game-winning shot late in the game.

Player to Watch: Darington Hobson, #3 New Mexico

The “Evan Turner of the West” has blown up in his first year with the Lobos after transferring from a junior college.  He can do it all in a point forward type roll.  The Mountain West Player of the Year’s draft stock is starting to and a solid performance in the tourney could put him in the national spotlight.

Regional Final: #1 Kentucky over #2 West Virginia
Once again I am going with the #1 versus #2 which is lame.  The Wildcats have a few things going against them; they don’t shoot the ball from distance well and are young.  But as Coach Cal said, “I’ll take talent over experience in the NCAA Tournament.”  When it comes down to it, Kentucky’s size will be too much for a long, athletic West Virginia team to handle.  This pick scares me, but the ‘Cats were my pre-season pick to win it all, and I am sticking with them to make the Final Four.

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  1. Peter Christian says

    Hey Fran Fraschilla, has Marquette played many close games this season?

  2. Shox got robbed again. The refs cost the game in the 1st round vs Nevada. I was at that game, awful refs!!!

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