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tBBC tBBC March Madness Bracketology 2016: East Region


tBBC March Madness Bracketology 2016: East Region
via our good friends at Buckeye Battle Cry
Visit their fantastic blog and read the full article (and so much more) here


March Madness is upon us. According to numerous sources, including The Economist, The Super Bowl is the #1 day for gambling. March Madness is closing in at #2. We all love this time of year. We find the need to be right – even if it means swallowing the usual distain we may have for a certain team – and placing them beyond what we would normally imagine in order to keep our brackets pristine.

I am going to do precisely that. I will swallow some distain and even figure my assumptions are premonitions.

Break out your pens and copy these down.

The East region in my opinion is by far the toughest side of the bracket. Three of the teams won a major conference title. Five of the teams are in the top 15 of the Pomeroy Ratings. This group on any given day can beat anyone in this tournament. But for now they will have to feast on one another.

I will not go insane and breakdown each game. Such a tactic is time consuming and often a mere tracking of over-analyzation. I have elected to look at this through five categories: 1)The Prime-time Candidates 2)The Pretenders 3)The Cinderella prospects 4)Early Exits and 5) the Best Players – with a nod to the least known talent.

The Prime-time Candidates

Undoubtedly, it’s North Carolina, Kentucky, Xavier, West Virginia, and Indiana.

North Carolina seated # 1 was 28-6 overall and 14-4 in the ACC. Xavier is seated # 2 with a 27-5 overall and 14-4 in the Big East. West Virginia is seated # 3 with a 26-8 overall and were 13-5 in the Big 12. Kentucky is seated # 4 with a 26-8 overall and were 13-5 in the SEC. And finally – Indiana seated at # 5 were 25-7 overall while ending the Big 10 season with a 15-3 record.

Each team mentioned there can destroy an opponent. They could also falter and disappoint. These five teams clearly provide evidence of the dominance of this region. But Championships aren’t always determined by such sanctioning.

The Pretenders

This year there are teams in high spots that will be sent home early because they were assumed to be more of a contender than they actually were.

This is more of an evaluation and a spin in the realm of predictions. We all have our hunches. We can base it on many factors: The RPI Rankings – the league in which the team played – the players – the injury reports – the Head Coach – and even past performances in the NCAA Tournament.

At the moment some have Indiana listed as a pretender — primarily because of their stumbling into the Big 10 Tournament and their health concerns with a significant injury to Robert Johnson and banged up bodies in the possession of Collin Hartman and Juwan Morgan.

I personally do not see these factors side-stepping the Hoosiers. The analysts analyzing the same Hoosiers that I am looking at areblindly ignored Troy Williams, Thomas Bryant, and even Max Bielfeldt. We shall get to the Hoosiers later.

The leading pretenders in this Region as I see it is Kentucky and West Virginia. A bold statement for sure! Kentucky and Calipari are simply too far into the ionosphere to recognize that the NCAA Tournament does not cater to entitlement. Kentucky undoubtedly will be rolling into more Championships – just not this year. As for West Virginia they have a strong team that has played admirably all season. Jaysean Paige and Devin Williams are stars and will be given shots in the NBA. But in the case of the Mountaineers I am an advocate that sees Bob Huggins as “extremely” overrated. If nothing else he will be the block that will have them not entering the spotlight to clip the nets in Philadelphia.

The Cinderellas

This is always a fun portion of the predictions. On my bracket I see Providence beating USC. But does that play into the Cinderella chapter? We are, after all, speaking of 8 & 9 seeded teams. Obviously the Committee saw them equal. I also see Pittsburgh beating Wisconsin. But again is a 7 & 10 not equal in the eyes of the experts. I hate to admit it but I see the Cinderella of the East as TTUN. They will beat Tulsa who confusingly has made the Tournament. From there they will upset Notre Dame and move one to upset one of the Pretenders – WVA – to make it to the Sweet 16. Even though I have Xavier beating them and sending them home after that – do not be surprised if they hand the Musketeers a stunning upset and move into the Elite Eight.

Early Exits

Of course, these are always fun too. In most cases, we pick upsets based on our dislikes of a team. If that were the case TTUN would be losing to Tulsa in my bracket. But I hope to win. Notre Dame will be the early exit in the East. TTUN will stay hungry after their victory against Tulsa and they will not see the “silly” Cinderella tag – but presume superiority. Notre Dame is the only team in this region that will be sent home earlier than expected. Allow me to add, if Stony Brook upsets Kentucky with the talents of Jameel Warney be sure to remember where you heard such absurdity first. And though I do not have such an irregularity inked into my bracket – such an accomplishment would not shock me at all.

Best Players

They can be found everywhere in this region. This side of the bracket is loaded with talent. Of course there’s Brice Johnson of NC. Trevon Bluiett of Xavier stands out too. Personally I do not think you can sidestep Yogi Ferrell or James Blackmon, Jr. of the Hoosiers either. I believe one of the best players in this region is perhaps the least known. I again speak of Jameel Warney of Stony Brook. His scoring average of 18.7 and his skill sets can be matched with anyone.

The Favorite(s) & a Prediction

The whole world probably has NC winning this region. It makes sense too. The Tar Heels under Roy Williams have been nothing shy of phenomenal. Besides #1 seeds win their region more than they do not. Xavier too is probably a sub-favorite on most sheets. Remember # 2’s also do well percentage wise. I though am taking a brave journey into predicting. I see the Hoosiers of Indiana showing the Nation just how good the Big Ten is. Even though there some banged up bodies and injuries on this team I foresee Tom Crean having his Hoosiers believing they could march all the way down to Houston. But enough of the overstepping! Its baby-steps right? Philadelphia comes first!

The post tBBC March Madness Bracketology 2016: East Region appeared first on The Buckeye Battle Cry: Ohio State News and Commentary.

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