March Madness: East Division

Grab your pencil and your bracket.  March Madness is here.  And while the storyline the day after the field is chosen is nearly always “the most notable team that wasn’t selected by the committee”, I’ll be focusing largely on who did make the tournament.  I have to say that after hearing the arguments, I agree that Colorado and Virginia Tech should be in the tournament and VCU and UAB should be out.  But the reality is that the selection committee has just under forty at large bids to deal out after the automatic bids, and there will be snubs every year just as there is in all-star games, Bowl Championship series, and Hall of Fame voting.  So let’s dive right in to the tournament starting with the East section of your bracket, with the Southwest, West, and Southeast sections to follow..

Starting with East division (Upper Left) of your bracket, a much deserving Ohio State team snags the #1 overall seed.  In March Madness anything can happen: Ohio State can steamroll to the Final Four or just as easily be tripped up in the earlier rounds.  That being said, I love Ohio State at least to the elite 8, after that I’m not making any promises.  If you look at their team, they have all the necessary components to win a national title.  It’s not only the fact that they have 32 wins, were the most consistent team in the nation in a tough conference, but it’s the way they’ve done it.  They get great, high percentage shots each and every game, mostly because their horse, Jared Sullinger, takes so many shots inside the paint.  I’ll tell you why this bodes well for Ohio State in a tournament format.  People always say “hey, this team or that team lives and dies by the 3-pointer”, and while the Buckeyes certainly have the ability to shoot the long ball (Set NCAA record last week for consecutive three’s in a game), they don’t need to do that to win games.  They have the third highest field goal percentage in all of Division I basketball (over 345 teams), so chances are they’ll continue to get those high percentage shots the way they have all year.  Add in some three’s from Jon Diebler, who literally shoots 50% from behind the arc, and you’re going to be very tough to beat.  Furthermore, the Buckeyes have 4 players averaging nearly 12 points a game.  How many teams can say that?  Inside and out, from Seniors to freshman, Ohio State is arguably the toughest team in the nation.  Even though a number 1 overall seed has only won the national champinship one time in tournament history, I’d still write their name in pen deep into the bracket.  Below them I love the second round matchup between West Virginia and Kentucky.  They say that in the NCAA tournament you need a guy that can win a game for you.  I’d argue that Kentucky has two of those guys in Terence Jones and Brandon Knight.  You saw the way Kentucky manhandled Florida in the SEC championship right?  The Wildcats  beat them on the glass, in steals (6 to 1), blocks, had half the turnovers and used their speed and athleticism to romp to a 16 point win over a Gator team that some analysts have in the final four.  It would be an extremely interesting head to head matchup, should Kentucky get by West Virginia and face Ohio State in the Sweet 16.  I could see Syracuse or UNC, who are likely to square off in a Sweet 16 matchup, to challenge Ohio State in the Elite 8.  Anytime that a team (like Syracuse) has good guard play and a solid big man, you have a legit shot at making a run.  ‘Cuse big fella RickJackson, who won Big East defensive player of the year, is averaging an impressive double double and has been the anchor of the Orange all season.  Meanwhile Scoop Jardine, Kris Joseph and Brandon Triche all average double figures.  One thing that scares me is that Jackson’s rebounding has tailed off a bit, only reaching double figures once in his last 9 games.  That will certainly need to change if Syracuse plans on making a run, as Jim Boeheim’s squad doesn’t have one other player besides Jackson who’s averaging more than 5 boards a game.   But where’s the upset going to come from?   Surely the top seed favorites aren’t going to win out…so will it be Georgia?  George Mason?  Someone in the East is going to embed themselves in tournament lore, but who is it?  I love George Mason over a Villanova team that stumbled into the tournament, losing their last 5  (though it should really be 6 for the fact that they went into overtime with Depaul).  In my gut I feel like a speedy/athletic Xavier team  could make noise.   In the end, I love UNC and Ohio State  to come out of the ashes and meet in the Elite 8.   (Bracket views subject to change, all rights reserved).

This is a short video from last year when Ali Farokhmanesh from # 9 seed Northern Iowa buried # 1 Kansas with his three pointer in transition with under a minute to play.  The true meaning of ‘bracket buster’…


4 Responses to March Madness: East Division

  1. Anonymous says:

    Duke is going down, their seed is oveRrated and their not going far thank god too who wants to watch a bunch of elitist kids from arrogant rich families win? As Jalen said in the Fab5 movie they’re uncle Toms or racists

  2. Michael S says:

    Ohio State and Kansas lost two games each all year for a reason!!! Book them to the final four…

  3. Stevie Jo says:

    UNC will be in the elite 8. fact.

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