This link here will direct you to the full bracket over at ESPN.com. Here in this post I will be discussing my picks for the East region game by game going all the way to their region winner going to the Final Four. Here, I’ll start with the play in games and go from there.
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Now before I start, there is a good chance I might imply who I think will win the entire tournament. Basically when I look at teams, I mainly look at 3 things:
- Possible key injuries
- Defensive statistics and rebounding statistics
- Shooting percentage as a team
I don’t look at past stats such as records or past games during the season as I consider them to be irrelevant. However if they come into the tournament on a hot streak, I am more inclined to pick them. Now these parameters that I use can be proven wrong. Not only that but last year I went against my judgement and succeeded. I picked Oregon in the Final Four, despite the fact that they lost Chris Boucher, their big time rebounder. But this is one of very few times I’ve had that kind of success. Basically anything could happen and try your best to prepare for the unexpected. But enough about last year, here are my East region predictions!
16. LIU Brooklyn/Radford- I personally think LIU Brooklyn is going to win this game since they come into this bracket going 9-3 and they took care of their conference pretty handily so LIU Brooklyn is going to be in the round of 64
1. Villanova vs. 16. LIU Brooklyn
Sure they’ll move on, where they’ll get smacked in the mouth by Nova. Really nothing to say here besides the fact that Nova is just too talented. Moving on!
8. Virginia Tech vs 9. Alabama
The Hokies have been inconsistent, blowing a lead to Notre Dame in the tournament but they’ve beaten Virgina, Duke and UNC. Alabama is much like Oklahoma where they’re whole team relies on one star and that star is Collin Sexton. I tend to rely on teams where there’s more than one star, or teams that have just a lot of good consistent players. I take VA Tech here but not by much.
5. West Virginia vs 12. Murray State
As much as I love the 5 vs 12 matchup and possible upset, it’s not gonna happen in this region. A very aggresive defense behind a brilliant coach should be enough to handle Murray State. A very good, high powered team that’s coming in hot won’t be quite enough. Again a close one, should be a lot of lead changes but I take West Virginia.
4. Wichita State vs 13. Marshall
This Wichita State team is wicked deep with the next man up mentality coupled with great players that can score. Their defense isn’t too great but that shouldn’t affect them much as they’ll take out a Marshall team that can shoot the three but that’s about it
11. St. Bonaventure vs 11. UCLA
The fact that UCLA got in over USC or Saint Marys is a straight joke in my opinion at least. This UCLA team is very inconsistent and the Bonnies backcourt should kick the Bruins in the teeth with plenty o’ buckets.
6. Florida vs 11. St. Bonaventure
First upset of the tourney here as St. Bonaventure takes out the Gators! The Gators are one of those teams that are 100% dependent on the 3 pointer. Kill the 3 kill the team I take the Bonnies.
3. Texas Tech vs 14 Stephen F Austin
Will the Texas Tech defense be strong? Will they stay healthy? Will it matter? The answer is yes, to the last question at least, but SFA is no slouch. A strong defensive team as well that can force turnovers. Expect a tight, low scoring UPSET!! SFA takes this one by a nose.
7. Arkansas vs 10 Butler
The Butler Bulldogs haven’t done too well in tight games and Arkansas is nothing special really but they are a solid team. I take Arkansas in this one and I think they’ll handle Butler.
2. Purdue vs 15. California State Fullerton
If you’re looking for an easy game to pick then look no further. Very few opponents can handle this Purdue team as they have athletic players and a 7’2 center that can shoot 81% at the line which is just wild. Purdue by an eternity.
Round of 32:
1. Villanova vs 8. Virginia Tech
Should be an underrated game in terms of excitement since both teams have insanely good offenses. At this point it comes down to who scores the most points. I say Va Tech gets stuffed near the last 5 minutes and Villanova runs away wining by at least 5
4. Wichita State vs 5 West Virginia
Just typing this matchup in got me even more excited for it to hopefully happen! Jeez both of these teams are so even and they can produce on the offensive side of the ball as well. But I’m a defense guy, so for that, I’m taking Wichita State anyways! It’s March and they’ll win by a buzzer-beating layup trust me on this one.
11. St. Bonaventure vs 14 Stephen F Austin
You know I think it was 2 or three years ago when I picked SFA to make it to the Sweet 16 and I was proved to be right in that regard. I believe they had to beat Notre Dame to do it. Stephen F Austin did it for me once and I predict for them to do it again. Did anyone seriously pick South Carolina even in the Sweet 16 last year? Much less the Final Four?This is the big upset pick. Their press defense scheme is going to take out the Bonnies and the defensive emphasis will be put onto the guards. I’m taking them to the Sweet 16, call me crazy!
2. Purdue vs 7 Arkansas
Arkansas has a strong offense that contend with most teams and one of the better 7 seeds and they’ll give Purdue a strong run but the defense of Purdue makes the difference here as they earn a spot in the Sweet 16
1. Villanova vs 4 Wichita State
Villanova scores an average of 87.1 points per game vs 83.0 to Wichita State. Villanova has the benefit of the doubt of not having to survive a miracle to a damn strong team and that might carry them past the Shockers. Nova doesn’t have a glaring weakness and the Shockers don’t turn the ball over. Should be very close and exciting to watch. I take Nova.
2. Purdue vs 14 Stephen F. Austin
The miracle road ends here. Purdue prevails with raw strength, talent and depth as it was a hell of a run for SFA.
1. Villanova vs 2. Purdue
Yeah I know it’s a chalk Elite 8 in this region but these two teams are truly the best in their region. Strong as hell defense vs strong as hell offense. Purdue will clog the paint but I believe Nova has a slightly better shooting team and I say Nova will just barely scrape by. This game will be decided by one crazy or insane play and I vote in Villanova’s way. In this region, they will make the Final Four