Bracket Breakdown: The East

By on March 16, 2011

By: Larry D Lieberman (RSE Basketball)

Each matchup has been broken down so participants who are submitting multiple brackets can mix and match selections in an effort to formulate at least one sheet with a chance to place high in their respective group’s standings.

Round of 64:

#1-Ohio State vs #16-UTSA/Alabama State: Ohio State wins 10/10 times

#8-George Mason vs #9-Villanova: Villanova wins 6/10 times                                                              

Notes: George Mason’s streak will be undone by a Wildcat roster which returns to health and realizes its opportunity to begin anew in the postseason. Villanova’s main issue during its slump has been rebounding margin and injuries – and I see improvement in those areas from a proud team of veterans who fear a tarnished legacy.

#5-West Virginia vs #12-UAB/Clemson: West Virginia wins 8/10 times

Notes: WVA has played the third hardest schedule in college hoops and is 6-5 against top 25 teams. That, along with consistent defense, should get them to the next stop.

#4-Kentucky vs #13-Princeton: Kentucky wins 9/10 times

#6-Xavier vs #11-Marquette: Xavier wins 6/10 times

Notes: This is the most evenly matched game, statistically, in the entire first round. Marquette is a popular upset pick among the pundits, which – along with a virtual home court in Cleveland – should motivate the experienced Musketeers to keep their school’s tournament reputation as a Cinderella understudy intact.    

#3-Syracuse vs #14-Indiana State: Syracuse wins 9/10 times

#7-Washington vs #10-Georgia: Washington wins 7/10 times

Notes: The Huskies are dragging an unimpressive history in NCAA tourney games played in the east but they should have plenty of ammo in an 83.5 point-per-game offense against the Bulldogs, who seem to have cashed a dance ticket they found in someone else’s laundered jacket.

#2-North Carolina vs #15-Long Island: North Carolina wins 9/10 times

Long Island can play, but they turn it over and get scored upon like a pinball machine in a Jodie Foster drama.

Round of 32:

#1-Ohio State vs #9-Villanova: Ohio State wins 8/10 times

#4-Kentucky vs #5-West Virginia: Kentucky wins 7/10 times

Kentucky is simply too athletic and is peaking at the right time.

#3-Syracuse vs #6-Xavier: Syracuse wins 7/10 times

The Orange is also peaking at the right time. Xavier lost to Cincinnati by 20 this season – a team Syracuse bombed by 15 before their midseason slide.

#2-North Carolina vs #7-Washington: North Carolina wins 6/10 times

This game is closer than people realize. The Huskies have a real shot but, ultimately, North Carolina is playing at home in Charlotte.

Sweet 16:

#1-Ohio State vs #4-Kentucky: Ohio State wins 6/10 times

The Buckeyes should slip by in a nail-biter on the back of their inside game. Look for Ohio State to break the Wildcats with their accurate shooting from 3-point range once Kentucky begins to collapse their defense into the paint to slow down Jared Sullinger.

#2-North Carolina vs #3-Syracuse: Syracuse wins 5/5 times (even money)

Orange center Rick Jackson is one of the few men in the game who can guard Tar Heels center Tyler Zeller. If he can stay out of foul trouble, Syracuse has the depth and experience to nip North Carolina. That said, it’s advisable to split this matchup evenly across your brackets.

Great 8:

#1-Ohio State vs #3-Syracuse: Ohio State wins 6/10 times

The Buckeyes are the best team in college basketball. It’s likely they will prove it in this game. I predict this matchup will result in an Ohio State win by 12 points, as they pull away late.

Other teams with chance to make Final Four in this bracket: Syracuse, Kentucky and North Carolina

Teams with chance to shock: Washington and Villanova

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