The East region features some very interesting first and second round matchups, including a couple of play-in games early in the week. The top-rated Ohio State Buckeyes await the winner of UT-San Antonio and Alabama State, and their region is so deep, they could face a team like Villanova in the second round.
This will not be a very easy region to come out of, but that's what makes March Madness so enticing. Here are the matchups, predictions, and some upset alerts for your East region bracket.
March 15 9:10 PM EST
Tigers have the top defense in the ACC, and played 35 great minutes against North Carolina in the semi-finals of the ACC Tournament.
March 16 6:40 PM EST
UT-San Antonio Roadrunners (19-13) vs. Alabama State Hornets (17-17)
Prediction: UT-SAN ANTONIO
Alabama State's offense is really lacking for firepower. UT-SA is riding a five game winning streak coming into this game. I like the Roadrunners.
Round Two Games
March 18th 4:30 PM ET
(1) Ohio St. Buckeyes (32-2) vs. (16) Winner of UT-SA/Alabama St.
Prediction: OHIO STATE
No 16 seed has ever beaten a top seed. The Buckeyes are too big, too fast, too good for any 16 seed.
March 18th 2:10 PM ET
The Wildcats are ice cold right now, but that's because they played in the toughest conference in America. I don't know how long they will last, but I know they are good enough to take a round one game.
(5) West Virginia Mountaineers (20-11) vs. (12) Winner of UAB/Clemson
Prediction: WEST VIRGINIA
But it's very close. I really like Clemson right now, but they could make it all moot by losing in the play-in. WVU is well-coached and battle tested. They are the safe pick.
March 17th 2:45 PM ET
Right now, Kentucky is red hot and even though Princeton was able to win the Ivy League Tournament, I think Calipari's crew will be much too much to handle.
March 18th 7:27 PM ET
Marquette is the top scoring offense in all of the Big East. While I think Xavier is a very solid team, and they have the leadership of guard Tu Holloway, but can they stop Marquette's offense?
March 18th 9:57 PM ET
(3) Syracuse Orange (26-7) vs. (13) Indiana State Sycamores
You can pretty much take this one to the bank. Indiana State barely snuck into the tournament, and Syracuse finished 3rd in the Big East and has a Hall of Fame coach. This would be a very big upset.
March 18th 9:45 PM ET
Georgia is somewhat limping into the tournament here while the Washington Huskies just came off an extremely impressive run in the Pac-10 tournament. Led by guard Isaiah Thomas, I think the Huskies will take this one.
March 18th 7:15 PM ET
(2) North Carolina Tar Heels (26-7) vs. (15) Long Island Blackbirds (27-5)
Prediction: NORTH CAROLINA
UNC has too much length and too much talent, even though LIU is on a 13-game winning streak right now. Look for UNC to get their feet back underneath them in this game after a loss to Duke.