2011 NCAA East Region Predictions
NCAA Bracket East Region Favorites to Make Final Four
Ohio State: The Buckeyes have the ideal balance of senior leadership and talented freshmen, and they can score in the paint and beyond the arc. As long as freshman sensation Jared Sullinger stays out of foul trouble, the Buckeyes have the inside track to the Final Four. If the Big Tens all-time 3-point leader John Diebler is stroking shots like he was at the end of the regular season, OSU could walk away with a national title.
Syracuse: A four-game losing streak during conference play dropped the Orange out of the top-five, but even the most complete teams can have problems in the brutal Big East. All seven of Syracuses loses came during conference, and they are going to be a tough matchup for any team that is familiar with their 2-3 zone. They have four players that average in double figures, and that patented defense has shut down teams in the past. It could carry Syracuse back to the Final Four.
NCAA Bracket East Region Upset Specials
George Mason over Villanova:
GMU is actually the higher seed in this No. 8 versus No. 9 matchup, but Nova is clearly the more attractive name to the casual fan. The Big East may have been the toughest conference all year, but George Mason is hot and Nova is tanking. GMU has won 16 of its last 17 games entering the tournament, while Villanova has dropped five straight and 10 of its last 15.
Clemson over West Virginia:
This pick comes with the caveat that the Tigers beat UAB in the play-in game, but Clemson is deep, athletic team that should meet WVU. The Tigers pose a tough matchup for a West Virginia team that tends to go through prolonged offensive slumps and has a lack of presence in the post. Not to mention the fact that the grueling Big East schedule has taken its toll on teams in the past come tournament time.
My Prediction to win the East Region-Syracuse Orange