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Fortune Teller: East Regional Brackets

We preview the upcoming NCAA tournament by taking a look at each of the regional brackets. We start by profiling the East regional. For a good laugh, take a look at our East Regional preview from a year ago.


Best First-Round Matchup

Brian: I'm going with the Champs Sports Bowl rematch between the 5 seed Florida State vs. the 12 seed Wisconsin. Wisconsin just barely made the tournament field and has something to prove. Florida State is a very good team when they play teams not named Duke (0-3), but the Noles have no recent tournament experience whatsoever (they were last dancing when I was 16). Location advantage? Nah, the game is in freaking Boise, probably on smurf-colored hardwood.

Jeff: The best first round matchup here is clearly the 8-9 game between Oklahoma State and Tennessee. Tennessee is a team that underperformed this year but was in a weak conference so was still able to win their division. Oklahoma State meanwhile played in a better conference but had a nice run in their conference tourney making them one of those teams you want to keep you eye on.


Matchup We'd Most Like To See

Jeff: As an ACC guy, I am hoping to see Florida State play Pittsburgh. Florida State is the 4th team out of the ACC based both on reg season standings and on NCAA tourney seedings and if they can knock out the Panthers it will say a lot about which conference is the best this season.

Brian: A Pittsburgh-UCLA regional final has some appeal with the Ben Howland connection, but I'm going with Duke vs. Florida State in the regional final as the matchup I'd most want to see. Largely because I want to see if a team - Duke - can beat a team four times in the same season. That, and it would be really good for the conference to have two ACC teams playing in the East regional final. Instead of, say, Pittsburgh vs. Villanova.


Trendy Bandwagon Pick

Brian: "It's that damn Villanova! They're so hot right now!" ... they play their first two games in Philadelphia ... Duke is vulnerable ... already beat Pittsburgh by ten points at home back in January ... blah blah blah. Remember, the last time Nova was a 3 seed in the East, they were upset 89-81 in triple OT to 14th seeded Old Dominion.

Jeff: This bracket seems to lack any trendy pick but my guess would be its actually Florida State after their little run in the ACC Tournament.


The Sleeper Pick

Jeff: Watch out for Tennessee. I know they failed to win the SEC tournament which was theirs for the taking but they have the talent to make noise in the tournament.

Brian: I'm going to go with Portland State as the 13 seed. Not going to bet my bracket on it, but the Big Sky champs are making only their second NCAA Tournament appearance in program history, knocked off a very good Gonzaga team earlier this year, and are winners of six straight (albeit against unmemorable Big Sky opponents). This regional's four seed - Xavier - is on the opposite side of the same coin, going 5-5 in their last 10, including losses to Duquense, Dayton, Charlotte, Richmond and Temple. Any idea where the once 20-2 Xavier team went?


The Meast of the East

Can anyone stop Pittsburgh's DeJuan Blair (15.6 points per, 12.4 boards)?


Random Fact about the Regional that will do you no good while selecting your bracket:

The teams within the East regional have a combined 18 National Championships among them - UCLA (11), Duke (3), Oklahoma State (2), Villanova (1), Wisconsin (1). This blows away the National Championship tally of the other three regions - Midwest has 10 titles, South has 6 titles, and the West has 5.


Jeff's Picks
Second Round: Pittsburgh, Tennessee, Florida State, Xavier, UCLA, Villanova, Texas, Duke
Sweet 16: Pittsburgh, Florida State, Villanova, Duke
Elite 8: Florida State, Duke
Final Four Pick: Duke

Brian's Picks
Second Round: Pittsburgh, Oklahoma St., Wisconsin, Portland St., UCLA, Villanova, Minnesota, Duke
Sweet 16: Pittsburgh, Wisconsin, Villanova, Duke
Elite 8: Pittsburgh, Villanova
Final Four Pick: Pittsburgh