Related FeaturesWhatifsports.com Bracket Predictions
NCAA Tournament Preview
Big Ten Bracket of Classics
The NCAA Tournament East Region includes a young Kentucky squad led by freshman sensation John Wall. The Big East has two representatives in 2-seed West Virgnia and 6-seed Marquette, strengthening the bottom half of the bracket.
Some believe Temple got hosed with their 5-seed, whereas some wonder if Missouri belonged in the dance at all.
The Washington Huskies out of the Pac 10 will look to bolster the conference's tattered reputation with an upset win as the 11-seed. The Ivy League is hoping their Cinderella story is penned by the boys from Cornell.
Below is a team-by-team breakdown of the East Region.
Players: G: John Wall, F: DeMarcus Cousins, F: Patrick Patterson
Analysis: John Calipari's Wildcats are bursting with talent, evidenced by 1st-team All-SEC selections of Wall, Cousins, and Patterson. The biggest hurdle for Kentucky will be their maturity, which at times this season has been suspect.
2) West Virginia
Players: F: Da'Sean Butler, F: Devin Ebanks
Analysis: Ending a Big East season with all your extremities still intact is an accomplishment in itself. But to finish the regular season in second place behind only Syracuse is a cause for celebration. Many think Bob Huggins and company have the talent to make a deep run in this year's tournament. For that to happen, defense needs to remain the key to West Virginia's game plan. It wouldn't hurt if the Mountaineers improve on their 43-percent field goal percentage and gave Da'Sean Butler some assistance on offense.
3) New Mexico
Players: G: Darington Hobson, F: Roman Martinez
Analysis: When it comes to consistency on the floor, look no further than the Lobos as the same five players started every game this season. The team's 28 regular season wins tie a school record set 14 years ago. It only took Steve Alford three seasons to crank out a winning tradition at New Mexico.
Players: G: Trevon Hughes, G: Jason Bohannon, F: Jon Leuer
Analysis: Bo knows coaching. The Badgers know how to win. Wisconsin ended the regular season with a 5-2 record against teams ranked in the Top 25. The team is ranked third in the country defensively allowing only 56.1 ppg to opposing teams. Additionally they are first in the country in taking care of the rock, averaging only nine turnovers a game.
Players: G: Ryan Brooks, G: Juan Fernandez, F: Lavoy Allen
Analysis: Predicted to place in the middle of the A-10 pack, Temple was one of this season's surprises, finishing the regular season at 26-5. A balanced scoring attack led by double-double machine Lavoy Allen (11.7 ppg/10.8 rpg) makes the Owls a dark horse to reach Indianapolis.
Players: F: Lazar Hayward, G/F: Jimmy Butler
Analysis: A lack of a bench has been somewhat of an Achilles' heel for the Golden Eagles, illustrated by their numerous single-digit losses throughout the season. Yet the scoring tandem of Hayward and Butler is paralleled to none, making Marquette a dangerous 1st round opponent.
Players: F: Trevor Booker, G: Demontez Stitt.
Analysis: The good news: Clemson employs the services of banger Trevor Booker, who's averaging 15 points and 8 boards. The bad news: A 9-7 record in an aberrantly weak ACC doesn't indicate tournament success for the Tigers.
Players: G/F: Damion James, G: Avery Bradley, C: Dexter Pittman
Analysis: After starting the season 17-0, the Longhorns limp into the dance at 24-9. One bright spot for Coach Rick Barnes has been All-Big 12 selection Damion James, averaging 18 points and 10 boards a game. Texas' ultimate fate will be dependent on freshman Avery Bradley, whose play has been inconsistent at best.
9) Wake Forest
Players: F: Al-Farouq Aminu, G: Ishmael Smith
Analysis: Skeptics might be wondering if a 19-10 record (along with a 9-7 conference mark) warrants an invitation to the dance. Dino Gaudio's squad did have some impressive wins on their resume, with victories over Maryland, Gonzaga, and Xavier. The Demon Deacons will count on sophomore Al-Farouq Aminu (15.7 ppg/10.7 rpg) to carry them into the weekend.
Players: G: Kim English, G: Marcus Denmon
Analysis: Momentum is not on Missouri's side, as the Tigers have lost three of the past four games going into the tournament. Coach Mike Anderson has the asset of a deep rotation, but with the loss of starter Justin Safford (ACL tear), it's hard to fathom Mizzou making any noise in the dance.
Players: F: Quincy Pondexter, G: Isaiah Thomas
Analysis: The Huskies will be making their 2nd straight NCAA trip after knocking off Cal in the Pac 10 Championship. Lorenzo Romar's offense is energized by Quincy Pondexter (19.8 ppg/7.5 rpg) and Isaiah Thomas (not that Isiah Thomas, 17.1 ppg). Washington comes in winning 12 of their past 14 games.
Players: F: Ryan Wittman, C: Jeff Foote
Analysis: Don't be fooled, this isn't your usual Ivy League push-over. The Big Red took Kansas to the wire in Lawrence before falling 71-66. With a record of 27-4, Cornell could pose as a formidable 1st round adversary
Players: F: Noah Dahlman, F: Jamar Diggs
Analysis: Could this be the second coming of Davidson? The Terriers have won 19 of their past 20, and gave Michigan State and Pittsburgh trouble in their early season matchups. And while he hasn't gotten the same love as Stephen Curry, Southern Conference Player of the Year Noah Dahlman (16.8 ppg/6.3 rpg) could be a tournament breakout-star.
Players: G:Anthony Johnson, C: Brian Qvale
Analysis: Size matters in the Big Sky and Montana has plenty of it roaming around on the block. Brian Qvale stands 6-foot-11 and Derek Selvig is a 7-footer, but the two only average a combined 12 rebounds a game. The Grizzlies shot over 48-percent from the floor during the regular season and will need not only Anthony Johnson (defenses will pressure him), but a balanced scoring attack to advance past the first round.
15) Morgan State
Players: G: Reggie Holmes, F: Kevin Thompson
Analysis: Do not hibernate on the Golden Bears and beware of Reggie Holmes. The senior leaves Morgan State as the school's single season and all-time leader scorer. The MEAC regular season champs also possess the conference's rookie of the year, DeWayne Jackson, who shot over 45-percent from behind the arc this season. Granted, most of their team statistics are towards the bottom of the NCAA totem pole of excellence, but the Bears average over 77 points per game, which could provide useful is surviving round one.
16) East Tennessee State
Players: F: Tommy Hubbard, G: Justin Tubbs
Analysis: The Buccaneers captured their second consecutive Atlantic Sun Conference championship earlier this month. However, the 20-win Buccs will need an offensive punch to match their defensive pressure. The 16-seed is far from cozy and leaning on the likes of Hubbard and Tubbs for 40 minutes is going to send the Buccaneers home early.
More Team-by-Team Breakdowns
- Midwest Region - #1 seed - Kansas
- West Region - #1 seed - Syracuse
- South Region - #1 seed - Duke
- NCAA Tournament Preview
WIS Bracket Predictions - Need some help filling out your bracket? Whatifsports.com is here to help!
Big Ten Bracket of Classics - Sixteen Big Ten classic basketball teams go head-to-head!
NBA University - Which college program produces the best pros? Enroll in NBA University and find out!
NCAAB SimMatchup - Who would win between J-Wall's Wildcats and Carmelo's 'Cuse? Find out here!
Hoops Dynasty - Recruit, practice and game plan as head coach of your very own college basketball program.