Men's Basketball 2015 NCAA Tournament East Regional Overview

East Regional Overview

The East Regional has a nice balance to it throughout the bracket. Villanova earned the number one seed thanks to winning the Big East Conference regular season championship and the conference tournament. The Wildcats were also rewarded for the overall toughness of the Big East as the conference was number two overall in conference RPI. Virginia fell to the number two seed after getting outplayed by North Carolina in a 71-67 in the ACC Conference Tournament semifinal but is still a dangerous threat to get to the Final Four.


#1 Villanova, #2 Virginia, #3 Oklahoma, #4 Louisville, #5 Northern Iowa, #6 Providence, #7 Michigan State, #8 North Carolina State, #9 LSU, #10 Georgia, #11 Boise State, #11 Dayton, #12 Wyoming, #13 UC Irvine, #14 Albany, #15 Belmont, #16 Lafayette


Who Can Win?

Villanova as a number one seed is a definite favorite. They should get to the Elite Eight out of the half of the bracket and should have little trouble moving through the first three rounds as either Louisville or especially Northern Iowa could be upset early. Virginia, if they can get past Michigan State or Georgia in the second round, should be in prime position to get a shot at Villanova as the pack-line defense is going to be tough to crack for teams in this East Regional. Oklahoma is also very battle tested after going through the Big 12 gauntlet, but they do face a potential trap when they play the winner of Providence vs. Boise State/Dayton since those teams will be a tough out for the Sooners.


Who Can Surprise?

Michigan State is playing very well right now despite losing to Wisconsin in the Big Ten Conference Tournament Championship game on Sunday. If the Spartans can get past a tough Georgia team in the 7-10 matchup, they will get another shot at Virginia and won’t be intimidated by the Cavaliers as they beat Virginia 61-59 in the Sweet 16 last season. Wyoming, as a 12 seed, is dangerous. They can defend the basketball and should have a pretty good presence at Key Arena in Seattle for their battle with Northern Iowa and could be that number 12 seed that beats a 5 seed.


Who’s Hot?

Villanova is red hot as they have won 15 straight and have not lost since January 19th when Georgetown blew them out 78-58. Northern Iowa bounced back from the loss at Wichita State on February 28th and put together three great performances in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament and come in on a roll, but Wyoming is going to be a very difficult matchup.


Who’s Cold?

The East Regional definitely has some teams that if they don’t get their act together will be out of the NCAA Tournament in short order. LSU was upset by Auburn in the SEC Tournament 73-70 and have been inconsistent at times, especially when it comes to finishing out games. Providence is only 5-5 in their last ten games and will need to get off to a fast start against Boise State or Dayton and take advantage of the winner of that game playing on short rest.


Upset Alert!

Northern Iowa should be on upset alert as Wyoming has the ability defensively to grind the tempo of the game down to a point where if the Panthers get impatient they could be going home early. Northern Iowa also drew the early 10:40 am Pacific time start out in Seattle and early start times on the West Coast are never easy, especially playing in cavernous Key Arena. Georgia could also upset Michigan State if they learned from their failures in their second game against Kentucky when they failed to seize multiple opportunities to pull away from the Wildcats.


What Possible Matchup is Interesting?

A showdown involving Louisville against Wyoming, if they upset Northern Iowa, would be interesting. That game could set records for one of the lowest scoring games in the NCAA Tournament. Another very interesting matchup would be an Elite Eight game between the top two seeds Villanova and Virginia. The Wildcats are outstanding at shooting the basketball with a 47 percent field goal percentage for the season heading into the NCAA Tournament. While, the Cavaliers defensively have limited opponents to just over a 36 percent field goal percentage and have held several teams under 50 points this season.


Which Player Will Dominate?

Oklahoma junior guard Buddy Hield has the potential to dominate in the NCAA Tournament. Hield is averaging 17.5 points per game, 5.5 rebounds per game, and is shooting 82.2 percent from the foul line. Thus, if Hield gets fouled late in games he will be a tremendous asset for the Sooners in close games during the NCAA Tournament. Hield was also the Big 12 Player of the Year and had a signature moment in the regular season finale with a tip-in basket to upset the Kansas Jayhawks in a 75-73 win for the Sooners.


Which System is Tough to Prepare For?

Virginia’s pack-line defense is very difficult to prepare for since the Cavaliers execute it very well. They have held NCAA Tournament teams like Harvard to 27 points back in December and high scoring tournament teams like Notre Dame to 56 points back on January 10th. Another byproduct of the pack-line defensive system is the approach taken by Virginia. They limit possessions with how slow of a tempo that they play at offensively. Thus, it puts teams under a lot more pressure to maximize their possessions when they play the Cavaliers and that is when Virginia puts the hammer down and puts teams away.


East Region Round of 64 Game Breakdowns


Midwest Regional Overview

Midwest Region Round of 64 Game Breakdowns


South Regional Overview

South Region Round of 64 Game Breakdowns


West Regional Overview

West Region Round of 64 Game Breakdowns


Tournament Central