2019 Men's Basketball NCAA Tournament East Region Round of 64 Game Breakdowns

East Region Round of 64 Game Breakdowns
Duke will not have any problems with either of the teams they could face in the first round. North Carolina Central and North Dakota State deserve a lot of credit for getting this far, but the culmination of their season will come at the First Four in Dayton when they play each other with the opportunity to face off against the Blue Devils as the prize. Zion Williamson is a beast in the paint against the best defenses in the country and the big man will dominate against NCCU or NDSU.
#8 VCU vs. #9 UCF
Both VCU and UCF play solid defense, so this game should remain close. These are a couple teams that can struggle to shoot the ball, but the Knights of UCF have a slight advantage on the glass. Collin Smith and Tacko Fall are a tough frontcourt and VCU’s Marcus Santos-Silva could have his hands full. VCU will look to offset the rebounding margin in the turnover department. UCF has done a decent job of taking care of the basketball, led by junior guard Terrell Allen and senior guard B.J. Taylor. The Rams will look to create turnovers, but if the Knights can take care of the ball, they should be able to win a low scoring affair.
Liberty has had a great season. They take smart shots, take care of the basketball and play tough defense. That is a recipe for success in the NCAA Tournament, especially for a team littered with experienced upperclassmen. However, this may prove to be a tough matchup for the Flames. Mississippi State boasts a dynamic frontcourt trio of Reggie Perry, Abdul Ado and Aric Holman that could cause fits for Liberty on both ends of the floor. Ado and Holman are decent shot blockers and that will force Liberty to take a few more outside shots than they prefer. Holman can stretch the defense with his outside shooting and Perry will not be afraid to take on anybody in the paint.
Virginia Tech is a very good shooting team. Saint Louis is one of the worst shooting teams in the country. The story could be that simple when all is said and done, but the Billikens will certainly look to take advantage of their aggressive play on both ends of the floor and frustrate the Hokies. Saint Louis will rely on their aggressive guard trio of Javon Bess, Tramaine Isabell and Jordan Goodwin to score some easy points off steals and attack the basket and at least get a chance to put points on the board at the charity stripe.
#6 Maryland vs. #11 Belmont / Temple
Belmont will want to prove they belong in the NCAA Tournament when they take on Temple in the First Four. The Bruins are one of the highest scoring teams in the nation and share the ball amazingly well. Dylan Windler averages 21.4 points per game and Temple will have a tough time keeping up with him and the rest of the Bruins despite their trio of very talented guards. The winner will face Maryland, a team that has the size and the defensive prowess to slow down either Belmont or Temple.
#3 LSU vs. #14 Yale
LSU has some off-court issues going on right now and that may be a good opportunity for Yale to pull off an upset. The Bulldogs have had recent NCAA Tournament success and hope to continue that in 2019. Yale is a team that shoots the ball efficiently, but normally inside the arc. LSU will play aggressive defense and Yale should be able to get some open looks if they can take care of the basketball. Slowing down LSU’s offense will be an even bigger issue with Tremont Waters, Skylar Mays and Naz Reid all averaging at least 13 points per game.
Louisville may not have a particularly prolific offense, but they are a team that can score in a wide variety of ways. Jordan Nowara leads the team with 17.2 points per game and is a prolific outside shooter who can also attack the basket. Dwayne Sutton and Christen Cunningham are solid shooters too and will spend a lot of time at the charity stripe. It is tough to slow down an offense that can score points even when their outside shot is not falling and that will be the challenge for the Minnesota defense. The Golden Gophers have struggled on both ends of the floor at times and they will need a big game from Amir Coffey and Jordan Murphy to advance and get another shot at Michigan State.
Bradley has won nine of their last 11 games and is playing their best basketball right now. Their defense is solid all-around and it will be key for Darrell Brown and Nate Kennell to knock down their outside shots. If those shots are not falling, Bradley is not going to beat a Michigan State team that has a ton of frontcourt depth and a superstar lead guard in Cassius Winston.