2019 Men's Basketball NCAA Tournament East Regional Overview

East Regional Overview
This appears to be a manageable region for both top seeds, Duke and Michigan State. There will be a few tricky teams that they could run into, but the Blue Devils and Spartans are the teams to beat. However, Michigan State should feel a little slighted. They could have been a #1 seed and are now matched up with, arguably, one of the better #1 seeds in Duke.
#1 Duke, #2 Michigan State, #3 LSU, #4 Virginia Tech, #5 Mississippi State, #6 Maryland, #7 Louisville, #8 VCU, #9 UCF, #10 Minnesota, #11 Temple / Belmont, #12 Liberty, #13 Saint Louis, #14 Yale, #15 Bradley, #16 North Carolina Central / North Dakota State
Who Can Win?
Duke and Michigan State are two teams who will be expecting to get to the Final Four this season. Only one can make it.
Who Can Surprise?
Virginia Tech is a team that can beat anybody on any given day due to their outside shooting ability. Just about everybody on the team is a threat to shoot from long range and when those shots are falling, the Hokies can score in bunches. Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Justin Robinson, Ahmed Hill and Ty Outlaw all shoot around 40 percent from beyond the arc and it only takes a couple of them to have a big day for this team to pull off an upset.
Who’s Cold?
Maryland has lost three out of their last four games. One of them was to Michigan, which is a perfectly fine loss, but they lost at Penn State and against Nebraska in the Big Ten Tournament. The Terrapins have had some rough stretches during the 2018-2019 campaign and managed to turn things around. Coach Mark Turgeon will have to quickly get his team back to their winning ways since Maryland will have to face off against a Belmont or Temple team that just gained some confidence with their tournament win in Dayton.
Upset Alert!
Saint Louis is a team to watch. They are aggressive on both ends of the floor and some teams, especially those with young point guards, can have trouble with the Billikens. However, the bigger potential upset in the East Region is Yale over LSU. The Tigers have 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.
What Possible Matchup is Interesting?
Virginia Tech beat Duke back on February 26th and those two teams could face off again in the Sweet Sixteen. Of course the Hokies had an easier time winning that game because that was when Zion Williamson was out with an injury. Virginia Tech will have a new set of challenges with Williamson back. However, the Hokies did not shoot as well as they usually do in that matchup and they can make up for the offense that Williamson will add if they can hit their three-pointers.
Which Player Will Dominate?
The entire collegiate basketball season has been about Zion Williamson. The Duke freshman forward averages 22.1 points, 8.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 2.2 steals and 1.8 blocks per game. The whole NCAA Tournament will have quite a bit of focus on the future first overall pick in the NBA Draft as long as Duke is still around.
Which System is Tough to Prepare For?
Saint Louis’ aggressive style of play can be very difficult for some teams to handle. 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. That defensive intensity can cause nightmares for inexperienced point guards.