2022 Men's Basketball NCAA Tournament East Regional Overview

East Regional Overview
NCAA loves me, NCAA loves me not: that was what many basketball teams were chanting while plucking sunflowers. They hoped for favorable seeds and matchups, but this regional will be anything but. With Baylor, Kentucky, Purdue, and UCLA all battling for a Final Four place, the East Regional will be jampacked with action and incredible highlights. The competition will surely be fierce.
Who Can Win?
Although Kansas drew headlines for its magnificent record in the regular season, Baylor matched it. With an efficient offense, it breezed towards a #2 seed in the SEC Tournament. The only thing worrying Baylor fans is their early exit to Oklahoma. Baylor has the talent, but Kentucky could steal a win against them if Baylor is not careful. Kentucky ranks third in adjusted efficiency margin, meaning they are dominant even against the best opposition. Both Baylor and Kentucky could be candidates for a Final Four appearance.
Who Can Surprise?
For some years, Murray State was known as Ja Morant’s alma mater, but it could all change this week with the array of talent these Racers have. They start with a match against San Fransisco as the favorites, but from there on, the Racers are squarely underdogs. A likely match against Kentucky awaits them if they win, but if they use their versatility and well-roundedness to their advantage, they have a fighting chance.
Who’s Hot?
Virginia Tech came off a giant-killing spree in the ACC Tournament, beating Notre Dame, UNC, and Duke to claim the ACC Tournament title. The Hokies impressed with a red-hot offense and good defense. If their form continues, a deep run could be in store for them. 
Who’s Cold?
Texas was nationally ranked going into the Big 12 Tournament, having lost eleven times through the season, but holding up against the nation’s best. Yet an in-state rivalry against TCU went wrong, as TCU won by five. Such a sudden stop to the postseason will erase all the momentum the Longhorns had from the regular season, and a tough matchup against the Hokies will be vital to getting it back.
Upset Alert!
Going from the First Four to the later stages of March Madness is absurd, but it is something Indiana and Wyoming both can do. Wyoming drew attention with their impressive play in the Mountain West but fell short in the conference final against Boise State. They have a unique stance to the game that will confuse Wyoming’s enemies. At the same time, Indiana launched a deep run, foiling the Big 10’s best and marking themselves as a team not to be taken lightly. The two can show why March is so crazy, but it will take a lot of hard work and a bit of luck.  
What Possible Matchup is Interesting?
Although somewhat boring compared to the potential matches of Baylor-UK or Purdue-UCLA, a match of SMC-UNC would be a test for each team’s frontcourt. While the Tar Heels have players like Armando Bacot and Brady Manek, Saint Mary’s has one of the best rebounding teams in the nation, restricting opponents to just 29.6 rebounds per game. It would be a physical match that would let scouts see the best bigs in the nation.
Which Player Will Dominate?
Oscar Tshiebwe was phenomenal during the season, grabbing rebounds, presenting his presence in the paint, and being adept on defense for Kentucky. If the SEC Player of the Year has his way, he and Kentucky will be unstoppable. Overall, he is one of the best talents in the nation and has the potential to lead Kentucky to a championship.
Which System is Tough to Prepare For?
Purdue has one of the best offenses in college basketball and really good defense as well. If they can put it to work, you could see more Purdue than usual in March. You cannot forget UCLA’s elite offense and defense. The Bruins rank 15th in Kenpom’s adjusted offensive rating and twelfth in its adjusted defensive rating. They both are very versatile and have a lot of momentum going into March. They will pose a threat to the top seeds of the East.