2011 NCAA Tournament Predictions: East Region

March 16, 2011
By K. Becks

Just in time, here is my East Region breakdown. Arguably the toughest region, this one should be exciting to watch.

First Round Games to Watch

#8 George Mason vs. #9 Villanova (Fri, 2:10 pm)

The 8 vs. 9 matchups are almost always toss-ups, and this one is really no different. However, it is interesting as to why. George Mason is the class of what has looked to be a very stellar Colonial Athletic conference this season. The Patriots like to push the ball, and can really get going if their three point shots are falling. It will be interesting to see how the mid-major team who has been hot as of late (winners of 16 of their last 17 games) will fare against the team who started well (Villanova started 16-1), but cooled off to end the season (3-7 in their last 10).

#7 Washington vs. #10 Georgia (Fri, following North Carolina vs. Long Island)

The Huskies are some people’s pick to knock off North Carolina in the third round. However, don’t fall asleep on the Bulldogs. Although Georgia doesn’t have any wins that stand out, they are a disciplined team who has the talent to knock off some good teams. The key matchup to watch will be Georgia’s Gerald Robinson against Washington’s Isaiah Thomas, who can light up teams with his quickness to the basket. The man who gets the best of the other in that battle may also be the man standing on top at the end of regulation in this game.

Team That Could Make a Run

Xavier

The only two teams that have made the Sweet 16 in each of the past three seasons are Michigan State and Xavier. With that said, the Musketeers are a sleeper to make it that far again. Junior guard Tu Holloway gets things started for Xavier, but they are more than just one player. Junior Kenny Frease and senior Jamel McLean make the Musketeers very dangerous on the boards as well. Xavier is just as capable of losing to Marquette in the second round as they are of upsetting a team like Syracuse in the Sweet 16, but this is definitely a team to keep an eye on this weekend.

My Picks

2nd Round

#1 Ohio State over #16 UT-San Antonio

#8 George Mason over #9 Villanova

#5 West Virginia over #12 Clemson

#4 Kentucky over #13 Princeton

#6 Xavier over #11 Marquette

#3 Syracuse over #14 Indiana State

#7 Washington over #10 Georgia

#2 North Carolina over #15 Long Island

3rd Round

#1 Ohio State over #8 George Mason

#4 Kentucky over #5 West Virginia

#3 Syracuse over #6 Xavier

#2 North Carolina over #7 Washington

Sweet 16

#1 Ohio State over #4 Kentucky

#3 Syracuse over #2 North Carolina

Elite 8

#1 Ohio State over #3 Syracuse

- K. Becks

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