East Regional General Info:
Site: Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey
Host: Seton Hall University
Automatic Bids: 8 (including play-in game)
At large bids: 10
BCS conference teams: 10
Mid majors: 8
Pods: Cleveland, Tampa, Charlotte
- Long Island is the lowest seeded team to lead the nation in one of the four factors
- Ohio State is looking to be only the second overall #1 seed to win the tournament
- Thad Matta has a potential Elite 8 meeting with Xavier, his former employer and alma mater
1. Ohio State (32-2) (16-2)
Bid: Big 10 tournament champions
Location: Columbus, Ohio
Famous sports alum: George Steinbrenner, former Yankees owner and possibly the devil
Famous non-sports attendee: serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer (did not graduate)
Random alum: Harry Drackett, Windex inventor
Relevant rankings: KenPom (1), Sagarin (1), Massey (1)
Key offensive stat: 41.3% three point shooting (1st nationally)
Key defensive stat: 20.9% free throw rate (1st nationally)
Key player: Jared Sullinger
Sullinger might be the most important player in this tournament. Besides being really good, he is the engine of the OSU offense, as the Buckeyes operate in somewhat of a hub and spokes type offense. One game of Sullinger in foul trouble could lead to an early exit for the Buckeyes. Also watch out for Senior Jon Diebler, who shot 51% from three this year and led the country in offensive rating.
Advice from gridders:
Whatever happens, do no
Say where you got inked
2. North Carolina (26-6) (14-2)
Bid: At large
Location: Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Famous sports alum: Mia Hamm
Famous non-sports alum: James K Polk, 11th president
Random alum: Francis Collins, director of the Human Genome Project
Relevant rankings: KenPom (14), Sagarin (15), Massey (7)
Key offensive stat: 66.3% free throws (265th)
Key defensive stat: 24.8% FTA/FGA (2nd nationally)
Key player: Kendall Marshall
Carolina is a bit overrated according to the more sophisticated ranking systems, but they are probably the worst possible Elite 8 matchup for the Buckeyes because of their reluctance to put opponents on the line. They also have a couple bigs in John Henson and Tyler Zeller who draw their fair share of fouls. Their offense isn't great in terms of PPP, but it has been much improved since Kendall Marshall took over for Larry Drew.
Williams can conserve.
He just used his last timeout
From the KU game.
3. Syracuse (26-7) (12-6)
Bid: At large
Location: Syracuse, New York
Famous alum: Ernie Davis, first African American to win the Heisman Trophy
Famous non-sports alum: Aaron Sorkin, screenwriter
Random alum: Dennis Crowley, co-founder of Foursquare
Relevant rankings: KenPom (11), Sagarin (10), Massey (10)
Key offensive stat: 65.9% free throws (274th)
Key defensive stat: 19.5% block rate (1st)
Key player: Rick Jackson
The Orange started off 18-0 before a four game losing streak that started a stretch in which they lost all 6 of their regular season games in a span of 8 games. Syracuse doesn't have a lot of size inside other than Jackson and Freshman Fab Melo, but their guards are very long and that's why they have a lot of blocks and steals on the year. The Orange look at once to be vulnerable to an early exit and regional contenders.
Big question for 'Cuse:
Is this year's Melo as Fab?
All signs point to no.
4. Kentucky (25-8) (10-6)
Bid: SEC Tournament Champions
Location: Lexington, Kentucky
Famous sports alum: Pat Riley, Miami Heat President
Famous non-sports alum: hottie Ashley Judd
Random alum: John Scopes, defendant in the Scopes Monkey Trial
Relevant rankings: KenPom (7), Sagarin (12), Massey (15)
Key offensive stat: 39.7% three point shooting (13th)
Key defensive stat: 41.6% 2 pt defense (6th)
Key player: Terrence Jones
Kentucky, by win loss record, doesn't deserve to be even a four seed. A 10-6 record doesn't really do it for me. But by efficiency margin purposes the Wildcats were the best team in the league and are serious Final Four contenders. Terrence Jones, Brandon Knight and Doron Lamb aren't as highly rated as John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins and Eric Bledsoe, but they have been very good. Also watch for Josh Harrellson, who is the only Wildcat with an offensive rebounding percentage over 10%.
Cats draw Ivy team.
Good thing points will win
And not reading skills.
5. West Virginia (20-11) (11-7)
Bid: At large
Location: Morgantown, West Virginia
Famous sports alum: Hot Rod Hundley, 1st overall pick in the 1957 NBA draft
Famous non-sports attendee: pitchman Billy Mays (did not graduate)
Random alum: Kathleen Hawk, director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons
Relevant rankings: KenPom (21), Sagarin (19), Massey (20)
Key offensive stat: 39.7% offensive rebounding (6th)
Key defensive stat: 34.8% defensive rebounding (274th)
Key player: Truck Bryant
No one player stands out for this Mountaineer squad, who have only 2 players with above a 110 offensive rating but 5 between 100 and 110. The Mountaineers don't have any one player who is absolutely needed to avoid a dreaded 5/12 upset, but they don't have one player who can put the team on their back either. Despite playing in the Big East, they appear most vulnerable to a 5/12 upset, though thankfully for them they will get a tired UAB or Clemson squad.
I had no idea
Huggins appeared in Seinfeld
6. Xavier (24-7) (15-1)
Bid: At large
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
Famous sports alum: Jim Bunning, former MLB pitcher
Famous non-sports alum: John Boehner, Speaker of the House. Also has an unfortunately spelled name.
Random alum: Lionel Chalmers, cousin of Mario
Relevant rankings: KenPom (37), Sagarin (35), Massey (28)
Key offensive stat: 52.1% two point percentage (20th)
Key defensive stat: 28% defensive rebounding percentage (24th)
Key player: Tu Holloway
Holloway plays in a remarkable 94% of the Musketeers' minutes, and the Junior point guard also has an assist rate over 30%. Despite the fact that the two players who play the most are 6' and 6'1", Xavier has the 4th best effective height in the country, getting plenty of minutes from 7' Junior Kenny Frease. Despite this height Xavier is below average in both offensive and defensive block percentage, though they do rebound well.
When you read Xavier
Remember it is Zave-year
And not zah-vee-yay
7. Washington (23-10) (11-7)
Bid: Pacific 10 Tournament champs
Location: Seattle, Washington
Famous sports alum: Tim Lincecum, pitcher
Famous non-sports alum: Kenny G, saxophone player
Random alum: Peter Davenport, director of the National UFO Reporting Center
Relevant rankings: KenPom (15), Sagarin (26), Massey (34)
Key offensive stat: 52.9% 2 point percentage (12th)
Key defensive stat: 45.3% assists/FGM (16th)
Key player: Isaiah Thomas
First, if you haven't seen it yet, check out Gus Johnson's call of Thomas's buzzer beater in the Pac 10 final. Secondly, this might be nuts of me, but on my first quick run through this bracket I actually had Washington winning the region. Their offense is one of the best in the country, Isaiah Thomas can outduel both Aaron Craft and Brandon Knight, and Matthew Bryan-Amaning is a good enough post player to neutralize Terrence Jones and Sullinger. They're not great defensively but it takes only one off shooting night from an opponent for the Huskies to roll. Of course, that works for them as well.
Huskies lack big wins.
KenPom liked them all season.
We'll see who is right.
8. George Mason (26-6) (16-2)
Bid: At large
Location: Fairfax County, Virginia
Famous sports alum: Dayton Moore, GM of the Kansas City Royals
Famous non-sports alum: Not an alum, but George Mason was a founding father and the Bill of Rights were based on the Virginia Declaration of Rights, written by Mason.
Random alum: Karl Rove, Deputy Chief of Staff for George W. Bush
Relevant rankings: KenPom (26), Sagarin (31), Massey (29)
Key offensive stat: 39.7% three pointers (14th)
Key defensive stat: 31.3% three pointers allowed (28th)
Key player: Cam Long
This Mason team is much different than the Final Four team, who made their hay defensively. These Patriots take care of the ball and shoot it very well from outside. Despite not beating a single tournament team all year, they have done very well efficiency wise, and KenPom has them as a 1 point favorite over Villanova.
An ode to founder.
Patriots take care of ball
Like 4th Amendment.
9. Villanova (21-11) (9-9)
Bid: At large
Location: Radnor Township, Pennsylvania
Famous sports alum: Tim Donaghy, scumbag referee.
Famous non-sports alum: Bradley Cooper, actor
Random alum: Jill Biden, second lady.
Relevant rankings: KenPom (28), Sagarin (24), Massey (35)
Key offensive stat: 75.8% free throws (17th)
Key defensive stat: 18.4% turnover rate (274th)
Key player: Corey Stokes
Nova is in the midst of a 5 game losing streak, and have lost 7 of their last 9. They have two players with assist rates over 30%, but no one else has an assist rate over 10%. Usually thought of as an uptempo team, the Wildcats are actually below average in terms of pace. To see a heartbreaking loss, take a look at their last loss, to South Florida.
Cats in a tailspin
If they suffer one more loss
They'll be known as manx
10. Georgia (21-11) (9-7)
Bid: At large
Location: Athens, Georgia
Famous sports alum: John Isner, pro tennis player
Famous non-sports alum: Ryan Seacrest, American Idol host
Random alum: Wayne Knight, played Newman in Seinfeld
Relevant Rankings: KenPom (57), Sagarin (52), Massey (50)
Key offensive stat: 36.5% offensive rebounding (35th)
Key defensive stat: 44.7% eFG allowed (17th)
Key player: Travis Leslie
Despite being thought of as one of the first couple teams out, or at least squarely on the bubble, Georgia not only gets in, but manages to grab a 10 seed. In order to pull what would potentially be one of the bigger 10 over 7 upsets of all time, Travis Leslie is going to have to be on fire. Georgia might also want to kidnap Junior Trey Thompkins, as he takes nearly a third of Georgia's shots while he's on the floor despite a 49.7% eFG.
Georgia got a 10?
Perhaps the committee thought
that this was football.
11. Marquette (20-14) (9-9)
Bid: At large
Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Famous sports alum: Doc Rivers, Boston Celtics head coach
Famous non-sports alum: Danny Pudi, plays Abed on the great NBC show Community
Random alum: My 9th grade geometry teacher and 11th grade Spanish teacher
Relevant rankings: KenPom (33), Sagarin (29), Massey (33)
Key offensive stat: 17.7% turnover rate (42nd)
Key defensive stat: 29.2% FTA/FGA (28th)
Key player: Jimmy Butler
Poor Xavier. Instead of getting Georgia or someone they get the Golden Eagles who are favored to win the game by a point according to KenPom. Their record is deflated a bit by a poor showing in close games vs. good opponents, including a 5 point loss at Notre Dame, a 1 point loss at Louisville and an 8 point loss at Pitt. Marquette doesn't do any one thing spectacularly, but they are a solid team that is good in almost every facet of the game.
Once the Warriors
Playing the Musketeers. Which
century is this?
12. UAB (22-8) (12-4)
Bid: at large
Location: Birmingham, Alabama
Famous sports alum: Vonetta Flowers, 2002 Bobsled Gold Medalist
Famous non-sports alum: Regina Benjamin, Surgeon General of the United States
Random alum: Diedre Downs, 2005 Miss America
Relevant Rankings: KenPom (56), Sagarin (53), Massey (54)
Key offensive stat: 30.2 FTA/FGA (323rd)
Key defensive stat: 45.6% eFG allowed (32nd)
Key player: Aaron Johnson
The Blazers were a surprising inclusion to the NCAA tournament, and it will be a long shot for them to stay for long. UAB relies on two Seniors who play 84% and 88% of their minutes respectively in Jamarr Sanders and Johnson. Johnson's 42.7% assist rate is 4th nationally, but he is one of only two Blazers above 10%
Included Blazers, thought they
played games in Portland
12. Clemson (21-11) (9-7)
Bid: at large
Location: Clemson, South Carolina
Famous sports alum: Oguchi Onyewu, USMNT soccer player
Famous non-sports alum: Strom Thurmond, longest serving US Senator ever.
Random alum: Robert H. Brooks, founder of Hooters
Relevant rankings: KenPom (24), Sagarin (42), Massey (39)
Key offensive stat: 20.6% turnovers (205th)
Key defensive stat: 43.7% 2 point defense (25th)
Key player: Demontez Stitt
Another surprising inclusion, Clemson has the KenPom profile to back it up. The Tigers have the 9th ranked adjusted defense in the KenPom rankings, allowing .89 points per possession this year, and allowing .96 PPP in ACC play. Jerai Grant's 10% block percentage is 27th in the country. From the "stop him before he shoots again" file, Sophomore Milton Jennings plays exactly half of the teams minutes, but takes over a fourth of the team's shots while he's on the floor, despite a 46.1% eFG
Tiger, burning bright
In the forest of the night
Copyright Will Blake
(note: this was given to me by Ryan Lambert, who writes for Puck Daddy, and I have no idea what it means)
Update! apparently it is a poem
13. Princeton (25-6) (12-2)
Bid: Automatic (won 1 game Ivy League playoff v. Harvard)
Location: Princeton, New Jersey
Famous sports alum: Bob Bradley, USMNT soccer coach
Famous non-sports alum: take your pick, but James Madison, 4th President of the United States
Random alum: Jeff Moss, co-creator of Sesame Street
Relevant Rankings: KenPom (87), Sagarin (76), Massey (60)
Key offensive stat: 52% eFG (49th)
Key defensive stat: 26.6% offensive rebounding allowed (6th)
Key player: Ian Hummer
The Tigers make their first tournament since 2004, and look to pull off a first round win for the Ivy for a second year in a row. Fortunately for them they grab a lot of defensive rebounds, because they force very few turnovers (267th). They shoot fairly well from three, so a first round upset is possible, though I wouldn't bank on it.
Tigers tall, shoot threes.
First round upset in the cards?
Only in hockey.
14. Indiana State (20-13) (12-6)
Location: Terre Haute, Indiana
Famous sports alum: Tommy John, former pitcher, has a surgery named after him.
Famous non-sports alum: Jeff Belskus, CEO of Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Random alum: Bubba the Love Sponge, radio personality
Relevant rankings: KenPom (109), Sagarin (113), Massey (105)
Key offensive stat: 46.4% 2 pointers (232nd)
Key defensive stat: 44.3% 2 pt defense (36th)
Key player: Carl Richard
Jake Odum has a 29.4% assist rate, and has been somewhat of a revelation for the Sycamores. Unfortunately for them he is a Freshman and Freshmen point guards have a rough time in the tournament, especially those from mid major conferences. Dwayne Lathan draws a lot of fouls, but also takes more than a fourth of the teams shots despite a 45.2% eFG.
Best name in tourney
is the Sycamores. Upset?
Not unless Bird plays.
15. Long Island (27-5) (16-2)
Location: Brookville, New York
Famous sports alum: Hank Beenders, first non-American to play in NBA finals
Famous non-sports alum: Louis Lemberger, one of the developers of Prozac
Random alum: Ed Lauter, actor in movies such as The Longest Yard and Revenge of the Nerds II
Relevant rankings: KenPom (121), Sagarin (94), Massey (73)
Key offensive stat: 50.6 FTA/FGA (1st)
Key defensive stat: 25.0 FTA/FGA (3rd)
Key player: Jamal Olasewere
Olasewere is 6th best in the country in terms of drawing fouls, and teammate Kenny Onyechi is 13th. Long Island getting to the line and North Carolina never putting anyone on the line is an interesting matchup, and we'll see which team's skill gives. Long Island's games average 74 possessions, 4th fastest in D1, and they are playing a fellow track meet team, so this could be one of the more exciting 2/15 games in awhile.
Blackbirds play quickly
So quickly I get tired
Writing about them.
16.Texas-San Antonio (19-13) (9-7)
Location: San Antonio, Texas
Famous sports alum: Michelle Beadle, SportsNation host and total hottie.
Famous non-sports alum: James Mbowe Nyondo, Presidential candidate of Malawi
Random alum: Dayna Devon, co-host of the TV show Extra
Relevant rankings: KenPom (219), Sagarin (220), Massey (214)
Key offensive stat: 36.3% three point shooting (75th)
Key defensive stat: 39% 3PA/FGA allowed (321st)
Key player: Devin Gibson
The Roadrunners aren't really great at anything, but allowed 1.06 PPP during the season. They also had the 9th best offense in Southland conference play. Senior Devin Gubson draws a lot of fouls , dishes out a lot of assists, and steals the ball at a very high rate.
Were playing the Coyotes
This would be easy
16. Alabama State (17-17) (11-7)
Location: Montgomery, Alabama
Famous sports alum: Tarvaris Jackson, quarterback of the Minnesota Vikings
Famous non-sports alum: Fred Gray, attorney who represented Rosa Parks in the Montgomery Bus Boycott
Random alum: Fred Wesley, a trombonist who played with James Brown in the 70s
Relevant rankings: KenPom (295), Sagarin (308), Massey (389)
Key offensive stat: 29.2% three pointers (337th)
Key defensive stat: 43.5% two point defense (24th)
Key player: Tramaine Butler
Alabama State absolutely cannot score, but despite being ranked 241st in adjusted defensive efficiency, they aren't a bad defensive team, as their 2 pt percentage allowed suggests. Alabama State rebounds fairly well as well, which is good because they are horrible at shooting.
Hornets cannot score
Should be quick exit for them
They have no stinger
Most likely to pull an upset: Marquette over Xavier, I think Long Island semi has a shot against UNC
Most likely to pull a surprise run: Washington
Final Four Favorite: Ohio State
Best team no one knows about: George Mason