clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Breaking Down The NCAA Bracket: East Regional

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

Interesting facts:

  • 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

Team Capsules

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

Ensconced in velvet.


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%


Committee confused

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)


Bid: Automatic

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)


Bid: Automatic

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)


Bid: Automatic

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)


Bid: Automatic

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

RCT Predictions

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

Underseeded: Marquette

Overseeded: Georgia

Best team no one knows about: George Mason