Wednesday, March 14, 2018
Sportz Assassin's East Region Preview
TEAM TO BEAT: Villanova. The Wildcats have had an outstanding run the last few seasons and are in line to win their second championship in three years. They have two national award winner candidates in Jalen Brunson and Mikal Bridges. They have coughed up a few games this year but this team has a deadly combination of experience and efficiency rarely seen in the one-and-done era.
TEAM THAT WILL WIN THE REGION: Villanova. The East Region is seen as the weakest of the four which sets up nicely for the Wildcats. Not to say there aren't landmines, but they are clearly the best team in this corner of the bracket. Of course, they seemed that way a year ago and lost in the 2nd round.
TEAM TO WATCH FOR (LESS THAN A NO. 3 SEED): West Virginia. If only the Mountaineers could close out games, they would be a top two seed in this tournament. They have a disturbing trend of blowing huge leads to good teams and that's not a cross you want to bear right now. However, they got those leads using their Press Virginia defense which is so difficult to prepare for, especially on that second game of the weekend. If they can clamp down on their choking ways, they could do some damage.
YOUR CINDERELLA: Alabama. Any time you come into the tournament with a guy like Collin Sexton, you are dangerous. This isn't a great Crimson Tide squad but Sexton is the real deal. If they can get past Virginia Tech, their matchup against Villanova should be fun to watch.
WORST SEEDING ERROR: Alabama. The seeding in the region is a bit off by design. Butler is a No. 10 so they can avoid fellow Big East member Villanova in the second round. That knocked Alabama up a line to No. 9 despite them losing 15 games this season -- most by an at-large selection in history.
HOME COURT ADVANTAGE: Villanova. Texas Tech and Stephen F. Austin should have a nice fan base when the two face off in Dallas but 'Nova's itinerary of Pittsburgh and Boston should enable Wildcats fans to fill both arenas to watch their school attempt to get back to the Final Four.
MUST WATCH GAME: Virginia Tech vs Alabama. Sexton is a must-watch talent. Virginia Tech has a lot of athletic wings and forwards to work on Sexton. The Hokies have beaten Virginia, North Carolina and Duke this year so they won't be in fear of Bama. Should be an exciting game..
MUST WATCH (POTENTIAL) SECOND ROUND GAME: Wichita State vs West Virginia. Wichita State has a lot of good guards (led by Landry Shamet) who can handle the ball and make plays. West Virginia loves to press opponents and force them into turnovers. To see both those teams strengths collide should be a treat. Add in the Mountaineers penchant for blowing leads and this game could come down to the wire.