BRACKET BLOG: East Region

This is the final BRACKET BLOG for the so-called second round, and with it comes one last admonishment/exhortation to join the BOTC Bracket Challenge here before the 11 a.m. deadline today.

The group ID is 104278 and the password is FearTheBeard.

And for some last-minute sage advice to help you pick games in the East Region, click the jump.

Previous Entries:

The Teams

  1. Ohio St. Buckeyes
  2. North Carolina Tar Heels
  3. Syracuse Orange
  4. Kentucky Wildcats
  5. West Virginia Mountaineers
  6. Xavier Musketeers
  7. Washington Huskies
  8. George Mason Patriots
  9. Villanova Wildcats
  10. Georgia Bulldogs
  11. Marquette Golden Eagles
  12. Clemson Tigers
  13. Princeton Tigers
  14. Indiana St. Sycamores
  15. Long Island U. Blackbirds
  16. Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners

The Sites

  • Charlotte, N.C.
  • Cleveland, Ohio
  • Newark, N.J. (Sweet Sixteen | Elite Eight)
  • Tampa, Fla.

The Breakdown

No. 1 Ohio State (32-2) vs. No. 16 Texas-San Antonio (20-13)
March 18 | 3:40 p.m. CST | Cleveland | TNT
Gus Johnson | Len Elmore

The Roadrunners won their first NCAA Tournament game ever Wednesday night.

Good for them. But now Jon Diebler, Jared Sullinger and the Buckeyes are going to make like Wile E. Coyote and drop a barrel of Acme explosives on their heads.

With any luck, Gus Johnson will contain himself in what is sure to be a blowout of epic proportions. We'll need him for better contests down the road.

GAMER: not available
Pomeroy: OSU 87, UTSA 59
Sagarin: OSU 71, UTSA 51

UPSET ALERT: No. 2 North Carolina (26-7) vs. No. 15 Long Island (27-5)
March 18 | 6:15 p.m. CST | Charlotte | CBS
Jim Nantz | Clark Kellogg

Call me crazy, but I always designate a game with an Upset Alert whenever the lower-seeded team has a better overall record. Yes, it's usually because said team played a much weaker schedule, but the ACC was so bad this year that those differences are less pronounced than normal.

Additionally, the GAMER-predicted score caught my eye. And clearly, all three predictive systems don't think highly of Carolina's defense. That's never a good thing in this tournament.

Ever since shelling Duke at home, UNC has looked pretty poor. Part of that is youth, but part of it is also the coach.

All I'm saying is to keep an eye on this one. Picking it is bracket suicide given the infrequency with which No. 15 seeds prevail, but Long Island could be this year's Robert Morris (the team it defeated in the conference championship, by the way) and I just want to be able to say, "I told you so," if that turns out to be the case.

GAMER: UNC 72, LIU 69
Pomeroy: UNC 92, LIU 73
Sagarin: UNC 88, LIU 75

No. 3 Syracuse (26-7) vs. No. 14 Indiana State (20-13)
March 18 | 8:57 p.m. CST | Cleveland | truTV
Gus Johnson | Len Elmore

A battle of the trees versus a fruit that grows on trees. How novel.

Freshman sensation Jake Odum was the star of Arch Madness, but he's going to run headfirst into reality when he confronts that 2-3 zone and bigs such as Rick Jackson.

This ain't the Valley, son, and the Cuse is a wee bit better team than those commuter schools in Springfield and Wichita.

GAMER: Syracuse 71, ISU 62
Pomeroy: Syracuse 72, ISU 60
Sagarin: Syracuse 67, ISU 57

UPSET ALERT: No. 4 Kentucky (25-8) vs. No. 13 Princeton (25-6)
March 17 | 1:45 p.m. CST | Tampa | CBS
Ian Eagle | Jim Spanarkel

Despite what many think, Princeton no longer runs the conventional Princeton offense. But the Tigers still do some things that can befuddle a younger, immature team such as Kentucky.

Look for the Ivy League brainiacs to hang around for a while and make the Wildcats work for it.

Eventually, though, the athleticism of Kentucky, especially Terrence Jones, will be too much for the Ivy champs to overcome. UK will pull away late, I predict.

GAMER: Kentucky 71, Princeton 64
Pomeroy: Kentucky 73, Princeton 60
Sagarin: Kentucky 68, Princeton 58

UPSET ALERT: No. 5 West Virginia (20-11) vs. No. 12 Clemson (22-11)
March 17 | 11:15 a.m. CST | Tampa | CBS
Ian Eagle | Jim Spanarkel

I would not want to be Bob Huggins right now.

Being the No. 5 seed is already a mixed blessing. But to have to play an athletic, confident major-conference team that's on a roll after already notching one tourney scalp? And with only a day and a half to scout due to the short turnaround time? Yikes.

A lot has been made of Clemson having to fly to Tampa at 2 .a.m after its win against UAB, but I don't think it will set them back that much. I'd be more worried about the Mountaineers being a little groggy in the early tip-off, frankly.

If you had asked Connecticut to play its first NCAA game the day after completing its five-day run to the Big East championship, I think the Huskies might have signed up for that on the spot. When you're hot, you're hot.

GAMER: not available
Pomeroy: Clemson 62, WVU 61
Sagarin: WVU 65, Clemson 64

UPSET ALERT: No. 6 Xavier (24-7) vs. No. 11 Marquette (20-14)
March 18 | 6:27 p.m. CST | Cleveland | truTV
Gus Johnson | Len Elmore

Wow, this could go either way. Both teams were involved in overtime thrillers last year — Marquette lost to Washington in the second round, while we all know what Xavier did.

Take dynamic players such as Tu Holloway and Darius Johnson-Odom, mix in great coaching from Chris Mack and Buzz Williams, add a dash of Gus, and you have the recipe for what could be another instant classic.

GAMER: Xavier 68, Marquette 63
Pomeroy: Marquette 73, Xavier 72
Sagarin: Marquette 64, Xavier 62

No. 7 Washington (23-10) vs. No. 10 Georgia (21-11)
March 18 | 8:45 p.m. CST | Charlotte | CBS
Jim Nantz | Clark Kellogg

Georgia's inclusion in the field was a bit of a curiosity to me. Although the Bulldogs played a tough schedule, they won very few games against those tough teams. But they did beat Colorado, so maybe that was what put them in.

Anyhow, despite the NBA-ready talents of Travis Leslie and Trey Thompkins, I don't think Mark Fox's squad is ready for what the Huskies will throw at them. After blazing through the Pac-10 Tournament, Washington is a team no one wants to face right now.

GAMER: U-Dub 77, Georgia 70
Pomeroy: U-Dub 75, Georgia 69
Sagarin: U-Dub 71, Georgia 65

UPSET ALERT: No. 8 George Mason (26-6) vs. No. 9 Villanova (21-11)
March 18 | 1:10 p.m. CST | Cleveland | TNT
Gus Johnson | Len Elmore

I don't care what Villanova did in November or December. The Wildcats' performance in the past month was putrid.

Do you realize that Nova hasn't beat an NCAA Tournament team since West Virginia on Feb. 6? And that the Wildcats' only two wins since then were over DePaul and Seton Hall? Blech!

And for that, they are rewarded with a No. 9 seed instead of sent to Dayton? Man, it must be nice to have the crushing weight of media-fueled conference hype on your side when the committee is discussing seed pairings.

George Mason is the best mid-major in the field, bar none. The Patriots will control this contest and punish the weak Nova interior until it cries for mercy. Just don't call them Cinderella, because they should be the favorite.

GAMER: GMU 68, Nova 62
Pomeroy: GMU 70, Nova 69
Sagarin: Nova 65, GMU 63

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