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SCS.com College Basketball
NCAA Tournament Preview
SCS.com

By: Timothy
SouthernCollegeSports.com Columnist
Contact Timothy

NCAA Basketball Tournament

EAST REGION PREVIEW

March 18 - 21

Tournament Bracket
Updated with Results

St. Joseph's Oklahoma State Pittsburgh Wake Forest Florida Wisconsin Memphis Texas Tech
Liberty Eastern Washington UCF VCU Manhattan Richmond South Carolina Charlotte

Region Favorite > Oklahoma State
Oklahoma State This is probably the only region where you wouldnít consider the #1 seed the favorite. St. Joe's is a good team, but I donít think you can call them a great team just yet. Eddie Sutton and company have done something no one expected them to do at the beginning of the season, and that is being a legitimate contender for the National Championship. The Cowboys are riding high after winning the Big 12 Tourney and had to beat Texas in the finals to win it. A stat that really impressed me in that game was Oklahoma State held a team that averages 78 points a game to a lousy 49 points. If they continue to play their hardcore defense, the Cowboys will easily find their way to San Antonio.

Region Dark Horse > Texas Tech
Texas Tech I nearly put the Red Raiders in the Final Four, but I expect them to meet the favorite Oklahoma State in the Elite 8, a team which they have already lost too. However, never count out The General and his troops. No disrespect to St. Joe's, but if you were an 8 or 9 seed, I would much rather be in St. Joe's bracket than that of Duke, UK, or Stanford.

Best 1st Round Matchup > (8) Texas Tech vs (9) Charlotte
Texas Tech vs Charlotte On paper these to teams look nearly identical, which is why I guess they are the 8 and 9 seeds. Texas Tech must find a way to defend the perimeter shot of Charlotte, but don't forget about Curtis Withers underneath. Withers is averaging 16 points and 10 rebounds a game. What Charlotte needs to do is run up and down with the Red Raiders, and if you can eliminate Andre Emmett, you have taken out a big offensive threat.

Best Bet for an Upset > (12) Manhattan over (5) Florida
Manhattan vs Florida There is a troubling trend I discovered for this Gator squad. With the exception of one loss this season, the rest of their losses have been coupled together. After coming off a loss to Kentucky in the SEC Tourney, the Gators are due for one more loss, and that will be one too many. If Manhattan is to beat Florida, it will have to be done behind the play senior guard Luis Flores. (By the way, Flores grew up playing ball with star Louisville guard Francisco Garcia.) The Jaspers are hot coming in, winning 20 of their last 22 games.

All - Region Squad
  • G - JAMEER NELSON : ST. JOSEPH'S : Player of the year in my opinion. Leads the team with 20 points, 5 assists, and 3 steals a game.
  • G - ANTONIO BURKS : MEMPHIS : Doesnít get a lot of recognition, but he has been doing it all for the Tigers. Shoots 41% from behind the arc, contributing 16 points and 6 assists a game.
  • F - ANDRE EMMETT : TEXAS TECH : Plain and simple, this kid scores crazy points. Averaging a little over 20 a game, he can lead his team to great things in March.
  • F - CURTIS WITHERS : CHARLOTTE : Was named to first team Conference USA and averages a double-double. If teams focus too much on the 49ers 3-point shooting, he can hurt you down low.
  • C - SEAN BANKS : MEMPHIS : Conference USA freshman of the year leads his squad in points and rebounding, making the inside-outside combo of Burks and Banks very dangerous.
  • Studying the Seeding
    The biggest complaint I have is Wisconsin getting a 6 seed. I thought they deserved something more like a 4 seed, but playing a late game this past Sunday hurt them to some extent I think. You could also make a case for Oklahoma State getting the #1 seed, but how can you argue that St. Joe's didnít deserve it after having a undefeated regular season?

    Rolling > St. Joseph's
    St. Joseph's Even though Xavier slaughtered them in the A-10 Tourney, remember they did have a perfect regular season. If you ask me, winning 27 out of 28 is rolling enough.

    Stumbling > South Carolina
    South Carolina There is not a more perfect ball team for this category than the Gamecocks from Columbia. The Cocks have lost 8 out of there last 13, including defeats to Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississippi. None of those teams made it to the Big Dance.

    Projected Winner > Oklahoma State
    Oklahoma State Their ability to shut down teams with defense will take them to San Antonio. I do think they need to watch out for a dangerous Memphis team who they could meet in the second round. The Tigers have two players on the all-region team.

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