Sunday, March 15, 2009

A look at the 2009 NCAA Tournament East region

East region:
(1) Pittsburgh vs (16) East Tennessee State
(8) Oklahoma State vs (9) Tennessee
(5) Florida State vs (12) Wisconsin
(4) Xavier vs (13) Portland State
(6) UCLA vs (11) Va. Commonwealth
(3) Villanova vs (14) American
(7) Texas vs (10) Minnesota
(2) Duke vs (15) Binghamton


Piitsburgh gets the biggest gift in the tournament: arguably the easiest regional en route to the Elite Eight. Nobody else in their end of the bracket deserves better than a 6 seed, and that's an overseeded Xavier team at 4.

Pitt's 16 seed matchup is probably the most talented 16 seed in East Tennessee State. Binghamton and ETSU should swap seeds.

Or maybe ETSU can swap with Portland State, bafflingly overseeded at 13. The end result is a far easier 1st round game than Xavier deserves.

Oklahoma State and Tennessee are fine where they are, but the 5-12 matchup features two teams that deserved 8-9 seeds in Florida State and Wisconsin. The Seminoles are way overseeded at 5 and Wisconsin got the shaft in their 12 seed. Believe it or not, expect the Badgers to provide the offense in this matchup, and probably score the "upset".

More inequities abound on the other side, though not as bad. UCLA gets seeded a bit low at 6: their potent offense probably provides the biggest obstacle for Duke (who is seeded fine) in their end of the regional. Good luck with that, Virginia Commonwealth.

Villanova is seeded very high at 3: they're more of a low 5 and you could argue they're a 6. American ends up with an easier 1st round matchup than a 14 seed should expect and should make a game of it.

But really, Pittsburgh has a easy shot at the Elite Eight, and while Duke or UCLA might give them a fight, they have an inside track on a spot in the Final Four thanks to this easy slate.

Of course, as always, all teams involved have to get there first, and anything can happen.

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