NCAA East Region Overview
Put the Indiana Hoosiers on the list of college basketball teams that are no longer big fans of conference tournaments.
Before the Big Ten tournament began last week, regular-season champion Indiana was most likely going to get the No. 1 overall seed for the NCAA Tournament. That meant the Hoosiers (27-6) were probably headed to the Midwest Region, which just happens to have its semifinals and finals in nearby Indianapolis.
But the No. 2-ranked Hoosiers were upset 68-56 by Wisconsin in the Big Ten semifinals, all while Louisville was making a spectacular run in the Big East Tournament.
Alas, the Cardinals were awarded the No. 1 overall seed on Sunday,and get to play in Indianpolis, just a 90-minute drive from Louisville, if they get past the second and third rounds.
The Hoosiers got a No. 1 seed, but were put in the East Region. That region's semifinals and final are in Washington, D.C,
"We will make the corrections and get ready for next week because that's what is most important," Indiana forward Cody Zeller told the Indianapolis Star. "It means a lot to get the No. 1 seed. When you think about where this program was not that long ago to where we are now, it has been a huge jump."
The good news for the Hoosiers, along with the No. 1 seed, is that its path out of Dayton, Ohio, doesn't appear too difficult. Indiana will face the winner of the James Madison vs. LIU-Brooklyn play-in game and then get either Temple or North Carolina State if it doesn't become the first No. 1 seed to lose in the opening round.
Miami is the No. 2 seed in the East, and has reason to believe it should be a No. 1. The Hurricanes are the first team to sweep both the ACC regular-season and conference tournament titles and not get a No. 1 seed.
Overachieving Marquette is the No. 3 seed, and is bracketed with mid-majors Davidson (and then either Butler or Bucknell).
No. 1 Indiana vs. No. 16 James Madison/LIU Brooklyn
Records • Indiana 27-6; LIU Brooklyn 20-13; James Madison 20-14
Conferences • Indiana, Big Ten; LIU Brooklyn, NEC; James Madison, ECAC
Outlook • Indiana figured to be the No. 1 seed overall before falling in the semifinals of the Big Ten tournament and will face a tired team coming off a Tuesday play-in game in Dayton. The Buckeyes won the regular-season crown in the league.
No. 2 Miami vs. No. 15 Pacific
Records • Miami 27-6; Pacific 22-12
Conferences • Miami, ACC; Pacific, Big West
Outlook • A lot of prognosticators believed the Hurricanes would get a No. 1 seed after winning both the ACC regular-season and tournament titles, but Pacific, which is moving to the West Coast Conference, is capable of an upset in retiring coach Bob Tomason's last season.
No. 3 Marquette vs. No. 14 Davidson
Records • Marquette 23-8; Davidson 26-7
Conferences • Marquette, Big East; Davidson, Southern Conference.
Outlook • Marquette was supposed to be in a rebuilding year after losing two players to the NBA from the team that ousted BYU in last year's tourney, but it surprised some by winning a piece of the Big East regular-season championship. Davidson won its second straight Southern title.
No. 4 Syracuse vs. No. 13 Montana
Records • Syracuse 26-9; Montana 25-6
Conferences • Syracuse, Big East; Montana, Big Sky
Outlook • The Orange faded late in the season, having trouble scoring the basketball, but seemingly recovered and made a nice run in the Big East tournament before collapsing in the second half against Louisville. Montana eked past Weber State in the Big Sky final, or the Wildcats would likely be in Montana's spot.
No. 5 UNLV vs. No. 12 California
Records • UNLV 25-9; California 20-11
Conferences • UNLV, Mountain West; California, Pac-12
Outlook • The Mountain West has overtaken the Pac-12 as the best basketball league in the West in recent years, and this represents a chance to show it, but California should enjoy a home-crowd advantage with the game just down the freeway from Berkeley at San Jose's HP Pavilion.
No. 6 Butler vs. No. 11 Bucknell
Records • Butler 26-8; Bucknell 28-5
Conferences • Butler, Atlantic 10; Bucknell, Patriot League
Outlook • Both these teams have shown the propensity to spring upsets in the NCAA Tournament, and this time the Bison will be looking to shock the world. Bucknell downed Lafayette to win the Patriot League title and earn its second NCAA Tournament berth in three years. Butler fell to Saint Louis in Atlantic 10 semifinals.
No. 7 Illinois vs. No. 10 Colorado
Records • Illinois 22-12; Colorado 21-11
Conferences • Illinois, Big Ten; Colorado, Pac-12
Outlook • Colorado got a friendly seed after bowing out of the Pac-12 Tournament early and lost four of its last 10 games after a nice run in the middle of the season. One of only two teams to have defeated Gonzaga this season, the Illini made it despite a losing conference record (8-10) in the Big Ten.
No. 8 N.C. State vs. No. 9 Temple
Records • North Carolina State 24-10; Temple 23-9
Conferences • North Carolina State, ACC; Temple, Atlantic 10.
Outlook • Temple is making its sixth straight NCAA Tournament appearance and will be looking to erase memories of last year's first-round loss to No. 12 South Florida. The Wolfpack are a streaky bunch who have shown they can beat the best teams in the country when shooting well.
Although he was edged by Michigan's Trey Burke for Big Ten Player of the Year honors, Indiana's Victor Oladipo is arguably the most versatile and exciting player in the country, and a big reason why the Hoosiers won the Big Ten title.
Projected to be the overall top seed in the tournament before it was upset in the Big Ten semifinals, Indiana gets the nod as the region's top team, but not by much. Miami just missed a top seed, too.
Because of their history in the NCAA Tournament, Butler won't sneak up on anybody this year, but as a No. 6 seed, coach Brad Stevens' team isn't expected to get past the third round. But watch out for another nice run.
Player you don't know
A few national prognosticators believe Montana could knock off Syracuse for one reason: Will Cherry. The Grizzlies' guard was the difference in the Big Sky title-game win over Weber State.
Best time for a fast break
With longtime coach Bob Thomason retiring, Pacific could create a feel-good story with an upset of No. 2 seed Miami. But it is not likely. The Big West champions just don't have the firepower to keep it close.
East Regional schedule
P First round
Wednesday, at Dayton, Ohio
• LIU Brooklyn vs. No. 16 James Madison, 4:40 p.m., truTV
Thursday, at Lexington, Ky.
• No. 6 Butler vs. No. 11 Bucknell, 10:40 a.m., truTV
• No. 3 Marquette vs. No. 14 Davidson, 30 minutes following, truTV
Thursday, at San Jose, Calif.
• No. 5 UNLV vs. No. 12 California, 5:27 p.m., truTV
• No. 4 Syracuse vs. No. 13 Montana, 30 minutes following, truTV
Friday, at Dayton, Ohio
• No. 8 N.C. State vs. No. 9 Temple, 11:40 a.m., TBS
• No. 1 Indiana vs. LIU Brooklyn-James Madison winner, 30 minutes following, TBS
Friday, at Austin, Texas
• No. 2 Miami vs. No. 15 Pacific, 12:10 p.m., TNT
• No. 7 Illinois vs. No. 10 Colorado, 30 minutes following, TNT