Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

NCAA Tournament East Region preview

Greg Auman, Times staff writer

Dangers for Hoosiers

Indiana held on and kept a No. 1 seed despite losing three of its final six games, including a loss to Wisconsin in the Big Ten semifinals. It's a dangerous bracket, with Miami a strong No. 2 after winning the ACC tournament title. More potential giant-killers? To get out of the opening weekend, Indiana must get past either Lorenzo Brown and eighth-seeded N.C. State, which beat then-No. 1 Duke on Jan. 12, or ninth-seeded Temple, which has a win against then-No. 3 Syracuse. Miami beat the same No. 1 Duke team by 27 points, and you don't have to remind the Hoosiers about seventh-seeded Illinois, which knocked them out of the No. 1 ranking on Feb. 7.

Dayton double

Is there a better mascot for a play-in No. 16 than the LIU-Brooklyn Blackbirds? There's an easy bye-bye line, but the Blackbirds get a little help, with the First Four game Wednesday against James Madison, then no travel before Friday's game against the top-seeded Hoosiers. LIU-Brooklyn at least gives fans their money's worth — the Blackbirds have scored at least 90 in four straight games, and are playing in the tournament for the third year in a row. They lost as a No. 16 seed last year to Michigan State, but gave No. 2 seed North Carolina a run two years ago, trailing by just 10 with 1:55 to play in what would end up a 102-87 loss. James Madison, we should point out, has a local in freshman guard Andre Nation, a Durant graduate who played a year of prep school at Faith Baptist in Brandon. He's averaging 8.7 points per game.

East minutiae

There's a strong Big Ten presence in the entire tournament, but no more so than in the opening weekend in Dayton, where Indiana leads one pod and West second-seeded Ohio State leads the other. ... With Marquette losing its last game and Davidson coming in with 17 wins in a row, you might be tempted to pick the 14th seed as an upset, but as a warning: Davidson played only two ranked opponents all season (Gonzaga and Duke) and lost by a combined 32 points. .… So much of the preseason Hoosiers love was for star Cody Zeller, but some of the buzz has shifted to athletic junior guard Victor Oladipo, left, who put together back-to-back double doubles last week in wins against Michigan and Illinois.

Best best name name

As much as every bracket-filler loses a 5-12 upset, it's hard for a No. 12 seed to make it out of the opening weekend with consecutive wins, which brings us to Cal's 6-foot-9 forward Bak Bak, left, who plays sparingly off the bench, averaging 1.5 points per game. Cal nearly knocked itself out of the tournament, losing its last two games, including an early Pac-12 tournament exit to a Utah team that had gone 5-13 in conference play.

Big East teams lurking

After Indiana and Miami, you have two Big East powers in third-seeded Marquette and fourth-seeded Syracuse, though they come in from opposite directions. Marquette finished in a three-way tie for the Big East title, but stumbled in the Big East tournament in New York, losing to Notre Dame in its first game after a double-bye. The Golden Eagles beat four ranked teams, including Syracuse, so don't take them lightly. Syracuse, meanwhile, had dropped four of five games entering the tournament, but made the final as a No. 5 seed, beating ranked Pittsburgh and Georgetown teams on back-to-back days before losing to Louisville in Saturday's final. You may not find a hotter 3-point shooter in the tournament than Orange senior James Southerland, who set a Big East tournament record with 19 3-pointers in his four games, including a 6-for-6 effort in the quarterfinals that set a Big East tournament record.

NCAA Tournament East Region preview 03/17/13 [Last modified: Sunday, March 17, 2013 9:55pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Dirk Koetter to Bucs: Take your complaints to someone who can help


    TAMPA — It was just another day of aching bellies at One Save Face.

    Dirk Koetter: “All of our issues are self-inflicted right now.”
  2. Bucs journal: Few complaints about Jameis Winston's play


    TAMPA — It wasn't enough to pull out a win Sunday at Buffalo, but a week removed from a shoulder sprain, Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston threw for 384 yards and three touchdowns against the NFL's No. 2 pass defense.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Brent Grimes (24) signs autographs for fans before an NFL game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn., on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017.
  3. Lightning's Jon Cooper uses unusual tactic to create mismatches

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Tyler Johnson is about to swing his left leg over the boards for his next shift alongside linemate Alex Killorn and … who else?

    Stamkos? Kucherov? Point?

    Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper argues the called as his team gets a faceoff violation, leading to penalty and #Caps PP goal, during second period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Monday evening (10/09/17).DIRK SHADD   |   Times
  4. A buzz-worthy look at the Astros-Dodgers World Series matchup

    The Heater

    Houston Astros' Yuli Gurriel is congratulated by Jose Altuve after scoring during the fifth inning of Game 7 of baseball's American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) TXMG170
  5. Florida, FSU try to ignore death threats, angry fans


    GAINESVILLE — Frustration over uncharacteristically down seasons at Florida and Florida State has started to spill over from message boards and start crossing real-world lines.

    Fans watch the Florida Gators game against Texas A&M, at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, in Gainesville, Fla. At the half, Florida was up 10 to 3.