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 analysis

Upset special

Keep an eye on this likely second-round shocker: Xavier over Syracuse. If the Musketeers get by Marquette in the first round, they'll likely draw the Orange. Xavier is in the Big Dance for the 10th time in 11 years and one of only two teams to reach the Round of 16 each of the past three tournaments.

The East is a beast

No scandal for the Buckeyes' basketball program. Coach Thad Matta's team went 32-2, losing to a couple hot shooting performances by Wisconsin's Jordan Taylor (37 points) and Purdue's E'Twaun Moore (38). But Ohio State is the most complete team in the nation as Big Ten champs and deserving of the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament.

The last time the Buckeyes went all the way to the title game was 2007, when Greg Oden and Michael Conley fell 84-75 to defending national champ UF.

But bracketology wasn't kind to the Buckeyes. Kentucky, Syracuse and North Carolina also are in the East Region.

Best seventh man

How deep is Ohio State? Center Dallas Lauderdale was fifth in the Big Ten in blocked shots after leading the league as a sophomore and junior. He shoots 73.5 percent. And he is the Buckeyes' seventh-best player.

By the numbers

7-2 Odds that favorite Ohio State will win the NCAA Tournament, set by Las Vegas oddsmakers, despite a very tough bracket that includes North Carolina, Syracuse and Kentucky.

28 NCAA appearances in 35 years for Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim.

Rick Stroud, Times staff writer

They're hot

Remember when the Syracuse Orange won 18 games in a row to start the season? Coach Jim Boeheim's crew took a breath by losing four in a row but finished strong with seven wins in its final nine games. The zone defense is suffocating again with Big East defensive player of the year Rick Jackson.

They're not

Villanova is living off its reputation. Jay Wright's team choked away a 16-point lead to (gulp) South Florida in the Big East Tournament, have lost five straight and seven of their last nine. Love the way Wright dresses, but this seed doesn't suit the Mildcats.

Best games

The don't-miss-this-game in the first round is George Mason (8) vs. Villanova (9). Look, the winner of this game will get Ohio State. Everybody remembers GMU's run to the Final Four a few years ago and the Patriots are on fire, winners in 16 of their last 17 games.

Meanwhile, the Wildcats are a dime store squad (5-10 in their last 15). If you want a contrast in styles, check out Kentucky vs. Princeton in Tampa.

Several freshmen for the Wildcats might leave after this season for the NBA, a few at Princeton may stay for their MBA. In the second round, Washington and North Carolina appear on a collision course. A good second-round matchup is Xavier vs. Syracuse if both survive.

Players to watch

Hard to find a better freshman than Jared Sullinger, right, the Buckeyes' 6-9 center who plays with brute strength and powers underneath the basket as well as any big man in the nation. That is, unless it's Kentucky's showy guard Brandon Knight, the 6-3 freshman from Fort Lauderdale who averages 17.5 points and 4.2 assists per game. Now one you've never heard of: Long Island's Julian Boyd missed last season with an enlarged heart but returned this year to lead the Blackbirds with 12.5 points and 8.7 rebounds.

NCAA Tournament East region analysis 03/13/11 [Last modified: Sunday, March 13, 2011 11:28pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Cup-winning Lightning captain Dave Andreychuk makes Hockey Hall of Fame

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Hall of Fame coach Scotty Bowman said Dave Andreychuk's name has surfaced often the past eight years with the selection committee.

    30 Oct 2001:  Left wing Dave Andreychuk #25 of the Tampa Bay Lightning skates towards the blue line during the NHL game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Canada.  The Maple Leafs defeated the Lightning 3-2.  Mandatory Credit:  Dave Sanford /Allsport
  2. Rays acquire slick-fielding shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria from Marlins

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Chaim Bloom said the Rays weren't necessarily in the market for a shortstop. The team has a number of those. But when the Marlins recently began shopping Adeiny Hechavarria, well, that was too much to pass up.

    Adeiny Hechavarria has emerged as one of baseball’s top defensive shortstops in the past three seasons with the Marlins.
  3. Rays at Pirates, 7:05 p.m. Tuesday, Pittsburgh

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Pirates

    7:05, PNC Park

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Probable pitchers

    Rays: Alex Cobb (6-5, 4.05)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Alex Cobb #53 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
  4. Lightning journal: Forward Yanni Gourde agrees to two-year deal

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Just three years ago, Yanni Gourde was fighting to stay in pro hockey.

    Tampa Bay Lightning center Yanni Gourde celebrates after scoring against the Florida Panthers during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, March 11, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA108
  5. What they're saying about Dave Andreychuk making Hall of Fame

    Lightning Strikes

    "Dave helped me so much when I was just starting my career, a young kid that was looking to find his way as a hockey player, a person and a member of the Tampa Bay community. In addition to watching him compile such awe-inspiring statistics, I remember him as a big brother to me and many others, making sure all the …