Men’s NCAA Tournament East Region Preview

Zach Edey leads Purdue into the Big Ten Tournament.

It’s here!! At the heels of one of the craziest and most unpredictable seasons ever, the tournament is upon us. This year’s East Regional will be held in the world’s most famous arena, the mecca of college basketball, aka Madison Square Garden. Fittingly this region is filled with a lot of intrigue. Some blue bloods, up-and-comers, and even the probable National Player of the Year. Here is the East Region preview.

Men’s NCAA Tournament East Region Preview

Top Seeds

1 seed Purdue Boilermakers

Purdue is, of course, led by Zach Edey, who is the frontrunner for National Player of the Year. Edey has dominated every aspect of the court this season. But he isn’t the only weapon that the Boilermakers possess. Fletcher Loyer and Braden Smith are a pair of true freshman guards that have been really good this season. Matt Painter’s squad looks good and could be ready to finally make a Final Four.

2 seed Marquette Golden Eagles

Shaka Smart has led his Marquette team to a Big East regular season and conference titles and a 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament despite being picked to finish ninth in their conference this season. Big East Player of the Year Tyler Kolek has emerged as one of the nation’s best players. Big East Sixth Man of the Year David Joplin joins him on a great team.

3 seed Kansas State Wildcats

Kansas State is led by one of the best duos in college basketball. Keyontae Johnson and Markquis Nowell both average well over 16 points per game and were third-team All-American selections. Johnson is a finalist for the Wooden Award. Jerome Tang has done an incredible job in his first year at the helm in the Little Apple. The Wildcats are battle tested too coming out of the Big 12.

4 seed Tennessee Volunteers

The Vols were looking strong until Zakai Ziegler tore his ACL two weeks ago. They have looked like a different team without him. Even with him though they were a bit of an up-and-down team. Fellow guard Santiago Vescovi has stepped up big-time in Ziegler’s absence. The good thing for Tennessee fans is that the Vols have been really good against other good teams throughout this season, earning a 5-3 record versus top 25 teams.

Potential Upset

5 seed Duke Blue Devils Vs. 12 seed Oral Roberts Golden Eagles – Thursday, March 16th, 7:10 P.M. ET

There are a lot of people jumping on the Duke bandwagon right now. And there is good reason. The Dukies have won 9 straight games including an ACC Tournament title heading into the big dance. The team that was a bit of a mess a couple of months ago is now in full form. The problem is that Oral Roberts is really good. Everyone will remember the Golden Eagles and their star Max Abmas from the tournament two years ago when ORU beat 2 seed Ohio State and made a run to the Sweet Sixteen as a 15 seed. This team is better than that one was.

Best Opening Round Game

6 seed Kentucky Wildcats vs. 11 seed Providence Friars – Friday, March 17th, 7:10 P.M. ET

There is a lot of intrigue surrounding this game in Greensboro. For starters, Providence star Bryce Hopkins played for Kentucky last season. There’s also the uncertainty surrounding the future of Friars’ coach Ed Cooley and whether or not he might leave for Georgetown. On the other side, Kentucky has turned things around after struggling early. Both teams have second-weekend potential.


7 seed Michigan State Spartans

Sparty has struggled at times this season but, in my eyes, are still a good and very capable basketball team. If they didn’t have the tough draw that they have I would be picking them to make a deep run. They have all the tools to do so if they are able to get past a really good Marquette team.


I’m going with Marquette. The Golden Eagles have been playing pretty well, have a ton of talent, and are very well coached. It won’t be easy. It never is in March Madness. I just said above that I think Michigan State is a sleeper. But Marquette is my pick to win the East Region and head to the Final Four in Houston.