March Madness: East Region

posted March 20, 2019 in Sports, CommRadio by Matthew White

Host Trent Fye alongside analysts Pat Tartaro, Tommy Calpin and Jeremy Schooler talks all things East Region as tournament time fast approaches:

The East Region is headlined by the No. 1 overall team in the Duke Blue Devils and both the Big Ten and SEC champions in Michigan State and LSU, respectively. The bracket is also stacked with team including Virginia Tech, Louisville and Minnesota. 

Zions Williamson and the Duke Blue Devils are the clear favorite to win the region after the 6-foot-7-inch freshman forward led his team to an ACC Championship. Duke has one of the best starting five in college basketball, with R.J. Barrett, Tre Jones, Cam Reddish and Alex O'Connell alongside Williamson.

The team plays great defense and has several weapons that can lead them to victory.  However, Duke center Marques Bolden is not completely healthy as he returns from a knee injury.  

Duke’s biggest weakness is their inability to shoot from the 3-point line, as they only score on 30 percent of their long range shots.   

Michigan State is another highly touted team led by Cassius Winston and Matt Mcquade.  The biggest concern for the Spartans is the health of Nick Ward’s hand and Kyle Ahrens’ ankle. Both players are imperative for the success of the Spartans, as they lack depth and play with a high tempo. Despite those injuries, the Spartans still have the best chances to knock off Duke. 

LSU is another talented team, making their first tournament appearance since 2015.  The Tigers will try to reset before meeting Yale in the first round after LSU head coach Will Wade was caught on tape by the FBI talking about an “offer” made to freshman guard Javonte Smith. The university followed up by suspending Wade indefinitely.  Despite that, Tremont Waters will look to lead the Tigers to a successful run in the tournament. 

Virginia Tech is one of the most intriguing teams in the tournament this year, as they are one of the only teams to beat Duke in the regular season and will likely face them again in the Sweet 16. Furthermore, guard Justin Robinson will return for the Hookies and should have an immediate impact to a team that averages 74 points per game and shoots nearly 40 percent from the 3-point line. Watch out for Buzz Williams and the Hookies to make a surprise Final Four run. 

One of the more interesting matchups in the East Region is Louisville against Minnesota in the first round. Minnesota head coach Richard Pitino will square off against his dad’s former school and it should be an interesting game headlined by star players on both teams. 

The team most likely to be the "Cinderella" in this bracket are the Yale Bulldogs. Yale is led by guard Miye Oni, averaging 17.6 points, 6.4 rebound and 3.6 assists per game.  

ale’s first matchup is against a disorganized LSU team and a win over them could help Yale gain some momentum heading into further tournament play.  

The biggest story of this bracket is whether Michigan State can upset Duke in the Elite Eight. Michigan State is seeded too low and Tom Izzo’s team is extremely talented if healthy. The Spartans can take advantage of a young Duke team by shooting well from the 3-point line and rebounding well. 

Predicted Winner of the East Region: Michigan State.

 

 

Matthew White is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism with a double minor in business and spanish.  To contact him, email mmw42@psu.edu.