SO it’s time to see what Duke is made of at the top of the East with the boisterous Michigan State Spartans looking at them in rage as they were snubbed a #1 seed. Let’s look at a few key match ups in the first round from this region.
The first being the VCU vs UCF game where everyone is spinning their heads around. All I am going to say about this one is that this is a #8 vs #9 seed game meaning these are pretty evenly matched teams. Both squads carry a similar up tempo pace offensively and play up close man to man defensively. It’s going to come down to if one player takes over the match in the final minutes. Now here is a tip for you guys that I have learned over the years. DON’T go against VCU in the first round. This team has some sort of mystical aura that surrounds them as they always make teams look bad in the tournament. I don’t care if UCF has a 10ft dinosaur on their team, I have just learned to trust VCU over the years and I wouldn’t stop now.
The next exciting matchup that needs attention is LSU vs Yale. Although the Ivy League is particularly weak, these are made up of very strategic teams. Yale runs some imaginative plays offensively that makes basic teams who run motion all day look like kids. LSU is that basic team. That mixed with a suspended coach accused of violating recruiting rules, the Tigers seem distracted and sloppy as we saw in the SEC tournament against Florida. If you do not feel comfortable in taking Yale like I am, at least bet the +7.5 line that’s plastered on them by Vegas because this will be a close one.
My final possible upset alert surrounds the Maryland vs Belmont game. Maryland is without a doubt overrated and for some reason well-liked by critics. Considering they lost to Nebraska in the Big Ten conferences, hopefully they had some rest to reflect that embarrassing moment. Overall, Belmont has a legit shot at this with Vegas even predicting this will be a close one. In my opinion, it will come down to who controls the paint as both teams excel in that areas. Thus, it will come down to the Nick Muszynski vs Bruno Fernando match up down low and both are very talented in their box. In the end, I took Maryland to win this match because they have a bit more depth in their lineup while Belmont sticks to a few key players. However, this will be a great game and would not surprise me if Belmont pulls it off. Definitely take the +5 spread on Belmont in this game.
The rest of the East I think will go pretty smoothly with Duke, Mississippi State, Virginia Tech, Louisville and Michigan State all moving on pretty easily to the second round.