Sports

March Madness Preview: East Region

(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

David Hookstead Smoke Room Editor-in-Chief

The first round of March Madness begins Thursday and there are lots of questions eager sports fans have as they fill out their brackets.

Look no further, because The Daily Caller has everything you need to know about March Madness.

Here is a preview of the East region.

Best team: The East region is without question the most talented region in the entire tournament, with North Carolina, Kentucky, Wisconsin, Indiana, West Virginia, Xavier and Notre Dame. However, North Carolina takes the prize for being the best team. The Tar Heels have 16 wins against top-100 RPI teams including a blowout victory against Notre Dame who is the six seed in the East. Forward Brice Johnson and guard Marcus Paige create matchup problems for opponents all over the floor. If UNC plays up to their potential every game, it’s hard to imagine a scenario that doesn’t have them making the Final Four. (RELATED: March Madness Preview: South Region)

Potential spoiler: The Wisconsin Badgers come in as a seven seed and their road to the Final Four isn’t overly difficult, with a favorable matchup against Pittsburgh and likely Xavier in the first two rounds. The Badgers were 9-9 at one point in the season before finishing with 11 wins in their final 14 games. Wisconsin has 11 wins against top-100 RPI teams including Indiana, Michigan State, Iowa and Maryland. Forward Nigel Hayes is a major NBA prospect and freshman Ethan Happ was the Big Ten freshman of the year. Nobody wants to play the Badgers in March after back-to-back Final Fours. Last year, Wisconsin beat North Carolina in the Sweet 16 and a potential rematch in the Elite 8 is something every basketball fan will enjoy. (RELATED: March Madness Preview: West Region)

Best mid-major: The East doesn’t feature any real mid-major team that poses a threat. Most of the higher seeds are schools from major conferences such as Michigan at the 11 seed and Pittsburgh at the 10. Tulsa has eight wins against top-100 RPI teams which makes their matchup with Michigan at least a potentially interesting game.

Best player: There are three players that a case could be made for, with Nigel Hayes, Tyler Ulis of Kentucky and Brice Johnson all being future NBA players. On any given day, any of those three can be the best player in the country. What separates Ulis is his consistancy and scoring ability matched with his distribution ability. Kentucky lacks the talent of last year’s team — they went 36-1 — but Ulis’ incredible season averaging over 17 points and over seven assists per game propelled Kentucky to a four seed. A potential matchup with rival Indiana in the second round will make for fascinating basketball for Ulis to thrive in.

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