By Dennis Berry
In the NCAA tournament this year, the East was about as close to chalk as you could get. The biggest upset in this region was 12th seeded California defeating fifth seed UNLV. The other lone upset was ninth seed Temple beating the eight seed NC State – if you consider a nine over eight seed an "upset."
What we ended up with for the East Regional was the only region to have seeds one through four to get into the second weekend. Thursday night we will have #3 Marquette verses #2 Miami. That will be followed by #4 Syracuse verses #1 Indiana.
Who is the Favorite?
The favorite in this region should be easy. It's the team that has been the favorite all season long – the Indiana Hoosiers.
The Hoosiers are back in the Sweet 16 for the second straight year. This time they are the team to beat. They won the best conference in the nation – the Big 10 – and know what it takes to win. They are loaded with talent: Cody Zeller, Christian Watford, and Victor Aladipo to name a few.
If there was any team that used the term "survive and advance" the most during the first weekend, it was Marquette. They probably should have been knocked out twice last week, coming back to beat Davidson and Butler in dramatic fashion.
If they can find a way to play the whole game like they do in the closing minutes, they could come out of this region as winners.
Player to Watch
If you have not watched Indiana play a game this year, then you will be in for a treat. They have one of the best guards in the country in Victor Oladipo. He can shoot the ball and is a high flyer who can throw down some spectacle dunks. On top of his offense skills, he is also a lock down defender.
The Miami Hurricanes were one of the best teams all year. Tuesday night, news broke that they will be without center Reggie Johnson due to injury. Although he is not a scoring threat, he is their best rebounder and a great low post defender.
Indiana over Marquette in the Elite Eight. The loss of Johnson will open the door for Marquette to defeat Miami, but they will not be able to beat the Hoosiers.
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