Indiana Tops Tourney’s East Bracket

Selection Sunday saw Indiana named the top seed in the NCAA tournament’s East bracket. The Hoosiers join Louisville (Midwest), Gonzaga (West) and Kansas (South) as the top line teams gunning for a national championship.

Miami, perhaps this year’s biggest surprise, were awarded the No. 2 seed by the selection committee, who rewarded the school for what has been an outstanding run this season.

The NCAA tournament gets underway on Tuesday with the opening games of the ‘First Four’ round. The Round of 64 begins on Thursday.

Read on for the BettingSports.com breakdown of all 17 schools involved in the tournament’s East bracket.

1. INDIANA HOOSIERS

(27-6, 14-4 Big Ten)

Victor Oladipo and the Indiana Hooisers will enter the NCAA tournament as a No. 1 seed.

Victor Oladipo and the Indiana Hooisers will enter the NCAA tournament as a No. 1 seed.

After a total of 10 weeks at No. 1 in the AP poll and a regular season title in the ultra-competitive Big Ten, Indiana securing a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament shouldn’t be a surprise. The Hoosiers made it a close call though, losing to Wisconsin in the semifinals of the conference tournament. Had Duke not fallen one round earlier in the ACC, the Hoosiers may have been sat at No. 2.

Still, it’s not how you got there; it’s that you are there. The Hoosiers will now look to make it to the Final Four for the first time since 2002, whilst a first national championship since 1987 isn’t out of the question. The team that began the season with 13/2 odds to win it all (behind only Kentucky) is looking good going forward.

2. MIAMI HURRICANES

(27-6, 15-3 ACC)

Having added an ACC tournament championship to its regular season title on Sunday, Miami might feel a little peeved that the team didn’t secure a No. 1 seed of its own. Those late season losses to Wake Forest and Georgia Tech are looking particularly costly now.

Regardless, the fact the Jim Larranaga’s side was even in contention is remarkable. The Hurricanes – who reached a school best No. 2 AP ranking during the season – will make its first NCAA tournament appearance since 2008. Miami’s previous best performance came in 2000 when the side lost in the regional semifinals. This year’s side has bettered all other school records; why not this one also?

3. MARQUETTE GOLDEN EAGLES

(23-8, 14-4 Big East)

Marquette’s strong run of form towards the end of the regular season saw the school gain an unlikely share of the final (as it stands) Big East regular season title. A 73-65 loss to Notre Dame in the quarterfinals of the conference tournament prevented the Golden Eagles from making an even bigger splash in this year’s NCAA tournament bracket.

Buzz Williams’ side will be making its eighth straight trip to the big dance, and will be looking to advance beyond the regional semifinals, the stage at which the school has been eliminated the past two years. Can the Golden Eagles repeat the success of 1977?

4. SYRACUSE ORANGE

(26-9, 11-7 Big East)

So close, yet so far. Whilst it would have been fitting to see Syracuse lift the Big East tournament title one last time, there’s no denying that Louisville – ranked No. 1 overall for this NCAA tournament – played a better game on Saturday and deserved the title that came along with it.

Undoubtedly, the Orange’s late season form hindered its seeding in the upcoming tournament, but the side has more than enough to challenge for a spot in the Final Four. Jim Boeheim’s side hasn’t been that far in the tournament since 2003, the last time Syracuse was crowned national champion.

5. UNLV REBELS

(25-9, 10-6 MWC)

The Rebels may have played second fiddle to New Mexico for much of this Mountain West campaign, including Saturday’s conference tournament final, but the side has been quietly impressive this season. Without much fanfare, Dave Rice – in his second year at the helm – has built a team that could be dangerous.

UNLV will be making its fourth straight appearance in the NCAA tournament, and a fifth in six years. The Rebels have not moved beyond the second round in that timeframe, but fans will be willing the team onto a first national championship since 1990.

6. BUTLER BULLDOGS

(26-8, 11-5 A-10)

Back in the tournament, Rottnei Clarke and the Butler Bulldogs will look to go one better than 2010 and 2011.

Back in the tournament, Rottnei Clarke and the Butler Bulldogs will look to return to the Final Four.

For much of the season the Bulldogs looked like contenders, reaching as high as No. 9 on the AP poll. Late season form saw Brad Stevens’ side fall behind both Saint Louis and Virginia Commonwealth in the Atlantic 10 before coming up short against the Billikens in the semifinals of the conference tournament. But the school’s pedigree sees it sitting pretty at No. 6.

Butler returns to the NCAA tournament for the first time since back-to-back national final losses in 2010 and 2011. The perennial Cinderella story will be a popular choice with bettors once bookmakers release the latest tournament odds, but does the school have enough to go one step further and win it all in Atlanta?

7. ILLINOIS FIGHTING ILLINI

(22-12, 8-10 Big Ten)

Testament to just how tough the Big Ten was this season, Illinois has not only made the tournament with a losing record within the conference, but also managed to prize a No. 7 seed. One of seven Big Ten representatives to make the tournament, the Fighting Illini will face a tough challenge if it’s to register a third appearance in the national championship game and a first national title.

8. NORTH CAROLINA STATE WOLFPACK

(24-10, 11-7 ACC)

Highly-touted ahead of the season, North Carolina State never really lived up to its potential during the regular season. A high-profile win over Duke was enough to entice some court storming, but the Wolfpack struggled for much of the season, finishing with a No. 5 berth in the ACC tournament. A victory over Virginia in the quarterfinals will have helped the side’s standing, but losing 81-71 to Miami in the semifinals suggests NC State is going to have a tough time of it, starting Friday against Temple.

9. TEMPLE OWLS

(23-9, 11-5 A-10)

In an Atlantic 10 conference that played out tougher than many expected, the Owls managed to secure a No. 3 seed heading into last week’s tournament. The side came up short in its first tournament game, losing 79-74 to Massachusetts. Still, a regular season that saw the school defeat both Saint Louis and Virginia Commonwealth as well as Villanova and Syracuse out of conference was enough to book the Owls a spot in the big dance.

10. COLORADO BUFFALOES

(21-11, 10-8 Pac-12)

With wins over Arizona, California and Oregon during conference play this season, Colorado proved to be a dangerous side. The Buffaloes even ranked No. 19 at one point this season, the first time the school had ranked at all since Chauncey Billups ran the point back in 1997. Despite a quarterfinal exit to Arizona in the Pac-12 tournament, Colorado – making just its fourth NCAA tournament appearance in 44 years – may be a dark horse in this east bracket.

11. BUCKNELL BISON

(28-5, 12-2 Patriot)

Having secured both a regular season title and a Patriot League tournament championship, Bucknell will make its second NCAA tournament appearance in three years, and its sixth overall. The Bison have made it through to the second round in each of its three previous appearances, but in order to do so this year David Paulsen’s side will need to do a Butler against Butler on Thursday.

12. CALIFORNIA GOLDEN BEARS

(20-11, 12-6 Pac-12)

Allen Crabbe and the California Golden Bears will look to wash away the memory of a disappointing Pac-12 tournament.

Allen Crabbe and the California Golden Bears will look to wash away the memory of a disappointing Pac-12 tournament.

With nine wins from 10 leading into the final game of the regular season, the Golden Bears had a shot at the Pac-12 regular season title. A loss to Stanford prevented Mike Montgomery’s side from achieving that accolade. A 79-69 loss to 10th-seeded Utah in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 tournament then put a massive dent in California’s tournament stock, leaving the side to wallow in a No. 12 seed. The Golden Bears could perceivably have to go through UNLV, Syracuse and Indiana to make it to the Final Four. That’s a tough ask to say the least.

13. MONTANA GRIZZLIES

(25-6, 19-1 Big Sky)

The Grizzlies will make a second straight NCAA tournament appearance having won both the Big Sky regular season title and the tournament championship, narrowly beating Weber State to the post in both. The side will open up play against Syracuse in San Jose on Thursday.

14. DAVIDSON WILDCATS

(26-7, 17-1 SoCon)

Davison thrashed Charleston in last Monday’s Southern Conference tournament final to add a tourney title to the regular season championship the school secured with a 17-1 conference record. The Wildcats will now make a second straight appearance in the NCAA tournament. The school advanced to the regional final back in 2008, matching its best record in the big dance.

15. PACIFIC TIGERS

(22-12, 14-5 Big West)

Having finished second to Long Beach State in the Big West regular season standings, the Tigers made a push in the conference tournament, beating the California-Irving Anteaters 64-55 in the final. The school makes its first NCAA tournament appearance since 2006. The Tigers’ best ever finish came in 1967, a season in which the side fell in the regional final to a John Wooden-led UCLA team on its way to the first of seven straight national titles.

16. LIU BROOKLYN BLACKBIRDS or JAMES MADISON DUKES

The East bracket’s ‘First Four’ game will see the Blackbirds of Long Island take on the Dukes of James Madison in a bid to secure that all-important No. 16 seed. The game will be played on Wednesday (Mar. 20) at the University of Dayton Arena in Dayton, Ohio.

LIU Brooklyn (20-13, 12-6 NEC) finished third in the Northeast Conference’s regular season, but managed to secure three wins in the conference tournament, including a 91-70 victory over Mount St. Mary’s in the final, to advance to this play-in stage. This makes three straight years the school has made it to the NCAA tournament.

Like the Blackbirds, James Madison (20-14, 11-7 CAA) won its respective tournament starting from the No. 3 seed. A 70-57 victory over No. 1 seed Northeastern was enough to see the Dukes reach a first NCAA tournament since 1994.

The opening odds are EVENS with the total at 147.

 

East Bracket Early Schedule

Wednesday (Mar. 20)

(16) LIU Brooklyn vs. (16) James Madison (Dayton, OH)

Thursday (Mar. 21)

(5) UNLV vs. (12) California (San Jose, CA)

(4) Syracuse vs. (13) Montana (San Jose, CA)

(6) Butler vs. (11) Bucknell (Lexington, KY)

(3) Marquette vs. (14) Davidson (Lexington, KY)

Friday (Mar. 22)

(1) Indiana vs. (16) LIU/James Madison (Dayton, OH)

(8 ) North Carolina State vs. (9) Temple (Dayton, OH)

(7) Illinois vs. (10) Colorado (Austin, TX)

(2) Miami vs. (15) Pacific (Austin, TX)

Tournament odds have yet to be released by bookmakers. Keep checking back with BettingSports.com for the latest college basketball odds.

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