NCAA Tournament 2010: East Regional Prediction

March 17, 2010

The East Regional features the NBA's projected number one overall pick in John Wall, a beast from the Big East, and an upstart from the Ivy League.

Here is our East Regional prediction:

16. East Tennessee State

An overmatched Bucs squad figures to be easy prey for the Wildcats.

Outlook: One and done.

15. Morgan State

Former Cal coach Todd Bozeman brings a scrappy team to the Dance featuring high-scoring guard Reggie Holmes (21 PPG). Unfortunately, Bozeman does not have Jason Kidd in his lineup, and the Bears will lack the talent to compete over a full 40 minutes.

Outlook: One and done.

14. Montana

Guard Anthony Johnson can fill it up from the perimeter (19 PPG), and the Grizzlies also have the height to bang down low. That combination will put a scare into New Mexico, but not much more.

Outlook: One and done.

13. Wofford

The Terriers are led by 6'6" junior forward Noah Dahlman, but otherwise are undersized compared to their first round opponent, Wisconsin. Expect a competitive effort, but not much beyond that.

Outlook: One and done.

12. Cornell

For the first time in ages, there is an Ivy League team capable of advancing deep into the Tourney. The Big Red are led by star Ryan Wittman, who like his former Atlanta Hawk father Randy, is a knockdown shooter from the perimeter. Cornell also boasts an effective 7-footer on the interior in Jeff Foote.

Outlook: Expect the Big Red to advance to the Sweet 16 before falling to powerhouse Kentucky.

11. Washington

Although Pac 10 teams 3 through 10 were weak this year, this Husky squad is fresh off a conference tourney title, oozing with quickness on the perimeter, and capable of putting a scare into anyone. U-Dub is led by Quincy Pondexter, an athletic, undersized forward with an excellent mid-range game. "Q-Pon" is supported by explosive point guard Isaiah Thomas, and fleet-footed lockdown defender Venoy Overton. That combination should lead the Huskies into the Sweet 16.

Outlook: Sweet 16.

10. Missouri

Missouri had a good showing this year in a tough league, due mainly to a balanced scoring attack and a breakneck style of play. That uptempo system tends to take teams out of their comfort zone, but will not have the same effect against a Clemson squad that plays the same way.

Outlook: One and done in a close first round loss.

9. Wake Forest

The Demon Deacons have talent in double-double forward Al-Farouq Aminu (15.7 PPG, 10.7 RPG) and clutch point guard Ishmael Smith. However, they received a tough first round draw in a talented Texas team playing somewhat close to home. As a result, Wake goes down in a close first round game.

Outlook: One and done.

8. Texas

The Longhorns are talented and playing close to home in New Orleans. Led by rugged senior forward Damion James (18 PPG, 10 RPG) and big man Dexter Pittman, Texas can really punish teams on the glass. On the perimeter, freshman guard and top recruit Avery Bradley is an outstanding defender who can be disruptive.

Outlook: Expect Texas to advance to the second round and give Kentucky a heap of trouble before eventually losing.

7. Clemson

Coach Oliver Purnell's Tigers play an uptempo game that tends to wear down opponents. On Friday however, they will meet their mirror image in Missouri. What will be the difference? The inside play of Clemson's Trevor Booker, for whom Missouri might not have an answer.

Outlook: Expect Clemson to get into the second round, but not the Sweet 16.

6. Marquette

Marquette lost a lot of talent from last year's squad, but made it back to the Dance behind the strong play of star Lazar Hayward (18 PPG, 7 RPG). The Golden Eagles are Big East battle-tested and capable of making some noise in the Tourney, but will most likely fall to a quicker Washington squad in the first round.

Outlook: One and done.

5. Temple

The Owls lost only two games in the Atlantic 10 and are led by Argentinean import Juan Fernandez on the perimeter. To advance to the second round, Temple will need to close out on the excellent three point shooters of Cornell, their first opponent. Unfortunately, the Big Red will get hot from deep, and Temple will fall in a first round upset.

Outlook: One and done.

4. Wisconsin

Guard Trevon Hughes is the go-to guy on this squad, as he averages 15 points per game. In addition, the Badgers are also fundamentally sound, taking care of business on the defensive end and limiting turnovers. As a result, the Badgers should advance into the second round before losing in a close, half court struggle with Cornell.

Outlook: A Sweet 16 showdown with Kentucky is possible, but most likely the Badgers go down second round.

3. New Mexico

Coach Alford's team was the class of an underrated Mountain West Conference. The Lobos feature a balanced attack led by Darington Hobson's 16 points and 9 boards per game, and Roman Martinez's shooting from behind the arc. However, their lack of height will make New Mexico an ideal opponent for another undersized team, the Washington Huskies.

Outlook: Expect the Lobos to lose in the second round.

2. West Virginia

Fresh off a Big East Conference Tourney title, the Mountaineers are primed for a deep run. Led by star Da'Sean Butler, and forwards Devin Ebanks and Kevin Jones, West Virginia's versatile frontline can give any team fits. Moreover, Coach Bob Huggins will have his team intense, prepared, and ready to get after it defensively.

Outlook: Final Four.

1. Kentucky

Other than Kansas, few teams can match the Wildcats' talent man for man. Kentucky punishes teams in the paint with the NBA-bound tandem of Patrick Patterson and DeMarcus Cousins. But the real star for the Wildcats is frosh point guard John Wall. Athletic, gutsy, and capable of breaking down his man off the dribble, Wall is Kentucky's go-to guy come crunch time. Do the 'Cats have a weakness? Most would point to youth, but the true problem is inconsistent three-point shooting.

Outlook: Elite Eight.

Eventual Regional Champion: WEST VIRGINIA

By Mike Elliott
Staff Editor for

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