We already went through at a preview of the South Region, so now let’s take a look at the East Region.
East Region Preview
I don’t think many people would dispute that N.C. State is an extremely talented team. The problem with the Wolfpack has been playing with consistency. The ‘Pack started the season ranked in the Top 5 but finished the year with a 24-10 record, including going 11-7 in the ACC. Don’t let the record fool you, this is still a very dangerous tournament team.
Mark Gottfried has one of the most talented starting units in the country. Lorenzo Brown is a game-changing point guard, Scott Wood can be deadly from the perimeter, T.J. Warren is an impressive freshman, C.J. Leslie has the potential to be unguardable, and Richard Howell is a monster on the glass. The problem is - N.C. State rarely puts this all together for a complete performance.
But when they do, watch out. This is a team that could give Indiana all it wants...and then some.
Player to Watch: Shane Larkin, Miami
I’m starting to show a little of my ACC bias by featuring P.J. Hairston yesterday and now Shane Larkin today. But the fact is, Larkin is the best player in the country no one is talking about.
He finished second in the ACC Player of the Year voting behind Erick Green of Virginia Tech, which was a complete joke. And he proved how ridiculous that was by winning the ACC Tournament MVP while scoring 28 points in Miami’s win over UNC in the championship game. Larkin has been one of the best point guards in the country all season and he’s the main reason the Hurricanes were able to win the regular season and conference tournament championships in the ACC.
Only a sophomore, Larkin is quickly shooting up NBA Draft boards and there’s no telling how high his stock might climb if he has a strong NCAA Tournament. The Hurricanes appear to have a very favorable draw, which means Larkin will have the opportunity to lead his team to a Final Four while the country is watching.
Upset Alert: Marquette vs. Davidson
When people hear the name Davidson, the only thing they usually think about is Steph Curry. It’s true that Curry led the Wildcats on a magical run to the Elite 8 in the 2008 NCAA Tournament, but the Davidson program is about much more than that.
Bob McKillop is one of the most underrated coaches in America and he always has teams that are disciplined and ready to play. He also isn’t afraid to schedule difficult opponents as the Wildcats have already played Duke and Gonzaga this season.
Davidson will not be intimidated at all by Marquette and it wouldn’t surprise me if the Golden Eagles overlook this small school that they probably have no idea where it is. And anytime you overlook a team like Davidson, you do so at your own peril.
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