Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Sweet Sixteen Preview: East Region

Now that the first two rounds are through in the tournament, it is time for the best basketball to be played. Gone are the teams that were overrated or did not deserve to be dancing, leaving the true contenders to fight it out for the national title. The East Region offers up some of the best matchups in this exciting round, with Ohio State playing Kentucky and North Carolina playing Marquette. Could we see some more improbable upsets from the east region?

The Ohio State-Kentucky game is at 9:45 this Thursday. Love em' or hate em', this is a classic matchup of two historic and successful programs. Kentucky is a solid team, especially with Brandon Knight playing the way he has been. Ohio State is just so good though. They remind me of a college version of the Orlando Magic, with an excellent big man inside surrounded by a stable of marksmen from the perimeter. Kentucky and Brandon Knight will give Ohio State a game, but Sullinger and company will prove to be too much for Calipari's team, icing the game late in the second half after a barrage of threes.

The other intriguing matchup of the day is UNC versus Marquette, which starts at 7:15. Marquette has been playing great lately, getting an unlikely win over Big East Power Syracuse. The thing that has struck me about UNC, though, is their ability to beat you in so many ways. They can shoot the three, pound it inside, or when the going gets tough give it to Harrison Barnes, one of the nation's most exciting young players. I love to pick the upset, but UNC is just too balanced to be beat in this round.

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