2017 NCAA Tournament Bracket Breakdown
2017 NCAA Tournament Bracket Breakdown: East Region
If anyone is surprised that Villanova ended up on top here, you haven’t watched much basketball this season. Now that you’re filling out your bracket, allow me to introduce you to the top team in the nation and defending national champion. Their title defense begins by facing a play-in team, either Mount Saint Mary’s or New Orleans. A 16-seed has never beaten a one and these are not the two teams to do it.
When, not if, Villanova wins, they will face the winner of the Wisconsin-Virginia Tech game. Bucky the Badger got punished for their late-season losing streak, and apparently got no credit for making the Big Ten final. Their opponent, Virginia Tech, is seeded correctly, though the team they face is tougher than the average eight seed. The first real test of the tournament would come from one of these two.
Florida meets East Tennessee State in the 4-13 game, while Virginia takes on UNC-Wilmington in the 5-12 game. I’m telling you right now, a lot of people are going to pick UNC-Wilmington. They might be the darlings of the 2017 NCAA Tournament bracket, if one is to pick a 12 seed. The dreaded 5-12 game usually produces a surprise, and Virginia looks like a team ripe to get picked off early. A 29-win conference champion, the Seahawks are going to test the Cavaliers’ defense with their high-powered offense. If the Hoos do another offensive disappearing act, good night.
2017 NCAA Tournament Bracket: East Region
Down at the bottom of the bracket is Duke, sitting at a two seed after winning the ACC. Their resume, including eight losses, did not warrant a top seed. Regardless, they have a very favorable matchup in the first round against Troy. This will be followed by a game against South Carolina or Marquette. The Gamecocks are a little overseeded, but Marquette was one of the few teams to beat Villanova this season. Unfortunately, they’d be playing Duke, not the Wildcats.
With Duke apparently having figured out their issues, anything less than at least a Sweet Sixteen appearance would be a nightmarish result.
Baylor-New Mexico State is the 3-14 game, while SMU is the six seed playing either Providence or USC. If that play-in is a matter of momentum, Providence has it and USC doesn’t. The Friars have won six of their last seven games, having rocketed into the tournament picture during February. USC, on the other hand, piled up some wins against the bad Pac-12 Washington teams, but have lost to all the decent teams they’ve faced since February.
The Baylor game is also interesting in that New Mexico State could give them trouble. Baylor is up-and-down in recent times and have a lousy loss or two. The problem for the Aggies is that they have assuredly not faced a team this good.