March Madness: Bracket breakdown — East


Top Team

Syracuse was a lock for the No. 1 seed, but the Orange have slipped lately. Don’t forget Ohio State was just four points away from a No. 1 seed of its own after it lost to Michigan State in the Big 10 championship game. The Buckeyes still have a dominant force in the low post with Jared Sullinger and have some perimeter shooting, as well, with William Buford and Aaron Craft. If the Buckeyes catch fire from the field in March, they’re dangerous.

Best player

John Jenkins is a shooter. He’s a lights-out, knock-down, straight-up shooter. He won the SEC tournament MVP after leading his Commodores to a win over mighty Kentucky. He shoots 45 percent from beyond the arc and is a big name to watch in March.

Sleeper alert

Vanderbilt is hot off an upset of Kentucky in the SEC tournament to take the conference title, and as always, a hot team is more dangerous than a talented one when it comes to March. John Jenkins and Jeffery Taylor can shoot the lights out, too, so watch out for the Commodores.

Best potential game

I’m particularly interested in the first-round matchup between Vanderbilt and Harvard. Vanderbilt has been prone to upsets in the first round, and Harvard is definitely a dangerous team that plays very suffocating defense.

The Picks

Second round: Syracuse, Kansas State, Vanderbilt, Wisconsin, Cincinnati, Florida State, Gonzaga, Ohio State

No surprises in the first round of this bracket. The Gonzaga-West Virginia matchup is an interesting one though, and could go to the Mountaineers.

Third round: Syracuse over Kansas State, Vanderbilt over Wisconsin, Florida State over Cincinnati, Ohio State over Gonzaga

Vanderbilt is hot right now, so that’s why I’m picking the Commodores over Wisconsin.

Sweet 16: Syracuse over Vanderbilt, Florida State over Ohio State

Vanderbilt could knock off Syracuse because the Commodores can shoot — and shoot very well — but I feel Syracuse will hang on if Kris Joseph and Scoop Jardine show up, unlike they did in the Big East tournament.

Elite Eight: Florida State over Syracuse

Syracuse is very, very bad on the boards, especially on the defensive glass. The Orange are 341st (out of 345) in the nation in defensive rebounding. Florida State is carrying a lot of momentum with it right now, and I think the Seminoles will make it to the Final Four.

Reach reporter Thuc Nhi Nguyen at sports@dailyuw.com or on Twitter @thucnhi21.

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