Indiana has been a Final Four favorite all year, but can they make to Atlanta playing in a talented East Region?
The East Region is certainly interesting to say the least. Big names take on interesting little names and the region features two teams that many thought would both be a number one seed.
Indiana won out, and Miami was ousted by Gonzaga it appears, although that might have been a matter of region and proximity to the location, rather than where the committee wanted to place everyone.
But it doesn't matter. The brackets are set and this region could be rife with upsets. So what should we expect?
Three upsets should linger in everyone's mind going into the
first second round:
1. Bucknell over Butler: Mike Muscala gets to tee off against a former Cinderella. The Bulldogs have shown they are vulnerable in Atlantic 10 play and the talented Bison may put Butler on a two-game losing streak. In the past two months, Bucknell has only lost once. Could the Bison be cruising for a possible match up against another member of mid-major royalty?
2. Davidson could set up a mid-major dream: Davidson has the nation's longest winning streak at 14 games and could make some noise in March. Coach McKillop is no stranger to the month and he'll get a matchup against a coach who couldn't be more of a polar opposite in Buzz Williams of Marquette. It's hard to say Davidson is streaky, after winning so many games in a row, but they are. The Wildcats will need a consistent game to take down their Big East foe.
3. Can Montana Finish the Job: Last year Syracuse barely escaped UNC-Asheville and this year they'll have another tough match up against Montana. The Grizzlies had an abysmal shooting day versus Wisconsin in the 2012 Tournament, but they could be poised for the upset against the Orange this year. Can Will Cherry and the others get it going against the Orange?
Top three mid-major players to watch:
1. Mike Muscala, Bucknell: If you haven't heard of the 6-11 center by now then I don't know what to tell you. The Patriot League Player of the Year could be the difference against Butler and could propel the Bison to a "Sweet 16" birth. Muscala is third in the country in rebounding, averaging over 11 per game, and also adds 19 points per game. This tournament will be the senior's swan song.
2. Will Cherry, Montana: Cherry is another talented senior you'll hear a lot about going into this week. His numbers have declined a bit (probably due to a foot injury that has slowed him a bit), but he's still a talented player averaging 14 points and 4 rebounds per game. If Cherry can get his teammates going from downtown against Syracuse's 2-3 zone then he could become a face for Cinderella.
3. De'Mon Brooks, Davidson: Brooks isn't his team's leading scorer, but he's Davidson's most athletic player. The junior is averaging 14 points and 6 rebounds per game and could be the difference in the intriguing match up versus Marquette.