The Villanova Wildcats grabbed the top seed in the East Region after winning the Big East Tournament, but will they be able to make the Final Four? Here's a game-by-game breakdown of the first-round games in the East Region:
**Click team name for extended team breakdown**
(16) Lafayette Leopards
No 16-seed has ever beaten a 1-seed, so the Wildcats are pretty safe in this matchup. Villanova's guard heavy attack will give teams a lot of problems because of their unselfishness and their ability to shoot the ball, and should advance easily.
(8 ) NC State Wolfpack
(9) LSU Tigers
NC State is one of the more inconsistent teams in the country, but when they're playing well, they can beat anyone. LSU played the same way for most of the season, yet they were unable to pull off any of the big wins that the Wolfpack were.
NC State is a good shot-blocking team and has a number of good three-point shooters, while LSU prefers to get the ball into the post and work from the block. Whoever can dictate the style of play will win this game, and the Wolfpack has more ways they can control the game.
(12) Wyoming Cowboys
Both Wyoming and Northern Iowa have dominant defenses, and each sometimes struggles on offense. This game will undoubtedly be a low-scoring affair, but the Panthers have more offensive talent that will allow them to pull this out pretty easily.
(13) UC Irvine Anteaters
UC Irvine is known for having the tallest player in the NCAA (7'6"), but they don't have much going for them other than that. Louisville's dominant defense and elite athleticism should carry them past the Anteaters and into the Sweet 16.
Boise State and Dayton square off in one of the First Four matchups, and both teams are athletic, balanced, and offensive minded. Providence is also offensive minded, but they're more centrally focused on point guard Kris Dunn and forward LaDontae Henton as opposed to a balanced attack. That will give Boise State or Dayton an edge to pull off the first-round upset.
(3) Oklahoma Sooners
(14) Albany Great Danes
The Sooners are one of the most battle-tested teams in the country, and they have the scoring ability to beat anyone. Albany has a well-balanced attack, but they don't have a lot of size and will be dominated by Oklahoma's athleticism.
(10) Georgia Bulldogs
Michigan State is playing their best basketball of the season, and their star players - Travis Trice, Denzel Valentine, and Branden Dawson - are all starting to find their groove. Georgia has a good team that plays well together, but Tom Izzo has more success in the NCAA Tournament than any coach in the country. That success will continue against the Bulldogs.
(15) Belmont Bruins
UVA is the second best defensive team in the country behind Kentucky, and that defense won't have any problems shutting down Belmont's perimeter attack. However, the Cavaliers' success in the tournament will depend on the health of guard Justin Anderson, who is coming back from a hand injury that sidelined him for two months.
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