NCAA Tournament Picks 2012: Kansas State Will Destroy East Regional Bracket

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 11, 2012

KANSAS CITY, MO - MARCH 08:  Frank Martin head coach of the Kansas State Wildcats reacts after a foul call on his team during a game against the Baylor Bears in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Basketball Tournament March 8, 2012 at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
Ed Zurga/Getty Images

Be advised when filling out the East Region of your NCAA tournament bracket this year, because the Kansas State Wildcats could absolutely blow it up.

The East Region is certainly there to be had for quite a few teams. Syracuse is the top seed with Ohio State at No. 2.

But when you look up and down the region, there are plenty of chances to see a lower-seeded team make a run. The high seeds like Wisconsin, Florida State and Vanderbilt don't inspire a lot of confidence.

If there's going to be one region that is completely upside down, it's the East.

And Kansas State is going to be the main reason.

The Wildcats finished 21-10 (10-8) on the year, good enough for the No. 8 seed. They'll face off with the No. 9 Southern Miss Golden Eagles on March 15.

Despite finishing fifth in the Big 12, Kansas State had a pretty good season. They have two victories over Missouri to their credit, and were able to beat Baylor in Waco.

Overall, they had a 4-4 record against AP top-25 competition, which was good for third in the conference. The Wildcats are not a team to sleep on.

Their second-round matchup, Southern Miss, could give them a difficult time, but K-State should be able to get through.

The Golden Eagles didn't face a single top-25 opponent all year and managed only a 7-6 record away from home.

After that, things could get interesting.

Barring something even beyond a miracle, Kansas State would face off with 31-2 Syracuse. The Orange are going to be many people's pick for the Final Four, but they may not even get past the third round.

Syracuse has gone through one heck of a season in the Big East. As tough as that conference is, finishing with only two losses is quite an accomplishment.

But you have to wonder what the cost could be. The Orange might have spent everything they had in reaching this point.

They might be physically and mentally exhausted. That is sure how Louisville and Cincinnati looked in the Big East championship.

Kansas State were eliminated in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 tournament, which will have been a week before the team's second-round game with Southern Miss.

The Wildcats have plenty of time to rest and get ready for the tournament, whereas the Orange will have had one fewer day off. Plus, their road to this point has been much less difficult than Syracuse's.

Also, Kansas State coach Frank Martin has proven that he can take the Wildcats deep into the tournament. They're just two years removed from reaching the Elite Eight, which is impressive with a school like K-State.

So you can mark it down right now: Kansas State is going to upset the Syracuse Orange, and from there anything can happen for the Wildcats.