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NCAA Brackets 2012: What Experts Are Saying About the Tourney's East Region

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 11:  Jared Sullinger #0 of the Ohio State Buckeyes reacts against the Michigan State Spartans during the Final Game of the 2012 Big Ten Men's Conference Basketball Tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on March 11, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Gabe ZaldivarPop Culture Lead WriterMarch 13, 2012

The teams have been separated into tiny capsules where nothing short of hoops Armageddon will take place, and we have you covered on the East region that features exciting teams like Syracuse, Cincinnati, Florida State and Ohio State. 

Here is where we break down all the hype and hoopla surrounding an action-packer region that is sure to bust some brackets to hell. 

Save that precious piece of paper from being thrown in the trash. With the following updates from hoops experts, you will be framing that just a few weeks from now. 

UPDATE: Tuesday, March 13th, 8:08 p.m. ET

Fab Melo Fallout 

We have since learned that Syracuse will play the tournament without their big man Fab Melo who has been deemed ineligible by the NCAA. 

ESPN's Dana O'Neil spells out precisely what this means for Syracuse going forward. Unfortunately, we have an idea of what it means as Melo was ineligible earlier in the regular season. 

Losing Melo changes Syracuse -- and probably a few brackets -- dramatically.

In the three games without him, the Orange's numbers dipped considerably -- from 35.4 points in the paint to 28.7 and from 13.5 second-chance points to 6.3.

Even more important than Melo's offense, where he is still finding his way, is his defense.

Yahoo Sports' Pat Forde tweets the report via tweet with acknowledgement that this specific team has had to deal with great tumult. Report here

Wetzel on the news: Fab Melo is ineligible for the NCAA tournament, but Syracuse is used to brushing off adversity rivals.yahoo.com/ncaab/news?slu…

— Pat Forde (@YahooForde) March 13, 2012

Dick Vitale chimes in with his thoughts on the matter.

What a blow 4 Syracuse - wow losing Fab Melo will really hurt the Zone . #dickievpicks es.pn/z8metj

Dick Vitale (@DickieV) March 13, 2012

There is no way of knowing how this will affect a team that has been through a great deal. Syracuse will now fight a stout field with one of their best defensive weapons, and that is sure to hinder how far they can go in March. 

CBS Sports

Jeff Goodman of CBS Sports starts us off by breaking down the East as a region filled with easy picks and soft schedules. 

To be honest, this region isn't overly intimidating. Ohio State and Florida State have been enigmas. The Buckeyes are talented among their top four players, but have underachieved. The Seminoles are playing well, but it's tough to predict which team will show up. Bo Ryan has milked as much as he could out of his Wisconsin team this season and it's difficult to imagine the Badgers doing much of anything.

ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 11:  Antwan Space #24 and the Florida State Seminoles celebrate after their 85-82 win over the North Carolina Tar Heels in the Final Game of the 2012 ACC Men's Basketball Conference Tournament at Philips Arena on March 11, 2012 in Atla
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Upset Alert: Goodman states his favorite pick for an upset in the region is West Virginia over Gonzaga. 

ESPN

Myron Medcalf breaks down the East Region for the big four letter and has this to say. 

Ohio State might actually be the best team in the East Region. Florida State and Vanderbilt have heated up at the right time. If Wisconsin can avoid major scoring droughts, it can advance, too. Harvard and Cincy are sleepers.

Syracuse is getting no love at the moment, and it makes sense. They looked shaky at the tail end of the season and there are just too many hot teams in this region. 

I would be shocked if we see the Orange maneuver out of the East unscathed. 

DURHAM, NC - MARCH 03:  ESPN basketball analyst Dick Vitale reports from the sidelines before the Duke Blue Devils against the North Carolina Tar Heels at Cameron Indoor Stadium on March 3, 2012 in Durham, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty I
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Dick Vitale

Yup, you can almost hear his voice coming across the transom of your computer screen. Here is a link to his picks with brief break downs of what he thinks, and will subsequently screen on air. 

He has Florida State taking the region over Vandy. 

FLORIDA STATE OVER VANDERBILT

ACC championship was not a fluke. Seminoles have all the parts.

Yahoo Sports

Pat Forde of Yahoo Sports has a video breakdown of the region and you can see it here.  

He likes Syracuse and Ohio State but loves Florida State, and considers them by far the most battle tested. 

If you are scoring at home, the experts seem to love Florida State with some thoughts Vanderbilt could excite and surprise late. 

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