2010 NCAA Tournament Preview and Predictions: East Region
No. 1 Kentucky vs. No. 16 East Tennessee State
Is there really an explanation needed for this game? Yes—last year, East Tennessee State was in the East Region and almost upset Pitt in the first round as a No. 16 seed.
Unfortunately, the Buccaneers' stars are gone, although there are still five players who played in last year's NCAA Tournament game on the roster.
Kentucky 80, East Tennessee State 61
No. 8 Texas vs. No. 9 Wake Forest
Time for Texas to get a wake-up call. These are the same Longhorns that were 17-0 and No. 1 in the nation. These guys can, and will, wake back up now that it is March.
I have seen the Facebook statuses of a couple of Texas players in the last few weeks (please note they came up in the "Facebook News Feed"). All of the basketball-related statuses had an upside to them. These Longhorns are hungry and ready to prove that they are still a top team in the country. On top of their will to win, they also look better on paper.
Texas 77, Wake Forest 63
No. 5 Temple vs. No. 12 Cornell
I wish I could put Cornell in the Sweet 16, or at least the second round. However, the Big Red got a bad matchup and will fall in the first round.
For those who do not know how Cornell plays, it is all three-point shooting and dishing to Jeff Foote in the post. Temple's Lavoy Allen will control Foote. For the three-point shooting, Temple holds its opponents to 28 percent from beyond the arc. The Big Red will not get enough good looks and will fall to the Owls.
Temple 67, Cornell 59
No. 4 Wisconsin vs. No. 13 Wofford
Here comes the biggest first round upset in the East Region. Wofford's opponents shoot poorly from beyond the arc. Wisconsin lives and dies on the three-point shot. Wofford's defense will shut down the Badgers and take them to the second round.
Wofford 62, Wisconsin 59
No. 6 Marquette vs. No. 11 Washington
Marquette has had more success away from home and in close games. These are two huge factors in a game like this. Marquette has the experience in close games, and the Golden Eagles have generally been able to pull out victories.
Marquette 75, Washington 73
No. 3 New Mexico vs. No. 14 Montana
This game will be a lot closer than many think. Montana is a pesky team that never goes away. Montana lost nine times this season, and only once did the Grizzlies lose by double digits. New Mexico is simply a better team and has been playing very well recently.
New Mexico 77, Montana 69
No. 7 Clemson vs. No. 10 Missouri
Clemson turns the ball over 15 times a game. The Tigers are going up against Missouri, who averages 11 steals per game. Missouri's defense will get hold of Clemson and take the Tigers to the second round.
Missouri 79, Clemson 65
No. 2 West Virginia vs. No. 15 Morgan State
Morgan State has no chance against West Virginia. Reggie Holmes has been inconsistent in the second half of the season, and even if Holmes is at his best, the Bears will still have almost no chance.
West Virginia 75, Morgan State 58
No. 1 Kentucky vs. No. 8 Texas
Once again, this Texas team was 17-0. When at its best, Texas has a good chance of beating Kentucky. The Longhorns have played well in big games because of their energy level. How could they not have a high energy level with the Sweet 16 and a huge upset on the line?
Texas has a very good chance at pulling off the upset over Kentucky.
Texas 75, Kentucky 72
No. 5 Temple vs. No. 13 Wofford
Wofford has a legitimate chance of going to the Sweet 16 in the school's first NCAA Tournament appearance. The Terriers match up well with Temple. Both teams' strengths are on defense and playing in fairly low-scoring games. Both teams have had a lot of success away from home.
On paper, they are pretty much even. Both teams play excellent perimeter defense, and Temple relies on the three-pointer much more than Wofford.
Wofford 60, Temple 56
No. 3 New Mexico vs. No. 6 Marquette
The difference in this game will be New Mexico's rebounding. New Mexico and Marquette are almost identical on paper, except for rebounding.
New Mexico 75, Marquette 68
No. 2 West Virginia vs. No. 10 Missouri
West Virginia handles the ball pretty well. Missouri will not be able to handle a team not prone to turning the ball over.
West Virginia 80, Missouri 71
No. 8 Texas vs. No. 13 Wofford
Texas will get lucky in the Sweet 16. Wofford will not have enough in it to beat another great team.
Texas 72, Wofford 60
No. 2 West Virginia vs. No. 3 New Mexico
West Virginia's defense will limit New Mexico. The Lobos will be able to play as fast-paced as they would normally want to.
West Virginia 67, New Mexico 62
No. 2 West Virginia vs. No. 8 Texas
Texas' rebounding will keep the Longhorns in the game. West Virginia has done better late in games and has a go-to-guy, unlike Texas. Texas will put up a good fight but fall to the Mountaineers.
West Virginia 73, Texas 67
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