March Madness 2011: Biggest Questions, Likeliest Upsets in the East Region

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March Madness 2011: Biggest Questions, Likeliest Upsets in the East Region
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Every year, one region in particular always seems to be for the big fellas.

The others have maybe one or two elite teams, but then there's one region with about four, plus a crop of other great teams to go along with them. I think the East region gets the honors here this year for March Madness, with Ohio State (32-2), North Carolina (26-7), Syracuse (26-7) and Kentucky (25-8) getting the top four seeds.

"The East is, of course, a very strong region," Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith, chairman of the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee, told Brendan Prunty of the Newark Star-Ledger. "But so are the others. They just might not have the brand names that the East has."

The brilliance of March Madness, of course, comes with the upsets, but I love the idea that you've got four incredible heavyweights in this region and whoever emerges will have definitely earned it.

Besides those four seeds, you've also got to pay attention to a hot Washington (23-10) team, as well as Villanova (21-11) and West Virginia (20-11).

Along with the teams, I also love the starpower this region brings with it: Ohio State freshman forward Jared Sullinger averaged 16.3 points and 14 rebounds in the Big Ten tournament; Kentucky guard Brandon Knight, who's averaging 17.5 points a contest, forms an incredible combination with Terrence Jones, named the SEC Freshman of the Year; and North Carolina freshman Harrison Barnes just dropped 40 on Clemson in the ACC tournament semifinals.

"Barnes' status as an Associated Press preseason All-American—before he ever played a game at UNC—doesn't look so foolish now, does it," Joey Johnston of the Tampa Tribune pointed out in today's section.

Hey, I've always been a believer that if you're good enough to back up the talk, then I've got no problem with hype. I think Barnes has accomplished that.

That's why I said it earlier: This is for the big fellas.

So let's get into this further. I'll throw out some upsets, and we'll look at some of the most glaring questions facing these teams and players. Send me your thoughts and comments as well. It's all up for discussion. Let me know who you've got winning this region, too. 

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