The printer is about to be one overused piece of equipment.
On the Monday after Selection Sunday, we sit with our completely empty, mistake-free bracket. With only a few days before the action starts, it’s time to scramble to the printer and grab your copy of the bracket for a chance to win the office pool and show off your basketball intuition. The East is packed with teams that could surprise at any part of the region, along with big teams that haven’t given us much reason to be doubt to doubt them.
The #1 seed, Syracuse, has only shown signs of weakness through their lack of rebounding and failure to win by large margins consistently… when they have Fab Melo. That will not be the case throughout the NCAA Tournament because the university announced on Tuesday that Melo had been disqualified for the entire tournament. This news has really shaken up the East Region betting odds and Syracuse is falling fast. Since this news came down, Syracuse went from 9/4 odds all the way down to 4/1 odds and that is just to win the region, their odds to win the tournament have fallen further. Conversely, Ohio State who was a 8/5 favorite to win the region has increased to a 5/4 favorite according to the latest odds.
The excitement, however, is going to be found more in the middle of the region with teams like Montana, Harvard, and Cincinnati. Montana went 15-1 in a conference that did not feature a ranked team, but they are being praised by many ESPN analysts as being a much better team than anticipated. If anyone can remember the beginning of the season, Harvard upset Florida State. Also, Cincinnati is a team coming fresh off a strong showing in the Big East tournament and a win against the current #1 seed in their own region. But if any of these teams will be top dog in the East, they will have to go through a very tough road. Montana faces Wisconsin, Harvard has to face SEC tournament champion Vanderbilt right off the bat, and Cincinnati will play Texas. Bovada.com gives Montana 100/1 odds to win the region, Harvard 60/1, and Cincinnati 20/1.
The wildcard of the region is the one team that is scaring everybody is Florida State. After huge wins against Duke and North Carolina, they are becoming the team nobody wants to play. Normally known for defense, FSU has found a way to produce on offense barraging UNC with 3-pointers to win their first ACC Conference Tournament championship ever. With St. Bonaventure awaiting the Noles, you can bet the other teams in the East will be hoping that an upset is in order to avoid the Noles. Last year, they were in a Sweet 16 game against VCU that they let slip away at the finish line. With only losses of Chris Singleton to the NBA and Derwin Kitchen to graduation, they are the same team with one more year of tournament experience. The Noles are getting 11/2 odds (up from 10/1) to steal the East, placing them third right behind Syracuse. Kansas State is also a team to watch for, set at 6th best odds with 18/1, even though they are the #8 seed.
East Bracket Betting Odds – found in Bovada’s College Basketball Future Odds