East Region bracket breakdown


By Jarrett Huff

First Round:

Duke vs North Dakota State (play in)

North Dakota State will win their game against NC Central to get into the bracket. While that would be great for the Bison initially, they’ll end up getting blown out by Duke in the first round.


UCF will defeat VCU in the first round. UCF performed better than VCU in their matchups against the top 50 ranked schools, including a convincing win over Houston in early March.

Mississippi State vs Liberty

No upset here, as Mississippi State will take the win over Liberty. The teams are pretty close statistically, but based off of how Mississippi State performed against the top 50, I’m giving them the edge.

Virginia Tech vs Saint Louis

It was not a hard decision to pick Virginia Tech. They had some solid wins against Duke (Zion-less), Purdue, Washington and Northeastern, all who are in the bracket.

Maryland vs Belmont (play in)

Upset alert! After playing their way into the bracket, Belmont will make their way into the second round. Belmont’s offense is absurd, averaging 86.9 points a game.

LSU vs Yale

I’m picking LSU to win this round. As long as the Tigers out rebound (shoutout to Taurean Prince) the Bulldogs, they should be just fine.

Louisville vs Minnesota

While both teams did not fair too well in top 50 play, Louisville’s wins were more convincing. They beat UNC, Michigan State, Virginia Tech and Seton Hall. Expect the Cardinals to narrowly win over the Golden Gophers.

Michigan State vs Bradley

Michigan State should fair better in the tournament this year compared to the last few seasons, as these leaders are more seasoned. Their come-from-behind win in the Big Ten tournament over Michigan only adds to my confidence in them.

Second Round:

Duke vs UCF

Duke is going to take this win. Ever since Zion Williamson returned from his injury, Duke has been rolling, even taking a win over UNC.

Virginia Tech vs Mississippi State

Virginia Tech will defeat Mississippi State. Virginia Tech is a very good team, only giving up 62.1 points on defense, and shooting 39.4% from three.

LSU vs Belmont

Belmont’s run ends here, as LSU knocks them out of round 2. LSU had a similar record to Belmont, but the level of opponents for LSU far exceeds Belmont’s.

Michigan State vs Louisville

Michigan State did lose to Louisville early in the season, however, the Spartans are in position for a deep run in this tournament after rolling through the Big Ten. Michigan State wins.

Sweet 16:

Duke vs Virginia Tech

Sure, Virginia Tech beat Duke, however Zion Williamson was injured and only lost by five points. I’m sure had Zion played, the result would’ve been different. Duke to the Elite 8.

Michigan State vs LSU

While Michigan State has played like Michigan State so far in the tournament, it is time for them to play like Michigan State of years’ past. LSU gets hot behind the great play of Tremont Waters and moves on to face Duke.

Elite 8:

Duke vs LSU

This will be the biggest stage ever for Duke’s host of future NBA stars, and those stars will shine brightly. Behind the spectacular play of Williamson, R.J. Barrett, Cam Reddish and Tre Jones, LSU gets overwhelmed and out muscled by Duke’s wealth of talent. Duke cruises out of the East and into the Final Four, and if my bracket is correct, the NCAA Finals.