NCAA East Region preview

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Sports,College,John Keim,Craig Stouffer,Kevin Dunleavy

THE FAVORITE

No. 1 Indiana Hoosiers

Victor Oladipo (13.6 ppg, 6.4 rpg) is the defensive heart of the uptempo Hoosiers, creating havoc on the perimeter thanks in part to the presence of 7-foot Cody Zeller (16.9 ppg, 8.2 rpg) guarding the lane. Indiana ranked No. 3 in the nation in 3-point shooting (41.1 percent) as it was difficult to defend three perimeter shooters as dangerous as Christian Watford (49.1 percent), Jordan Hulls (46.4 percent) and Oladipo (44.3 percent).

The contender

No. 2 Miami Hurricanes

Jim Larranaga has two of the most important elements for tournament success -- guards in Shane Larkin and Durand Scott who control games and a veteran rotation that includes five seniors, four of whom have been in college for at least five years. This team has a lot of the same earmarks -- it is veteran laden and has a tight rotation and multiple ball-handlers -- of Larranaga's 2006 Final Four team at George Mason.

One and done

No. 5 UNLV Rebels

The Rebels have lost each of the last three years to a lower seed, including last year as a No. 6 to No. 11 Colorado. This time as a No. 5 they have a difficult assignment, playing No. 12 California, 45 miles from the Golden Bears' campus in San Jose. The one positive for UNLV: Cal has been nearly as inept in the opening round, losing in six of its last 10 appearances.

Cinderella

No. 3 Marquette Golden Eagles

Overachieving is the Golden Eagles' specialty. How else to explain their share of the Big East regular-season title? Guard Vander Blue (14.3 ppg) can score in a variety of ways, and center Davante Gardner (11.5 ppg, 4.9 rpg) knows how to use his size inside. With coach Buzz Williams' usual resourcefulness -- and brazen ignorance of the coach's box -- Marquette always has a chance to rattle new opponents.

The Examiner predicts ...

No. 2 Miami Hurricanes

Ex-George Mason coach Jim Larranaga will take a second school to the Final Four, only this time he will do it as the No. 2 seed. There's no underdog story this time around. The kryptonite to Indiana's talent is physical play, and Miami has that ability. But the Hurricanes also can play different styles, which will make a huge difference. Six of the Hurricanes' top seven players are 21 years or older (but the team has a combined zero NCAA tournament games).

Did you know ...

Davidson leads the nation in free throw percentage?

Don't foul this team. The Wildcats made 80.1 percent of their foul shots behind Division I leader Nik Cochran (94.1 percent). They also have the nation's longest winning streak (17 games), which includes three quality wins over College of Charleston (24-10) and one over Big Sky champion Montana (25-6). Coach Bob McKillop's team reached the Elite Eight in 2008, toppling the No. 7 (Gonzaga), No. 2 (Georgetown) and No. 3 (Wisconsin) seeds.

Key opening matchup

No. 6 Butler vs. No. 11 Bucknell

Butler beat Marquette, North Carolina and Indiana in nonconference action but went 6-4 in their last 10 games. Guard Rotnei Clarke makes 41.2 percent of his 3-pointers, but the Bulldogs will be tested inside against Bucknell's 6-foot-11 Mike Muscala, the school's all-time leading scorer. He has been double-teamed all season. Butler senior Andrew Smith can match his height and runs the floor well. Bucknell beat Purdue in its season opener and lost to then-No. 12 Missouri by two.

kdunleavy@washingtonexaminer.com, jkeim@washingtonexaminer.com, cstouffer@washingtonexaminer.com

 

AP capsules for East Region teams

 

Indiana

Bloomington, Ind., 27-6.

Nickname: Hoosiers. Coach: Tom Crean.

Conference: Big Ten. Bid: At large.

Region: East. Seed: No. 1.

Tournament Record: 62-31, 36 years. Last appearance: 2012.

Scoring: Team (80.0); Cody Zeller 16.9; Victor Oladipo 13.6; Christian Watford 12.5; Jordan Hulls 10.1; Will Sheehy 9.4.

Rebounds: Team (38.6); Cody Zeller 8.2; Victor Oladipo 6.4; Christian Watford 6.2.

Assists/Turnovers: Team (14.5/13.0); Kevin Ferrell 4.2/2.0; Jordan Hulls 3.1/1.2; Victor Oladipo 2.1/2.3.

3-pointers: Team (.411); Jordan Hulls 77; Christian Watford 56.

Last Ten: 7-3.

The Skinny: The loss to Wisconsin in Big Ten semifinal didn't dissuade selection committee from giving the Hoosiers a No. 1 seed. Talented team led by one of the best players in the country in Cody Zeller.

 

LIU Brooklyn

Brooklyn, N.Y., 20-13.

Nickname: Blackbirds. Coach: Jim Ferry.

Conference: Northeast. Bid: Northeast champion.

Region: East. Seed: No. 16.

Tournament Record: 0-5, 5 years. Last NCAA Appearance: 2012.

Scoring: Team (79.5); Jamal Olasewere 18.9; Julian Boyd 18.5; C.J. Garner 16.1; Jason Brickman 9.1.

Rebounds: Team (35.4); Jamal Olasewere 8.5; Julian Boyd 6.1; C.J. Garner 4.1; E.J. Reed 4.0.

Assists/Turnovers: Team (15.3/14.4); Jason Brickman 8.5/4.0; C.J. Garner 2.6/2.2.

3-pointers: Team (.385); Brandon Thompson 56; Jason Brickman 53; Booker Hucks 32.

Last Ten: 8-2.

The Skinny: The Blackbirds had four players suspended in the fall and reigning NEC player of the year Julian Boyd tore his ACL in December. After the late-season run they had, don't be surprised if they bust a few brackets.

 

James Madison

Harrisonburg, Va., 20-14.

Nickname: Dukes. Coach: Matt Brady.

Conference: Colonial Athletic Association. Bid: CAA champion.

Region: East. Seed: No. 16.

Tournament Record: 3-4, 4 years. Last NCAA Appearance: 1994.

Scoring: Team (65.2); Rayshawn Goins 12.7; A.J. Davis 12.1; Devon Moore 11.6; Andrey Semenov 10.0.

Rebounds: Team (32.7); Rayshawn Goins 7.4; Devon Moore 3.7.

Assists/Turnovers: Team (11.7/11.2); Devon Moore 4.9/2.3; Ron Curry 1.8/1.0.

3-pointers: Team (.333); A.J. Davis 65; Andre Nation 31.

Last Ten: 7-3.

The Skinny: The Dukes are in the NCAA tournament for the first time in 19 years. Used to be known as giant killers with NCAA wins over Georgetown, Ohio State and West Virginia on the wins list.

___

North Carolina State

Raleigh, 24-10.

Nickname: Wolfpack. Coach: Mark Gottfried.

Conference: Atlantic Coast. Bid: At large.

Region: East. Seed: No. 8.

Tournament Record: 34-22, 23 years. Last appearance: 2012.

Scoring: Team (77.5); C.J. Leslie 14.9; Richard Howell 12.7; Scott Wood 12.7; T.J. Warren 12.4; Lorenzo Brown 12.1.

Rebounds: Team (36.8); Richard Howell 10.7; C.J. Leslie 7.4; Lorenzo Brown 4.3; TJ Warren 4.2.

Assists/Turnovers: Team (14.6/12.4); Lorenzo Brown 7.2/3.5.

3-pointers: Team (.393); Scott Wood 102; Rodney Purvis 30.

Last Ten: 7-3.

The Skinny: The Wolfpack didn't live up to their high preseason ranking (No. 6), but returned the core of team that went to Sweet 16 a year ago and will be a dangerous draw.

 

Temple

Philadelphia, 23-9.

Nickname: Owls. Coach: Fran Dunphy.

Conference: Atlantic 10. Bid: At large.

Region: East. Seed: No. 8.

Tournament Record: 32-30, 30 years. Last appearance: 2012.

Scoring: Team (72.8); Khalif Wyatt 19.8; Scootie Randall 11.8; Anthony Lee 10.0; Jack O'Brien 9.3.

Rebounds: Team (34.5); Anthony Lee 7.0; Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson 6.2; Scootie Randall 6.1.

Assists/Turnovers: Team (14.9/11.0); Khalif Wyatt 4.1/3.2; Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson 3.5/1.7; Scootie Randall 2.1/1.4.

3-pointers: Team (.334); Khalif Wyatt 71; Scootie Randall 57; Jake O'Brien 54.

Last Ten: 8-2.

The Skinny: Owls are making sixth straight NCAA tournament appearance after beating ranked teams Syracuse and VCU during the regular season.

___

UNLV

Las Vegas, 25-9.

Nickname: Rebels. Coach: Dave Rice.

Conference: Mountain West. Bid: At large.

Region: East. Seed: No. 5. 

Tournament Record: 33-18, 19 years. Last appearance: 2012.

Scoring: Team (71.7); Anthony Bennett 16.1; Anthony Marshall 10.5; Katin Reinhart 10.1; Bryce Dejean-Jones 10.1.

Rebounds: Team (37.8); Anthony Bennett 8.1; Mike Moser 6.0; Khem Birch 5.7; Bryce Dejean-Jones 4.5; Anthony Marshall 4.0.

Assists/Turnovers: Team (16.2/14.0); Anthony Marshall 5.8/2.7; Katin Reinhart 2.5/1.9; Bryce Dejean-Jones 2.4/2.3.

3-pointers: Team (.330); Katin Reinhart 62; Bryce Dejean-Jones 40; Anthony Marshall 38; Anthony Bennett 36.

Last Ten: 7-3.

The Skinny: Rebels lost a tough one to New Mexico in Mountain West tittle game, but with dynamic players like Anthony Bennett and Mike Moser, don't be surprised if they go deep.

 

California

Berkeley, 20-11.

Nickname: Golden Bears. Coach: Mike Montgomery.

Conference: Pacific 12. Bid: At large.

Region: East. Seed: No. 12.

Tournament Record: 19-17, 17 years. Last appearance: 2012.

Scoring: Team (67.5); Allen Crabbe 18.7; Justin Cobbs 15.5; Richard Solomon 8.4; David Kravish 8.1.

Rebounds: Team (37.2); David Kravish 6.9; Richard Solomon 6.6; Allen Crabbe 6.0; Tyrone Wallace 4.5.

Assists/Turnovers: Team (14.1/12.5); Justin Cobbs 4.8/2.9; Tyrone Wallace 2.6/1.7; Allen Crabbe 2.6/2.4; Brandon Smith 2.0/1.0.

3-pointers: Team (.304); Allen Crabbe 81; Tyrone Wallace 30; Justin Cobbs 26.

Last Ten: 7-3.

The Skinny: Upset loss to Utah in Pac-12 tournament apparently didn't hurt the Bears. Opening game against UNLV might.

___

Syracuse

Syracuse, N.Y., 26-9.

Nickname: Orangemen. Coach: Jim Boeheim.

Conference: Big East. Bid: At large.

Region: East. Seed: No. 4.

Tournament Record: 56-35, 35 years. Last appearance: 2012.

Scoring: Team (71.3); C.J. Fair 14.4; James Southerland 13.9; Brandon Triche 13.8; Michael Carter-Williams 12.0.

Rebounds: Team (38.7); C.J. Fair 7.1; James Southerland 5.2; Michael Carter-Williams 4.8; DaJuan Christmas 4.7.

Assists/Turnovers: Team (14.5/12.6); Michael Carter-Williams 7.7/3.5; Brandon Triche 3.6/2.7.

3-pointers: Team (.334); James Southerland 50; Brandon Triche 39; Michael Carter-Williams 39.

Last Ten: 5-5.

The Skinny: Ugly finish to final Big East tourney, but these Orange can play and Jim Boeheim is one of the best minds in the game.

 

Montana

Missoula, 25-6.

Nickname: Grizzlies. Coach: Wayne Tinkle.

Conference: Big Sky. Bid: Big Sky champion.

Region: East. Seed: No. 13.

Tournament Record: 2-10, 9 years. Last appearance: 2012.

Scoring: Team (71.1); Mathias Ward 14.8; Kareem Jamar 14.5; Will Cherry 13.9.

Rebounds: Team (31.2); Kareem Jamar 6.0; Will Cherry 4.2.

Assists/Turnovers: Team (12.9/12.1); Will Cherry 4.1/2.5; Kareem Jamar 4.1/2.8.

3-pointers: Team (.385); Jordan Gregory 41; Mike Weisner 39; Kareem Jamar 37.

Last Ten: 8-2.

The Skinny: With Will Cherry and Kareem Jamar in the backcourt, don't be surprised if the Big Sky champs give Syracuse some trouble.

___

Butler

Indianapolis, 26-8.

Nickname: Bulldogs. Coach: Brad Stevens.

Conference: Atlantic 10. Bid: At large.

Region: East. Seed: No. 6.

Tournament Record: 18-18, 11 years. Last appearance: 2011.

Scoring: Team (69.3); Rotnei Clarke 16.7; Andrew Smith 11.1; Roosevelt Jones 10.1; Kellen Dunham 9.9; Khyle Marshall 9.9.

Rebounds: Team (36.6); Roosevelt Jones 5.7; Andrew Smith 5.7; Kameron Woods 4.8; Khyle Marshall 4.7.

Assists/Turnovers: Team (13.1/13.4); Roosevelt Jones 3.5/2.9; Rotnei Clark 2.7/2.9.

3-pointers: Team (.348); Rotnei Clarke 108; Kellen Dunham 56.

Last Ten: 6-4.

The Skinny: After two NCAA championship game appearances, never, ever count out a Brad Stevens' team.

 

Bucknell

Lewisburg, Pa., 28-5.

Nickname: Bison. Coach: Dave Paulsen.

Conference: Patriot League. Bid: Patriot champion.

Region: East. Seed: No. 11.

Tournament Record: 2-5, 5 years. Last NCAA Appearance: 2011.

Scoring: Team (67.3); Mike Muscala 19.0; Cameron Ayers 12.5; Bryson Johnson 11.1; Joe Willman 10.38.

Rebounds: Team (36.2); Mike Muscala 11.29; Joe Willman 5.9; Cameron Ayers 4.07.

Assists/Turnovers: Team (13.4/9.5); Bryson Johnson 2.4/1.1; Mike Muscala 2.34/1.7; Cameron Ayers 2.0/0.9.

3-pointers: Team (.360); Bryson Johnson 71; Cameron Ayers 50.

Last Ten: 9-1.

The Skinny: Patriot League champions hoping to find upset magic like they did in knocking off Kansas in 2005.

___

Marquette

Milwaukee, 23-8.

Nickname: Golden Eagles. Coach: Buzz Williams.

Conference: Big East. Bid: At large.

Region: East. Seed: No. 3.

Tournament Record: 38-31, 30 years. Last NCAA Appearance: 2012.

Scoring: Team (69.0); Vander Blue 14.3; Davante Gardner 11.5; Jamil Wilson 9.4; Junior Cadougan 8.7.

Rebounds: Team (35.0); Davante Gardner 4.9; Trent Lockett 4.7; Jamil Wilson 4.7.

Assists/Turnovers: Team (14.4/13.6); Junior Cadougan 4.1/2.5; Trent Lockett 1.9/2.0; Vander Blue 1.9/2.2.

3-pointers: Team (.301); Vander Blue 33; Jamil Wilson 30.

Last Ten: 7-3.

The Skinny: Co-champions in Big East after going 14-4 in one of the nation's toughest conferences. Not bad for a team that lost Big East player of the year Jae Crowder from last year.

 

Davidson

Davidson, N.C., 26-7.

Nickname: Wildcats. Coach: Bob McKillop.

Conference: Southern. Bid: Southern champion.

Region: East. Seed: No. 14.

Tournament Record: 8-12, 11 years. Last appearance: 2012.

Scoring: Team (73.7); Jake Cohen 14.8; De'Mon Brooks 13.8; Nik Cochran 9.8; Chris Czerapowicz 9.2.

Rebounds: Team (33.8); De'Mon Brooks 6.2; Jake Cohen 5.5; Chris Czerapowicz 5.1.

Assists/Turnovers: Team (14.0/10.9); JP Kuhlman 3.6/1.6; Nik Cochran 3.4/1.9; Tom Droney 2.1/0.8.

3-pointers: Team (.369); Chris Czerapowicz 59; Tyler Kalinoski 54; Nik Cochran 49; Jake Cohen 36.

Last Ten: 10-0.

The Skinny: Jake Cohen is the first two-time SoCon player of the year since Stephen Curry. Can he lead the Wildcats on another wild run?

___

Illinois

Champaign, 22-12.

Nickname: Fighting Illini. Coach: John Groce.

Conference: Big ten. Bid: At large.

Region: Eats. Seed: No. 7.

Tournament Record: 39-30, 29 years. Last NCAA Appearance: 2011.

Scoring: Team (69.1); Brandon Paul 16.6; D.J. Richardson 12.4; Tracy Abrams 10.6.

Rebounds: Team (33.5); Nnanna Egwu 4.6; Brandon Paul 4.4; Joseph Bertrand 4.2.

Assists/Turnovers: Team (10.2/11.5); Tracy Abrams 3.34/2.68; Brandon Paul 2.8/2.78.

3-pointers: Team (.325); D.J. Richardson 78; Brandon Paul 74; Tyler Griffey 38; Tracy Abrams 30.

Last Ten: 7-3.

The Skinny: Illini sort of flew under the radar this season, but are a dangerous team. Being one of two teams to beat top-ranked Gonzaga — in Spokane, no less — should prove that.

 

Colorado

Boulder, 21-11.

Nickname: Buffaloes. Coach: Tad Boyle.

Conference: Pac-12. Bid: At large.

Region: East. Seed: No. 10.

Tournament Record: 10-13, 13 years. Last appearance: 2012.

Scoring: Team (68.2); Spencer Dinwiddie 15.6; Askia Booker 12.4; Andre Robderson 10.9; Josh Scott 10.3.

Rebounds: Team (37.2); Andre Roberson 11.3; Josh Scott 5.5; Xavier Johnson 4.8.

Assists/Turnovers: Team (10.0/13.3); Spencer Dinwiddie 3.0/2.2; Askia Booker 2.2/2.1.

3-pointers: Team (.347); Spencer Dinwiddie 47; Askia Booker 45.

Last Ten: 6-4.

The Skinny: Colorado is making its first back-to-back trips in 50 years (1961-62 & 1962-63).

___

Miami

Coral Gables, Fla., 27-6.

Nickname: Hurricanes. Coach: Jim Larranga.

Conference: Atlantic Coast. Bid: ACC champion.

Region: East. Seed: No. 2.

Tournament Record: 4-6, 6 years. Last appearance: 2008.

Scoring: Team (69.9); Shane Larkin 14.6; Kenny Kadji 13.3; Durand Scott 13.2; Trey McKinney Jones 9.4.

Rebounds: Team (35.8); Reggie Johnson 7.0; Kenny Kadji 7.0; Julian Gamble 4.9.

Assists/Turnovers: Team (11.3/10.9); Shane Larkin 4.4/2.3; Durand Scott 2.6/2.0.

3-pointers: Team (.358); Shane Larkin 63; Trey McKinney Jones 53; Kenny Kadji 45.

Last Ten: 7-3.

The Skinny: The Hurricanes were one of college hoops' biggest surprise this season. They also happen to be really good, sweeping the ACC regular-season and tournament titles.

 

Pacific

Stockton, Calif., 22-12.

Nickname: Tigers. Coach: Bob Thomason.

Conference: Big West. Bid: Big West champion.

Region: East. Seed: No. 15

Tournament Record: 4-9, 8 years. Last NCAA Appearance: 2006.

Scoring: Team (67.5); Lorenzo McCloud 11.4; Travis Fulton 9.1; Sama Taku 8.3.

Rebounds: Team (32.3); Travis Fulton 4.0; Khalil Kelley 3.6; Colin Beatty 3.5.

Assists/Turnovers: Team (14.7/11.1); Lorenzo McCloud 4.0/2.1; Rodrigo De Souza 2.0/0.8.

3-pointers: Team (.383); Travis Fulton 29; Sama Taku 28; Colin Beatty 26.

Last Ten: 8-2.

The Skinny: Coach Bob Thomason going out on top after winning Big West. Looking to add some gravy.

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Author:

John Keim

Staff Reporter - Washington Redskins
The Washington Examiner
Author:

Craig Stouffer

Staff writer - sports
The Washington Examiner
Author:

Kevin Dunleavy

Staff writer - sports
The Washington Examiner