Welcome to the 2021 March Madness coverage presented by Vendetta Sports Media! For other region previews, click below!
West Region | South Region | Midwest Region
No. 1 Seed Overview: Michigan Wolverines
Michigan surprised a lot of college basketball fans this year. They didn’t really have any hype around them in the preseason, then stormed out to win the Big Ten regular season title. However, for all their dominance, the Wolverines have lost three of their last five heading into March Madness. Prior to that, they had suffered just one loss. Their recent skid and the loss of Isaiah Livers to injury raise questions about just how far Michigan can go in the NCAA Tournament.
Overall, they will face a tough second-round opponent in the winner of LSU-St. Bonaventure. No. 4 Florida State is an athletic team that could present matchup problems in the Sweet Sixteen. No. 2 Alabama and No. 3 Texas present their own cases to win the East Region. Juwan Howard has done great things with his young team this season and Hunter Dickinson has been a phenomenal addition. The Wolverines have Final Four talent, but the question is whether or not they’ll capitalize on it considering how the end of the season went.
Sleeper Team to Win Region: No. 7 UConn Huskies
Savvy college basketball fans will realize that UConn is severely under-seeded this year. Once they got James Bouknight back from injury, their play dramatically improved, getting them up to No. 16 in KenPom. A UConn-Alabama matchup in the second round would be a masterclass in guard play. Although they fell to Creighton in the Big East semifinals, the Huskies are a dangerous team that should not be overlooked.
Double-Digit Seed Most Likely to Make Noise: No. 11 Michigan State Spartans
I mean, come on. It’s Tom Izzo in March Madness. Although Michigan State were expected to be much better than they are right now, they’ve started to put some things together late in the season. While they are a team that was embarrassed by the Maryland Terrapins in the Big Ten Tournament, they also are a team that was able to beat Michigan the game before.
The Spartans will have to play their way in by defeating UCLA in the First Four. After that, are they capable of beating BYU? Absolutely. If things go really well, could they cause problems for Texas? For sure. Personally, I’m not super high on MSU, but of all the double-digit seeds in this region, I think they have the best shot to make things interesting.
Player to Watch: Honestly, Take Your Pick
The East Region has a great collection of individual talents that should be really fun to watch. No. 8 LSU’s Cameron Thomas is one of the top scorers in all of Division I. No. 7 UConn plays exponentially better when star James Bouknight is on the floor. No. 4 Florida State has a future lottery pick in Scottie Barnes. Freshman center Hunter Dickinson has put the No. 1 Michigan Wolverines in a great position to succeed. Jahvon Quinerly and John Petty feature for No. 2 Alabama. Matt Coleman just scored 30 points to lead No. 3 Texas to the Big 12 Championship title.
So honestly, take your pick. There’s a ton of fantastic players to watch in the East Region.
Most Intriguing First-Round Matchup: No. 8 LSU Tigers vs. No. 9 St. Bonaventure Bonnies
LSU’s high-powered offense vs. St. Bonaventure’s hard-nosed defense. The Tigers gave Alabama a real run for their money in a back-and-forth SEC Championship. The Bonnies came out on top of the Atlantic 10 Conference the same day and have been a trendy mid-major team all season long. Both have been playing great basketball lately, and it will be a real battle to see who gets to the Round of 32.
The East is one region I could see turning into an absolute trainwreck. Lots of sleeper teams and star players in this region will make for a lot of potential upsets. Despite how good Michigan and Alabama have been this year, my knee-jerk prediction is that neither of them will make the Elite Eight. Texas head coach Shaka Smart has done it before. I like his chances to do it again.
Region Final Prediction: No. 3 Texas Longhorns over No. 4 Florida State Seminoles
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