As to be expected, the Villanova Wildcats are a heavy favorite to win the East Region. Is Villanova in line for a second Final Four appearance in the past 3 seasons? But are there any challengers to Nova’s East Region dominance? Let’s look into it!
2018 March Madness East Region Picks
The March Madness East Region Favorite: #1 Villanova
The East Region doesn’t appear as loaded as the other 3 regions. Villanova should have an easier time of it than Xavier, Virginia, or Kansas. With that being written, this Nova team doesn’t in almost any way resemble the squad that won the National Championship in 2016. That Villanova team had the fantastic Josh Hart and Kris Jenkins on the same squad.
Hart and Jenkins are no longer at Villanova. The big player for the Wildcats this season is Mikal Bridges. The other big player is Jalen Brunson. Bridges and Brunson combined for 56 points, 7 assists, and 8 boards in Villanova’s 76 to 66 win over Providence.
Brunson’s’ and Bridges’ brilliance was on full display in that game. That could be the reason to play against Villanova winning the East Region, though. Will Brunson and Bridges be brilliant in every game in the East? If not, can anyone else step up for Nova?
The March Madness East Region Smart Pick: #4 Wichita State
The Shockers have dropped games to Cincinnati and Houston in 2 of their last 4. If you’re a Wichita State fan, you might be worried. Don’t be. Wichita State played one of the toughest early-season schedules in recent memory.
The Shockers beat Charleston, California, Marquette, Baylor, Oklahoma State, and Oklahoma before starting AAC play. Wichita State also has one of those possible special NCAA Tournament players in Shaq Morris. Morris has scored in double-figures in Wichita State’s last 9 games. He’s recorded a double-double in 2 of the last 9 games. He’s recorded at least 8 rebounds in 6 of the last 9 games.
Morris could have a special NCAA tournament.
The March Madness East Region Longshot Pick: #9 Alabama
Kentucky absolutely dominated Alabama in the SEC Basketball Tournament Championship. The Crimson Tide lost 63 to 86 to surging UK. In the SEC Semifinals, Bama upset Auburn 81 to 63 as a +6.5 dog.
How did Alabama do it? Collin Sexton is one of the best point guards in college basketball. During the NCAA Tournament, your guards must step it up. If Sexton does, who knows? Bama might pull off the upset.