The East Region has a number of dangerous teams as No. 1 seed Villanova will have a difficult road in getting out of this group.
The Big East Tournament champions will be the favorites thanks to its experienced roster, and a Player of the Year candidate in Jalen Brunson. Villanova also has a lot of really good teams to contend with. Purdue, Texas Tech, Wichita State, West Virginia and Florida have all shown themselves as being really tough at times this season as the top six seeds could all conceivably make a run to San Antonio.
Purdue is the No. 2 seed as they face No. 15 seed Cal State Fullerton. The Boilermakers could get a potential matchup against No. 7 seed Arkansas or No. 10 seed Butler in the second round as Purdue already knocked off the Bulldogs during the regular season.
No. 3 seed Texas Tech has serious potential if senior guard Keenan Evans gets hot as they’ll be a team to watch in this region. An all-Texas matchup with No. 14 seed Stephen F. Austin won’t be easy in the first round, however. If Texas Tech gets by, they could face No. 6 seed Florida in the second round in a must-see matchup.
The Gators get the winner of the First Four matchup between No. 11 seeds St. Bonaventure and UCLA as both of those teams feature potent backcourt scoring options. Florida has huge boom-or-bust potential based on its inconsistent perimeter shooting as the Gators are the wild card of this East Region.
Virginia Tech and Alabama will be a really fun 8/9 matchup in the first round. Both of these teams are also capable of giving Villanova a major scare in the second round. I certainly wouldn’t want to face Collin Sexton with the way he played in the SEC Tournament last week for Alabama and Virginia Tech owns a road win at Virginia.
No. 4 seed Wichita State will take on a hot No. 13 seed Marshall that will want to push the tempo. No. 5 seed West Virginia gets the Ohio Valley Conference champions in No. 12 seed Murray State as the Racers have some intriguing backcourt pieces that could make that a game. If Wichita State and West Virginia both advance, that potential second-round matchup would be an absolute war.