Best Teams Picks for the East Region of March Madness
The East is the best. They are a slew of teams that are contenders for the title. We have No. 1 overall seed and national title favorite Duke, No. 2 Michigan State – the Big Ten tournament champ and No. 3 LSU, SEC regular-season champs.
I’m analyzing the East Regional, pointing out the live underdogs, Cinderella sleeper, the best and worst ATS team, and the Over/Under value.
Ahh, the Blue Devils are National Champion favorites to win at +220 at FanDuel Sportsbooks. They have the top two NBA prospects, the greatest coaching staff of all time — I know debatable — and they have an easy journey to Minneapolis. This team will be hard to beat with the talent on this team.
An underdog to look out for is the Central Florida Knights, who pull off some of KenPom’s “Four Factors,” including No. 58 in adjusted offensive efficiency and No. 36 in adjusted defensive efficiency. FanDuel Sportsbooks have UCF as a +5,550 long shot to win the East, but it’s possible with an offense with a good pace and a defense that works well together, not to mention its star Center, 7-foot-6 Tacko Fall. Yes, 7-foot-6 you heard it right. Keep an eye on this team.
The Final Four saw Loyola-Chicago make it a run for it, so they could be another Cinderella story. They have an excellent offense that’s consistent with its 3-point shooting, and a defense that knows how to ball, only allowing an average 60.8 points per game. Liberty has a +10,000 value to win the East Regional with a possible matchup with Duke in the Sweet 16.
Best ATS Team:
Michigan State finished the season with a 24-10 ATS record, including a 2-1 record in the Big Ten Tournament. At one point, making a comeback win against Michigan as a 1.5-point underdog. The Spartans open as 18.5-point chalk versus Bradley (opened -20) but haven’t covered once in its last six NCAA Tournament games.
Worst ATS Team:
During the A-10 Tournament, the Saint Louis Billikens were looking on the outside looking in of the NCAA Tournament. But a surge of energy in the postseason landed them in the top 68. Saint Louis is 16-18-1 ATS this season — cough, cough, that’s the worse in the East regional — but they have improved going 7-3-1 ATS in the past 10 games, not to mention, covering the last three straight games. The Billikens are getting 10.5 points as a No. 13 seed versus No. 4 Virginia Tech in the opening round.
Best Over Team:
The LSU Tigers are 19-12-1 in the Over/Under ranking. They have topped 61 percent of its games this season, and are averaging 81 points games, but allowing a whopping 73 points. Head Coach Will Wade is part of a federal investigation, so he’s suspended, leaving interim coach Tony Benford to take the reins heading into March Madness.
Best Under Team:
The Duke Blue Devils are 9-23-1 Over/Under, which is below the total 72 percent of the time. Also, they’re allowing 68 points a game. You can thank powerhouses offensive players, Zion Williamson and R.J. Barrett. Duke has decided to take the Under and it’s a good choice. They’re not shooting outside the line very well, averaging 7.3 3-pointers a game.
Shortest Travel in the Round 64:
Only having to travel three and a half hours, can you say home-field advantage. Those Blue Devils are traveling from Chapel Hill to Columbia, South Carolina for its opening round matchup of the winner of the NC Central and North Dakota State. Duke has some loyal fans, as its capacity crowds usually travel will.
Longest Travel in the Round 64:
From the East coast to the West, Liberty will travel 2,751 miles, while right behind them is fellow Virginia team, Virginia Tech traveling 2,674 miles. Virginia to San Jose, California is a long trip. The toughest part is the No.4-seeded VT Hokies start its game at 9:57 p.m. ET Friday night. That’s almost 2 hours later than its latest tip off this season, 8 p.m. ET.
Players to Watch:
Of course, Duke’s roster has players to watch, but also keep an eye out for Yale player, Miye Oni in the East Region. Averaging 17.6 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 3.5 assists at 6-foot-6, he ranks just behind Duke’s R.J. Barrett in KenPom’s offensive rating. Oni leads a Yale offense, averaging 81 points and reportedly drew 20 pro scouts to the Ivy League tournament. Watch out.