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NCAA Tournament East Region breakdown

By The Chicago Tribune Published: March 13, 2011
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Get to know No. 1

With a cast of veterans and a stellar freshman, Ohio State (32-2) didn't crumble under heavy expectations. Center Jared Sullinger's wide body and smooth passing ability makes him a nightmare for opponents. The best Buckeyes big man since Greg Oden, Sullinger averages 17.3 points and 10.3 rebounds per game. Ohio State is far more balanced this season than last season's Sweet 16 team. Four players average double digits. Jon Diebler is a lights-out outside threat (49.7 3-point percentage) to complement Sullinger, and Aaron Craft has proven to be a solid point guard with defensive skills.

Cinderella

Georgia. All the critics bemoaning the Bulldogs' bid should fuel the team. Georgia has three victories against top-50 RPI teams, which is one more than North Carolina can claim. They must get by Washington in the first round and possibly North Carolina in the second.

Best first-round matchup

No. 8 George Mason vs. No. 9 Villanova. The deep and experienced, tempo-controlled Patriots won 16 straight before losing to VCU in the Colonial tournament. Slumping Villanova has lost five straight and seven of its last nine.

The buzz

How will North Carolina respond to losing by 18 points to Duke in the ACC title game? The No. 2 Tar Heels are good at proving critics wrong. They may go as far as freshman guard Harrison Barnes (40 points against Clemson) takes them. … Coach Buzz Williams is 3-for-3 in NCAA tournament trips since taking over for Tom Crean at 11th-seeded Marquette. … No. 13 seed Princeton is looking for its first tournament win since 1998. … No. 5 seed West Virginia and No. 4 Kentucky could face off in the second round, a rematch of the Mountaineers' Elite Eight upset over then-top-seeded Kentucky last season.


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