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Your Guide To The 2019 NCAA Men’s Tournament: East region

East region

Top seed outlook: According to this FiveThirtyEight model, top seed Duke has got the best chance of advancing to the Final Four at the entire field (53 percent likelihood ) in addition to the best odds of winning the national title (19 percent).
The Blue Devils are led by four soon-to-be first-round draft picks, including Zion Williamson, one of the most significant talents in recent memory. Duke is a walking highlight reel to the offensive end and far stingier on protection than many may realize. This is among Mike Krzyzewski’s most-balanced teams and jobs to be his first since 2010 to position within the top six in Ken Pomeroy’s adjusted offense and defense metrics. That team won the national title.1
This group lacks, however, is signature across the perimeter. Duke shoots a grisly 30.2 percent from beyond the arc, the worst mark one of tournament-qualifying teams. In an offensive era increasingly dominated by distance and perimeter scoring, then the Blue Devils could match the trend punishing the rim.
On the opposite side of the area is that the winner of the Big Ten conference tournament, Michigan State. As their benefit, the No. 2 Spartans have the honor of a possible matchup from the top overall seed in the Elite Eight. Head coach Tom Izzo was none too happy. The Spartans have been pummeled by injuries but remain among the most balanced teams in the nation, ranking within the top eight in Pomeroy’s adjusted offense and protection metrics.
Sneaky Final Four pick: No. 4 Virginia Tech. Directed by the celebrity pairing of Kerry Blackshear Jr. and Nickeil Alexander-Walker, the Hokies are a balanced squad which ranks one of Pomeroy’s Top 25 teams on both defense and offense. Although they have dropped eight times, only two of these were double-digits. Virginia Tech also includes a not-altogether-unfriendly attraction, with exceptionally winnable opening games against Saint Louis (87 percent) and the Mississippi State-Liberty winner (63 percent) before most probably running to Duke’s juggernaut. We provide the Hokies a decent 25 percent chance from the Blue Devils — along with a 54 percent chance against whoever emerges from the bottom of the region if they do manage to knock off Duke.
Don’t wager : No. 3 LSU. With trainer Will Wade embroiled in a pay-for-play scandal and his group likely overvalued as a 3-seed, the Bayou Bengals may be ripe for an upset in this particular tournament. They ranked only 18th in Pomeroy’s ratings — about the quality of a No. 5 seed — thanks in large part to a defense that didn’t even crack the nation’s top 60 in corrected efficiency. (This showed up in the 51 second-half things that they permitted to Florida while losing their first match of the SEC tournament.) Their NCAA course is not very easy, either: Yale is no pushover for a No. 14 seed, nor will be possible second-round competitor Maryland, also we all give the Tigers a mere 26 percent likelihood of beating Michigan State if the teams meet in the Sweet Sixteen. This is easily the lowest-rated top-three seed within the field.
Cinderella see: No. 11 Belmont. The East is top-heavy, with Duke and Michigan State soaking up most of the Last Four chances. But the Bruins are still an intriguing lower-seeded team because of an impressive crime led by do-everything swingman Dylan Windler. According to Pomeroy, Belmont ranks 20th in the nation in adjusted offensive efficiency (and second nationally in raw points per game behind Gonzaga), while Windler was among only three players nationally to average 20 points and 10 rebounds per game. Even though the Bruins do need to acquire a play-in game against Temple only to make the area of 64 — we provide them a 59 percent chance — they would have a very aggressive 39 percent likelihood of bothering Maryland in the first round and a much better opportunity from the LSU/Yale winner.
Player to watch: Cassius Winston, Michigan State
Three decades back, zzo said he thought his 6-foot-1 freshman could be Michigan State’s best passer because Magic Johnson. The Spartans’ do-everything point guard — one of the greatest facilitators in the nation — is supporting his coach’s comment. Only Murray State’s Ja Morant, a surefire lottery pick in this year’s draft, has a greater assist rate than Winston (46.0 percent). And behind Winston, the Spartans help on the highest speed of field goals in the country.
The junior also happens to be Izzo’s top scorer and among the country’s greatest perimeter threats, shooting better than 40% from beyond the arc. As injuries have relentlessly sapped the Spartans of the on-court creation, Winston has elevated his game to compensate. As he put it to The Athletic,"that I must do a lot for my team to win."
Likeliest first-round upsets: No. 9 Central Florida over No. 8 VCU (47 percent); No. 11 Belmont* over No. 6 Maryland (39 percent); No. 10 Minnesota over No. 7 Louisville (34 percent)

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