The East Region is loaded with good teams and even though many would love to see a clash between the top two seeds to go to the Final Four, there are plenty of others that could ruin that matchup as we progress through the NCAA Tournament.
The college basketball odds to win the East have been shifting around quite a bit as bettors get their action in, so keep an eye on the lines.
Indiana (+110) was the preseason No. 1, they won the regular-season title in the Big Ten, but then the Hoosiers fell to Wisconsin in the conference tournament and there have been a few instances this season in which they didn’t look like a No. 1 seed. However, the combination of Cody Zeller and Victor Oladipo is going to be a lot for any team to handle. No. 2 Miami (+250) basically came out of nowhere this season to take both titles in the ACC, and the best attribute that the Hurricanes have their confidence; led by Shane Larkin, Miami thinks they can beat any team in the country, similar to their football powerhouses of yesteryear.
Don’t forget about No. 4 Syracuse (+450), who were up and down in the Big East, but that conference tends to do that to you. The Orangemen still feature the 2-3 zone which gives so many teams problems, but if they’re not hitting their shots, things can quickly go downhill for ‘Cuse. Still, at their current price, if they get hot….why not?
No. 5 UNLV (+1200) is a very interesting team to look at, and Anthony Bennett has emerged as one of the best forwards in the country. The Rebels have no fear and that is a trait that will help them in the NCAA Tournament. No. 6 Butler (+1250) didn’t have great numbers this season and didn’t even win the Atlantic-10, but given their recent history in the NCAA Tournament, they’re going to be a scary team for someone to face in the Sweet Sixteen and after that, anything can happen.
No. 3 Marquette (+1500) and No. 8 North Carolina State (+1500) were overshadowed by other teams in their conferences (the Big East and the ACC, respectively). The Golden Eagles finished in a three-way tie for the regular-season title in the Big East, but an early loss to Notre Dame in the conference tournament has thrown some people off. The Wolf Pack have been known to give teams some trouble and they beat then-No. 1 ranked Duke at one point, but they’re wildly inconsistent. Still, they’re a team that lives off scoring in the post, which usually means high-percentage shots and if they can get those, NC State could be a problem.
This is going to be a fun region to watch and whoever emerges from the East, they’re going to be a bit banged up. Most of these teams are physical and can beat you down at both ends of the court.
Indiana is the easy pick, and even though Miami or Syracuse will give them a run at some point (possibly even Marquette), the Hoosiers have been waiting for this time of year to shine and should be your pick on the betting lines to win the East Region.