clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

NCAA Tournament 2015: A way too early guide to Villanova's region, the East

New, comments

Some quick notes on Villanova's path to the Final Four.

Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

If you're an optimist, there is a lot to like about Villanova's placement in the East region of the NCAA Tournament. Villanova got a perceived weak 4-seed in Louisville on their side of the bracket and amongst the 'cinderellas' are plenty of surprises instead of a mid-major who dominated their conference. Plus, the travel should be light with trips to Pittsburgh and Syracuse if the Wildcats can keep winning.

Here's a quick look at every team in the region.

No. 1 Villanova Wildcats, 32-2, Big East regular season, tournament champion

KenPom: 5

What They're About: Kings of the Universe, obviously.

No. 2 Virginia Cavaliers, 29-3, ACC regular season champion

KenPom: 4

What They're About: Tony Bennett's team is know for their 'Pack-Line' defense which is among the nation's elite. Star guard Justin Anderson has been out for a while with a hand injury and is just coming back. Their offense isn't something to marvel at, but like Villanova they've got a lot of guys who can do damage.

No. 3 Oklahoma Sooners, 22-10, Big 12

KenPom: 9

What They're About: If you don't know him yet, you'll be hearing a lot about Big 12 Player of the Year Buddy Hield. He's one of the best guards in the country and Houston-transfer TaShawn Thomas has made a big impact on the frontline. They were bounced by North Dakota State in the first round a year ago, so they've got a lot of prove.

No. 4 Louisville Cardinals, 34-8, ACC

KenPom: 18

What They're About: Surprisingly (given their history) Rick Pitino's team has struggled for offense all year long. Montrezl Harrell can take over a game and Terry Rozier is vastly underrated but there's not much else past that. The defense is still among the best in the country, per KenPom.

No. 5 Northern Iowa Panthers, 30-3, MVC regular season, tournament champion

KenPom: 12

What They're About: Name recognition hurts them, but they're among the best teams in the country. Perhaps not the elite group, but they're Top-10 material. Their defense is the most impressive thing (just 54.1 ppg allowed) but Seth Tuttle is a guy that can put a team on his back offensively.

No. 6 Providence Friars, 22-11, Big East

KenPom: 28

What They're About: Co-Big East Player of the Year Kris Dunn can be a little Jekyll-and-Hyde. He can score seemingly at will and make your jaw drop with a pass but he turns the ball over a ton. LaDontae Henton will be out to prove himself in his final go-round. They've got a lot of size but are a bit underwhelming on the front line.

No. 7 Michigan State Spartans, 23-11, Big Ten

KenPom: 17

What They're About: Tom Izzo did it again. An underwhelming regular season made Sparty an afterthought but they took Wisconsin to the wire in the B1G title game and look to be hitting their stride at the right time. Branden Dawson is the star but Travis Trice and Denzel Valentine are the 'onions' guys.

No. 8 North Carolina State Wolfpack, 20-13, ACC

KenPom: 38

What They're About: Remember when Villanova was after Lennard Freeman? He's leading the team in rebounding. Mark Gottfried will mostly rely on the three-headed monster at guard - Trevor Lacey, Ralston Turner and Anthony 'Cat' Barber are all averaging double-digits in scoring.

No. 9 LSU Tigers, 22-10, SEC

KenPom: 43

What They're About: There's no denying the talent at Johnny Jones' disposal but it's fair to question whether the talent is ready for primetime. Can your best win be a loss? The Tigers nearly upset Kentucky in early February. Jarrell Martin and Jordan Mickey form one of the best 1-2 frontcourt punches in the country.

No. 10 Georgia Bulldogs, 21-11, SEC

KenPom: 36

What They're About: Another team loaded with balance - Marcus Thornton, Kenny Gaines, Nemanja Djurisic and Charles Mann all average double-digits in scoring and a J.J. Frazier is right behind them at 9.8 ppg. Unfortunately the depth really ends there, and that could be what dooms the Bulldogs for a first-round exit against a March veteran like Tom Izzo.

No. 11 Boise State Broncos, 25-8, Mountain West regular season co-champion

KenPom: 39

What They're About: Mountain West Player of the Year Derrick Marks is special but his sidekick Anthony Drmic was lost to a season-ending injury. An early exit in the conference tournament was disappointing, but they've been one of the hottest teams in the country over the last 8 weeks.

No. 11 Dayton Flyers, 25-8, Atlantic-10

KenPom: 40

What They're About: Archie Miller probably deserves to be a finalist for Coach of the Year considering everything that has happened. Devon Scott and Jalen Robinson were suspended, leaving nobody taller than 6'6" on the roster. Somehow, they keep winning. I wouldn't bet against them on Wednesday night's play-in game.

No. 12 Wyoming Cowboys, 22-9, Mountain West tournament champion

KenPom: 102

What They're About: Wyoming is classic 'bid-stealer' (and probably the reason why Colorado State is left sitting at home). Wins over Utah State, Boise State and San Diego State will have this team walking on air. That's a scary proposition for Northern Iowa. Expect a low scoring affair as both teams are among the nation's elite on defense.

No. 13 UC Irvine Anteaters, 21-12, Big West tournament champion

KenPom: 94

What They're About: Best mascot in the entire tournament? Has to be. 7'6" Mamadou Ndiaye should be reason enough to check out these guys play, but he's a bit too raw to really give Montrezl Harrell any real problems.

No. 14 Albany Great Danes, 24-8, America East regular season and tournament champion

KenPom: 131

What They're About: You never want to see a team like this as your first-round opponent. The Danes romped through the America East this year, but size could be an issue. Sam Rowley and Evan Singletary can fill it up, and they've got the experience factor (third straight year dancing) on their side.

No. 15 Belmont Bruins, 22-10, Ohio Valley tournament champion

KenPom: 149

What They're About: The Bruins ended Murray State's 25-game winning streak with a crazy shot to win in the OVC title game. They run a 4-guard offense, so expect a lot of three's (especially against Virginia's pack-line defense). Craig Bradshaw and Evan Bradds are the main guys to watch.

No. 16 Lafayette Leopards, 20-12, Patriot League tournament champion

KenPom: 195

What They're About: Fran O'Hanlon is dancing! The Leopards are back for the first time since 2000. A relatively balanced attack is led by star forward Dan Trist (17.3 ppg, 6.7 rpg). It's a veteran group, and they'll be looking to shock the world. But they won't.