This article is part of our NCAA Tournament Preview series.
EAST REGION PREVIEW
The East Region could be a bracket buster for many. The general feel seems to be doubting the top-seed Villanova Wildcats, discrediting the second-seeded Virginia Cavaliers due to their style and late-season results and a less than star studded rest of the pack that includes the No. 3 Oklahoma Sooners and No. 4 Louisville Cardinals, both of which had poor showings in their conference tournaments. As such, mid-major Northern Iowa has emerged as a popular pick for a deep run. Defense reigns supreme in the East, which should lead to a lot of close games, and unpredictable results.
No. 1 Villanova - Although there might not be a household name on the Wildcats' roster, the results speak for themselves, and Villanova enters the tournament 32-2 and riding a 15-game winning streak. The Cats are a deep and experienced team that is poised to avenge the second-round loss they experienced last year. Led by Darrun Hilliard's 14.0 points, Villanova boasts six players who average at least 9.2 points. They often use four guards to spread out opponents, with Josh Hart, conference co-player of the year Ryan Arcidiacono and Dylan Ennis all capable three-point shooters. Villanova made an astonishing 306 three-pointers this season, an average of nine a game. They defend the perimeter well, and aren't a slouch on the interior with 6-foot-7 JayVaughn Pinkson and 6-11 Daniel Ochefu. The only knock on Villanova is its lack of quality