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The Bigger East: A look at Villanova’s region

Connecticut Pittsburgh Basketball

Perhaps no team benefited more from where the selection committee placed them than the Villanova Wildcats.  The team will not have to travel anywhere for the first two rounds as its games are in Philadelphia.  If they do advance to the Sweet 16, the flight to Boston will take just about an hour.

Although, the travel is good, the opponents are far more difficult.  Here is a brief look at the other top seeds in Villanova’s region.

1) Pittsburgh:  The Wildcats know a lot about the Panthers as they beat them in their only meeting this season.  Pittsburgh was ranked first on two separate occasions this season and has been considered on of the beat teams in the country since the first rankings came out.  They should not have a problem making the Elite 8.

2) Duke:  Fresh off their ACC title, Duke may be peaking at the right time.  Although they have a lot of talent and a lot of people who can shoot the basketball, this is far from one of the most athletic teams in the tournament.  However, don’t expect an early exit like the last two seasons.

4) Xavier:  Many felt that the Musketeers were over seeded in the bracket, but either way this is still a dangerous team in the tournament.  Four of their top scorers return from last year’s Elite 8 run, and their experience will make them a tough opponent for most team’s the field.

5) Florida State:  Although they finished strong, the Seminoles may have more flaws than most higher seeds in the tournament.  For starters, they only have one player, Toney Douglas, who averaged more than 8.5 points per game this season.  No matter how good Douglas is, that is a recipe for tournament disaster.  Another negative is that no player on the roster has ever been to the tournament.

6) UCLA:  Three members return from last year’s Final Four squad, but only Darren Collison was an essential member to that team.  This year UCLA was been susceptible to the upset and has lost to team’s they used to own within the Pac-10 conference.  Even with the down year, any UCLA team is always a tough out in March.

7) Texas:  The Longhorns are perhaps the most dangerous 7-seed in the entire field because of the playmaking ability of A.J. Abrams and Damion James.  Better things were expected from this group, but just because they underachieved in the regular season doesn’t mean they won’t be able to make up for lost time in March.

8 ) Oklahoma State: In Travis Ford’s first season as the team’s head coach, he brought a style of basketball that featured 3-point shooting and lots of scoring.  Perhaps no one benefited more than James Anderson, who averaged 18.6 ppg on the season.  With their ability to make shots, the Cowboys could cause some trouble in the early rounds.

-David Cassilo

Categories: Uncategorized

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