The Indiana Hoosiers and Wyoming Cowboys will be a part of the First Four as a pair of 12 seeds looking to get into the first round for a matchup with the fifth-seeded Saint Mary’s Gaels. The No. 11 seed Virginia Tech Hokies may have saved their NCAA Tournament chances by knocking off the Duke Blue Devils in the ACC title game.
The East will feature plenty of storylines, and will be fun to follow until we see which program will advance out of the region.
Which games are ripe for an upset
One first round matchup that stands out is the No. 6 seed Texas Longhorns going up against No. 11 Virginia Tech. We just saw the Hokies run through the ACC in impressive fashion, and the Longhorns are favored by just one point on DraftKings Sportsbook. Oddsmakers suggest this is close to a toss-up, so the Hokies are worth a look.
Another potential upset to consider is the 5-12 game. We’ve seen this plenty of times since the First Four began where the winner of that matchup heads into the first round with momentum and pulls off an upset. The winner of Indiana/Wyoming should have a competitive game with Saint Mary’s in Round 1.
Potentially popular picks to fade
Plenty of highly seeded teams in the bracket have a pretty decent chance at getting upset in Round 1 - hello Providence Friars - but you’re not going to find that in the East. The top four seeds in the East have point spreads of at least 14.5. Don’t get cute with this region and pick your major upsets elsewhere in the bracket.
Who will reach the Final Four
Kentucky is the betting favorite to advance out of the East, and that’s going to happen. Baylor would have a much better argument if not for the injuries they’re struggling through. Their leading scorer LJ Cryer has played just one game since January 25th, and Kendall Brown went down with an injury in the Bears’ quarterfinal loss in the Big 12 Tournament, though Scott Drew indicated he would be available.
The Wildcats have the best player in the country with Oscar Tshiebwe, and he will guide them to the Final Four.