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Originally published March 11, 2012 at 8:18 PM | Page modified March 11, 2012 at 8:18 PM

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East region capsules

The Seattle Times

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1 Syracuse
Overall: 31-2 | Big East: 17-1 | Last 10: 9-1

Star power: Senior forward Kris Joseph averages a team-high 13.8 points.

The Orange have been out-rebounded, but there aren’t a lot of weaknesses, and this Syracuse squad is uncharacteristically decent at the foul line (69.1 percent). A great defensive team that is deep and has plenty of three-point threats. Strong title contender.

16 UNC-Asheville
Overall: 24-9 | Big South: 16-2 | Last 10: 8-2

Star power: Senior guard Matt Dickey averages team-high 16.5 points and averaged double figures in scoring four straight years.

A strong backcourt with Dickey and fellow senior J.P. Primm. The Bulldogs won an opening-round game (to get into the bracket of 64) last year. They are better than most No. 16 seeds.

2 Ohio State
Overall: 27-7 | Big Ten: 13-5 | Last 10: 6-4

Star power: Sophomore forward Jared Sullinger can dominate a game, averaging 17.6 points and 9.3 rebounds.

Senior guard William Buford is a nice complement to Sullinger, and the team plays defense, too. Ohio State wasn’t great in its last 10 games, but it is good enough to win the title. The pick to win it all.

15 Loyola (Maryland)
Overall: 24-8 | Metro Atlantic Ath.: 13-5 | Last 10: 7-3

Star power: Junior forward Erik Etherly averages 13.5 points and 7.5 rebounds.

The conference is better than you might think, and regular-season champion Iona got in as an at-large team. The Greyhounds played at Kentucky, but got crushed. Little to no chance against Ohio State.


3 Florida State

Overall: 24-9 | ACC: 12-4 | Last 10: 8-2

Star power: Junior guard Michael Snaer averages 14.5 points per game.

This is a typical Leonard Hamilton-coached team, as the Seminoles play great defense, holding opponents to 38 percent shooting. Have to respect a team that beat North Carolina and Duke twice each. A final-eight possibility, but the opener vs. the Bonnies won’t be easy.

14 St. Bonaventure
Overall: 20-11 | Atlantic 10: 10-6 | Last 10: 8-2

Star power: Senior forward Andrew Nicholson is tough inside, averaging 18.4 points and 8.4 rebounds.

The Bonnies earned their first bid since 2000, and they haven’t won a tournament game since 1970. Still, they looked very good in winning the conference tournament. They are hot, and could surprise Florida State.


4 Wisconsin
Overall: 24-9 | Big Ten: 12-6 | Last 10: 6-4

Star power: Senior guard Jordan Taylor averages team-best 14.7 points and 4.0 assists.

The Badgers are not much fun to watch, playing slow defensive games, but it obviously works as this is their 13th straight tourney appearance. They have at least one win in nine of the past 10 tournaments. Expect another win or two.

13 Montana
Overall: 25-6 | Big Sky: 15-1 | Last 10: 10-0

Star power: Junior guard Will Cherry averages 16.0 points and 3.4 assists.

The Grizzlies are on a 14-game winning streak and got a good seeding. Lost by six points against their two toughest nonconference foes (at Colorado State and at home vs. Nevada). Montana is likely to keep it close for a long time before losing to Wisconsin.

They are hot, and could surprise Florida State.

5 Vanderbilt
Overall: 24-10 | SEC: 10-6 | Last 10: 7-3

Star power: Junior guard John Jenkins and senior guard/forward Jeffery Taylor average a combined 36.3 points per game (19.9 and 16.4, respectively).

A great three-point-shooting team, the Commodores can play with anyone when hitting from long range, and beat Kentucky on Sunday. They will lose to Harvard if they suffer any letdown.

12 Harvard
Overall: 26-4 | Ivy: 12-2 | Last 10: 8-2

Star power: Junior forward Kyle Casey leads a deep, balanced team in scoring at 11.3 points per game.

This is a good team that should have been in last year’s tournament. Coach Tommy Amaker’s squad beat a very good Florida State team in non-conference action. Don’t underestimate Jeremy Lin’s former team. Crimson could win one or two.


6 Cincinnati

Overall: 24-10 | Big East: 12-6 | Last 10: 7-3

Star power: Sophomore guard Sean Kilpatrick averages 14.3 points and 4.6 rebounds.

The Bearcats were solid in conference play, but it’s hard to overlook home losses to Marshall, Presbyterian and St. John’s. They won at Georgetown and Connecticut, and reached the Big East tourney final. Don’t expect more than one win, if that.

11 Texas
Overall: 20-13 | Big 12: 9-9 | Last 10: 6-4

Star power: Junior guard J’Covan Brown averages 20.1 points and 3.8 assists.

The Longhorns were 0-8 when playing teams that were ranked. Several of those losses were close, but it’s hard to like their chances when they came up empty so often against tough teams.


7 Gonzaga

Overall: 25-6 | West Coast: 13-3 | Last 10: 8-2

Star power: Junior forward Elias Harris is second on team in scoring (13.1) and first in rebounding (8.7).

The Zags have enough talent to make a nice run. But the same could have been said the previous 10 seasons when Gonzaga has done little, not advancing past the Sweet 16 and only making it through the first weekend twice.

10 West Virginia
Overall: 19-13 | Big East: 9-9 | Last 10: 4-6

Star power: Senior forward Kevin Jones averages 20.1 points and 11.1 rebounds and was one of the Big East’s best players.

Bob Huggins’ teams are always scrappy, but this team doesn’t shoot well (44.1 percent, 30.1 percent from three-point range). The Mountaineers’ best game might have been a two-point loss at Syracuse. A toss-up against Gonzaga.


8 Kansas State

Overall: 21-10 | Big 12: 10-8 | Last 10: 6-4

Star power: Junior Rodney McGruder leads the team in scoring at 15.4 points per game and is a good rebounder for a guard, averaging 5.3.

A couple of huge wins over Missouri, including a 10-point win on the road. Was 6-7 during a 13-game stretch in midseason, but finished OK. Should win one, but that’s it.

9 Southern Miss
Overall: 25-8 | Conference USA: 11-5 | Last 10: 6-4

Star power: Sophomore guard Neil Watson averages a team-high 12.2 points and 4.5 assists.

The Golden Hurricanes put together a nice record against some mediocre competition. Southern Miss’s only previous tournament appearances (1990 and 1991) ended in opening-round losses. Expecting the same fate this time.

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