2019 NCAA Tournament Picks: East



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2019 NCAA Tournament Picks – East Bracket

By Walter Cherepinsky – @walterfootball


Rather than go through, game by game, I’m going to show you my selections on the brackets and post notes on some of the interesting contests:






Duke shouldn’t have much of an issue advancing to the Sweet 16. Both VCU and UCF lost in the first game of their conference tournaments, which doesn’t bode well for them. VCU is ranked a bit higher than UCF, so I’ll take the Rams over the Knights, even though that’s a mostly even matchup.

The NCAA Tournament committee screwed up by having two Virginia teams play in San Jose. It’s historically been difficult for teams traveling three time zones in the tournament, so that could spell doom for Virginia Tech and Liberty. Either team could certainly come out of this pod, but the odds are stacked against them. Liberty, by the way, is the worst-ranked No. 12 seed, so I think Mississippi State will advance to the Sweet 16 and be the sacrificial lamb against Duke.



In the bottom of the bracket, I’m confused about why Belmont – named after the famed Simon Belmont – is seeded higher than the winner of its own conference tournament, Murray State, which has a better record. Belmont has to participate in a play-in game, which is just bogus. These play-in games are dumb and should be abolished. That said, one play-in winner usually advances to the Sweet 16, and I could see it being either Belmont or Temple. LSU is an extremely weak No. 3 seed that could lose in the opening round to Yale.

I like Louisville to beat Minnesota, a team with just two road victories all year. The Cardinals are good, but have stumbled down the stretch. They’re underseeded. They could give Michigan State a tough test in the second round, but the Spartans will ultimately prevail and advance to the Elite Eight.

And here we go: Duke versus Michigan State. To quote the great Kenny Ortiz, if you were to put a gun to my head and ask me to bet a dollar on Duke versus Michigan State, I’d pick the Blue Devils. They have the better athletes for sure. However, you’re not going to win a tournament picking Duke. You’ll need way too many things to go right. Michigan State is a great TEAM and could definitely upset Duke to advance to the Final Four. That’s what I’m picking, but I wouldn’t blame you for going with Duke.






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