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March Madness 2012 Predictions: Picking the East

The East region looks primed for a couple of upsets with Ohio State eventually heading to the Final Four.

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Syracuse? Ouch. I hope you get some love in Boston, because this is a tough draw to even try and figure out who will win the first round, let alone who will end up knocking off Big Orange on their way to New Orleans.

No. 1 Syracuse Orange vs. No. 16 UNC-Asheville Bulldogs: Syracuse were the top team in the country for a long time this year. UNC-Asheville were never the top team in the country in all of basketball history. Syracuse advances.

No. 8 Kansas State Wildcats vs. No. 9 Southern Miss Golden Eagles: Kansas State isn't exactly an offensive force. Luckily for them Frank Martin has trained this team to play defense like they are fighting for their lives in the octagon. Southern Miss is an athletic team that can score, but expect this one to be an absolute dogfight. Southern Miss advances.

No. 5 Vanderbilt Commodores vs. No. 12 Harvard Crimson: Poor Vanderbilt. Three of the past four years they haven't made it out of the first round as a single digit seed. Harvard had a year they will probably not have again for a long time, and their play this year combined with Vandy's history suggests this is your prime statistically-going-to-happen 12 upset over a five seed. But don't forget people, Vanderbilt just beat Kentucky in the SEC final. Unfortunately for Harvard, it is finally Vanderbilt's year to win - one game at least. Vanderbilt advances.

No. 4 Wisconsin Badgers vs. No. 13 Montana Grizzlies: There haven't been a whole lot of teams more frustrating then Wisconsin this year. The Badgers have the talent to grind out some big wins, but their offense was held to 55 points or less eight times this year (including a mere 41 points at Michigan). Teams that have such severe offensive issues are hard to get behind as a team in the tournament. The Grizzlies are one of the more high octane offenses in the country and once ahead, the Badgers should have trouble catching up. Montana advances.

No. 6 Cincinnati Bearcats vs. No. 11 Texas Longhorns: Cincinnati are playing like one of the better teams in the nation right now and already upset Syracuse this past week. Texas was on life-support until Championship Week rolled around. Expect the plug to get pulled in this round. Cincinnati advances.

No. 3 Florida State Seminoles vs. No. 14 St. Bonaventure Bonnies: Florida State is playing some of the best basketball of their lives right now after winning the ACC Tournament. Big Bonnie man child Andrew Nicholson is not an easy match-up for everyone. Even if he gives the Seminoles the fits, Florida State should have enough options to persevere. Florida State advances.

No. 7 Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. No. 10 West Virginia Mountaineers: GONZAGA GRAD ALERT: West Virgina is led by senior man of a mountain Kevin Jones and senior guard Darryl Bryant. Take one of the two out of the game and this is a Bob Huggins team that doesn't score a lot of points. But then again, this is a Bob Huggins team and that means they are going to play hard, big, and tough as a coal miner. The match-up of big men Jones and Gonzaga's Robert Sacre should be a treat. This is a virtual road game for the Bulldogs so look for Gonzaga to try and command the tempo of the game. Gonzaga will run the ball a lot and try to leave West Virginia coughing up the black lung. Gonzaga advances.

No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes vs. No. 15 Loyola (Md.) Greyhounds: The Buckeyes are a candy or a nut from a tree. They are taking on the skinny racing dogs in this battle of mascots. That is really the only interesting way to spin this. Jared Sullinger could probably destroy Loyola on his own. Ohio State advances.

Everyone knows that Syracuse can score the ball like no other, but the Orange are vulnerable on defense and on rebounds. They also do not shoot the three ball very well. The Buckeyes have one of the hardest and smartest players in the country in Jared Sullinger. I'm banking on a both to make it to the Elite Eight and Ohio State proving to be too much. Ohio State advances to the Final Four.

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