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NCAA Basketball Tournament 2011 Predictions: Picking The East Region

With NCAA Tournament brackets out and the regions set, it's time to make some predictions. Office pools and online bracket competitions are up and running, leaving us just about a day to get the picks in ahead of the opening round of March Madness. The first four games get underway on Tuesday and Wednesday, with the second round set to begin on Wednesday and Thursday at sub-regional sites throughout the country.

We begin in the East region, where the Washington Huskies will face the Georgia Bulldogs in the Charlotte, North Carolina on Thursday.

Be sure to grab a printable bracket and get to work filling it out ahead of the First Four games.

First Round
UT San Antonio def. Alabama State. This is a crap-shoot, but whoever wins here moves forward to be slaughtered by Ohio State.
Clemson def. UAB. UAB had no business being here and the Tigers are grossly under-seeded.

Second Round
No. 1 Ohio State def. UTSA. No. 16 seeds never win and this will be no exception.
No. 8 George Mason def. Villanova. The Wildcats backed into the NCAA Tournament and don't exactly inspire confidence here.
No. 12 Clemson over West Virginia. Clemson and West Virginia were about even, making this a prime 12/5 upset candidate 
No. 4 Kentucky def Princeton. Princeton is a nice story, but Kentucky, and its merry band of All-Americans, should roll.
No. 11 Marquette def. Xavier. If you believe Kenpom, Marquette is the better team on paper here and Xavier was over-seeded.
No. 3 Syracuse def. Indiana State. 'Cuse rolls in the first round.
No. 7 Washington def. Georgia. Washington is on a hot-streak and showed why its so dangerous in March during the Pac-10 Tournament.
No. 2 North Carolina def. Long Island. Again, talent wins out, just as it did with the Kentucky pick.

Third Round
Ohio State def. George Mason. Ohio State is the trendy pick to make the Final Four, so we'll go with the Buckeyes again.
Kentucky def. Clemson. Once again, it's all about talent. Clemson's run should come to an end here.
Syracuse over Marquette. Syracuse is just outside the top-10 in Pomeroy's ranking and should roll into the regional semis.
North Carolina over Washington. If this game wasn't in Charlotte, the Huskies could probably pull this off. Even playing a virtual road game, Washington should give North Carolina fits.

Regional Semifinals
Ohio State def. No. 4 Kentucky, as the Buckeyes mix of veterans and youngsters will be too much for the younger Wildcats.
North Carolina def. Syracuse. This should be an even game. KenPom has the Tar Heels ranked high, so that's the tie-breaker.

Regional Final
Ohio State def. Syracuse. Ohio State is too good and too consistent. The Buckeyes are a deserving No. 1 seed that should cruise into the Final Four.

For more on the NCAA Tournament, check out the rest of our NCAA Tournament predictions StoryStream. To break down the bracket with Gonzaga and Washington fans, be sure to stop by SB Nation's The Slipper Still Fits and UW Dawg Pound.