This article is part of our NCAA Tournament Preview series.
A top-heavy East Region is set, with both the ACC and B1G Tournament winners leading six teams combined from their respective conferences in a field of 16. From an entertainment standpoint, that's a bit of a letdown as the next wave of teams has very little margin for error. There will be value in picking against the upper echelon squads, but there doesn't appear to be immediate appeal within the lower seeded squads.
No. 1 Duke – The tournament's overall No. 1 seed, the Blue Devils avenged two of their three conference losses during their run to the conference tournament championship. Even the most casual bracket submitter knows of Zion Williamson (22.1 ppg, 8.9 rpg) and most know of R.J. Barrett (22.9 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 4.1 apg) – two top-3 picks in the NBA Draft. Simply put, no team has more top-end talent than Duke.
No. 2 Michigan State – MSU looks like a matchup nightmare, as their eighth-ranked defensive efficiency (per KenPom) and sixth-ranked opponent effective field goal percentage is now suddenly paired with a fourth-ranked offensive efficiency. While not a fully healthy squad, G Cassius Winston (19.0 ppg, 7.5 apg) leads a veteran rotation that dropped only two games during the non-conference season.