Here’s The Game Day’s March Madness East Region Preview and predictions for the 2021 NCAA Tournament, breaking down the region with Michigan, Alabama, Texas, and Florida State as the top four seeds. Daniel Preciado offers his advice for Upset Specials, Cinderella Sleepers, and 2021 March Madness East betting picks.
Read our complete 2021 March Madness Preview Guide.
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March Madness East Region Preview
March Madness East Schedule
- Round 1: Friday, March 19-Saturday, March 20
- Round 2: Sunday, March 21-Monday, March 22
- Sweet 16: Saturday, March 27-Sunday, March 28
- Elite 8: Monday, March 29-Tuesday, March 30
March Madness East Region Teams
- Florida State
- St. Bonaventure
- UCLA/Michigan State**
- UNC Greensboro
- Abilene Christian
- Texas Southern/Mt. St. Mary’s**
** - part of play-in game First Four on March 18
March Madness East: Top 4 Seeds Breakdown
Michigan is currently pegged as my East region winner. Led by the younger brother of Washington Wizards center Moritz Wagner, Franz Wagner might be even better than his brother was at Michigan. Michigan has an extremely easy path to the Sweet 16 as the East region on their side of the bracket is extremely weak. The perks of being a 1 seed.
‘Bama is a very good basketball team but is certainly on the weaker side for a 2 seed. They are the second-best defensive team in the nation, according to KenPom, but their offensive firepower really lags behind. This is nowhere close to the Gonzaga/Iowa grouping at one and two. This is far more a ‘Michigan and everyone else’ type of scenario.
The Longhorns have a great team with lots of players who have taken leaps, namely Kai Jones and Jaden Springer, who will both be first-round draft selections this year. Texas is a solid offensive team and a decent defensive team, which isn’t usually enough to win the tournament. However, if Michigan somehow gets upset, Texas is in the conversation as a very real winner of the region.
(4) Florida State
Florida State is a very strange team to analyze as a whole. They are definitely solid, but I imagine they were a difficult team for the committee to seed just as it’s difficult for me to truly gauge them. When the ‘Noles are hot, they are red-hot. When they are cold, you wonder how they got as far as they did. Their defense is lackluster at times, but they genuinely have a top-10 offense when everything is working in motion. Scottie Barnes is the key to everything.
March Madness East: Upset Special
(6) BYU over (2) Alabama: Sweet 16
BYU is always a massive threat with its three-point shooting, and ‘Bama is simply an all-around threat. This will be a good matchup if it comes to fruition, but BYU’s style of play is the type that can easily flummox Alabama. This is primed to be a battle of defensive stalwarts and offensive firepower. If BYU can catch a little bit of fire, they might be able to break the wall.
March Madness East: Cinderella Sleeper
(9) St. Bonaventure
Nobody is giving St. Bonnie’s its due credit. Given the 9 seed in the tournament, St. Bonaventure finished 25th overall in KenPom adjusted ratings, better than some members of the East region with higher seeding.
March Madness East Region: Prediction
Winner: Michigan over BYU
Michigan is easily one of the best five teams in the nation and is the clear-cut favorite to put this East region on lock. BYU is a very capable opponent, but Michigan’s Franz Wagner can push past it.
BYU’s surprise upset streak will come to an end here against the Wolverines.
March Madness East Region: Futures Bet Picks
All betting odds for March Madness East picks are courtesy of BetMGM as of March 15 of 8:30 a.m. ET. Use BetMGM’s welcome offer — a risk-free bet of up to $600 — to place this and more 2021 March Madness futures bets for the NCAA Tournament.
Michigan to Win East Region (+175)
Michigan is far and away the best team in this region, and the odds do not accurately reflect that. Getting plus-odds on the Wolverines is an easy call with confidence that they will at least be in the Sweet 16.
BYU to win the NCAA Tournament (+8000)
BYU is a good enough team to win this tournament, but the issue is — there are a lot of teams who are far better than ‘good enough’.’ When BYU is streaking, though, they are a safe bet to make some noise. At 80-to-1, it’s pure value.
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