March Madness Predictions 2017: Bracket Picks East Region

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Duke can give Villanova a run for the East Region. (Getty)

The East Region is full of talent with top seeds Villanova, Duke and Butler. UNC Wilmington, SMU and Wisconsin are all lying in the region as sleepers.

Baylor and Florida find themselves with high seeds but have struggled down the stretch. It is difficult to project which team fans will see from both squads come tournament time.

For those looking for additional bracket picks, checkout Heavy’s breakdown of the Midwest Region. Heavy also gives you five key principles to help you win your bracket pool as well as the best websites to fill out your bracket.

Here is a pick for every March Madness game in the East Region.

First Round

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Baylor ended the regular season on a down note. (Getty)

Virginia Tech is welcomed back to the Big Dance with a bad matchup against Wisconsin. The majority of the metrics favor Wisconsin despite Virginia Tech’s ability to shoot.

UNC Wilmington comes into the tournament on a hot streak and face a Virginia team that struggled down the stretch. The guards for UNC Wilmington will be the difference despite Virginia’s suffocating defense.

SMU is one of the analytic darlings to advance to the Sweet 16. The concern for the ponies is their lack of experience and poise in close games. Keep in mind SMU was banned from the tournament last season.

Florida and Baylor should be on upset-alert with their poor play down the stretch, but we like both teams to advance in the first round. The Gators play what will essentially be a home game in Orlando.

Here is a full rundown of the first round of the East Region. The teams in bold are the schools we predict to advance.

1 Villanova
16 Mt. St. Mary’s/New Orleans

8 Wisconsin
9 Virginia Tech

5 Virginia
12 UNC Wilmington

4 Florida
13 East Tennessee State

11 Providence/USC

3 Baylor
14 New Mexico St.

7 South Carolina
10 Marquette

2 Duke
15 Troy

Round of 32

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Villanova faces plenty of talent in the East region. (Getty)

UNC Wilmington is the one surprise pick. The Gators lost big man John Egbunu in mid-February and have been in a slump since. Florida will survive a first round scare but runs into a red-hot UNC Wilmington team.

Wisconsin will pose a challenge to Villanova, but the defending champs come in a bit more battle tested coming out of a strong Big East conference. There is skepticism over Baylor given their history of early exits in March. Providence could pose a problem if they win their first two games, but the Bears are safe for now.

1 Villanova
8 Wisconsin

12 UNC Wilmington
4 Florida

11 Providence/ 11 USC
3 Baylor

7 South Carolina
2 Duke

Elite Eight

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Duke is poised for a Final Four run. (Getty)

After a few upsets early, we have the top two seeds in the East squaring off. Villanova has the experience but Duke has the talent. The Blue Devils are rounding into form when it matters most. Jayson Tatum has been a difference maker down the stretch and helps propel the Blue Devils to another Final Four run.

1 Villanova
12 UNC Wilmington

3 Baylor
2 Duke

Heavy’s Pick: Duke defeats Villanova to advance to the Final Four.

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