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NCAA Tournament East Region Preview Predictions & Futures

Written by: Richard Janvrin
Published March 16, 2023
8 min read

When the selection committee added Fairleigh Dickinson University to the NCAA Tournament, fans across the nation identified it as a crime against basketball and the most unfair match-up possible. The Fairleigh Dickinson Knights are laughing in each one of those people's faces right now as they are preparing for the Round of 32 after a historical upset against No. Purdue, who fans thought was one of the many teams with a strong chance to win the tournament. 

Aside from the Purdue upset that will be written in history books from now on, the Memphis Tigers walked away from the tournament in a heated loss against FAU. Key cog Kendrick Davis was one amongst other teammates in intense conversations on the bench as the FAU took the win and advanced to the next round. 

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NCAA Tournament East Region Preview Prediction & Futures

Predictions for Upsets and Cinderella Teams

#16 Fairleigh Dickinson University: 21-15 (10-6, 2nd in NEC)

  • Head Coach: Tobin Anderson

  • Leading Scorer: Demetre Roberts (16.5 ppg, 4.3 apg)

So many narratives and stories surrounding the Knights after their historic victory. They’re the shortest team in the tournament, they didn’t even win their conference, and they aren’t even supposed to be here. The Knights are taking all of that controversy and outside opinions in and using it to their advantage. The Knights might be the authors of the biggest upset in NCAA tournament history and they did it in an electrifying fashion that I've never seen. FDU was ranked outside of the top 300 in KenPom rankings coming into a tournament of 68 deserving teams. 

After taking down the biggest team in the nation with the biggest player in the nation as the smallest team in the tournament I think it's time we give FDU their flowers. In Tobin Anderson’s first year as head coach, he’s letting the NCAA know that he means business. The Knights are led by a big three of Demetre Roberts, Grant Singleton, and Ansley Almonor who combine for 44.4 points and 11.4 rebounds per night. 

The Must-Watch Game of the Second-Round

#16 FDU vs. #9 FAU

FAU took down the Memphis Tigers after star Tiger Kendrick Davis went down with an apparent ankle injury. After Davis went down, chaos broke out on the Memphis bench as players were angry about something that happened during the timeout. That uncontrolled anger spilled onto the court as the Tigers struggled to overcome FAU in a 1-point loss. Even after the final shot was put up and benches were spilling onto the court in joy or disappointment, the Memphis Tigers players were still going back and forth with one another.

Did FAU only get the win because the Tigers weren’t locked in mentally? As the Owls prepare to face off against the more-than-ready FDU Knights, I believe that is a valid question. FDU closed the curtains on Purdue with energy and group effort that often goes unseen by underdogs. I believe the winner of this game can make for an interesting match-up against whomever they may face in the Sweet-16

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Team in Threat of Leaving The Party Early In The Round of 32

The No. 2 Marquette Golden Eagles exploded out of the first round with flying colors in a 17-point win over No. 15 Vermont. In the second round, they will match up with the vetted squad of Michigan State which will be an exciting one. There is no doubt this matchup will be exciting but there is doubt of the Golden Eagles advancing to the Sweet-16. As I stated before the Michigan State Spartans are one of the most experienced teams in the tournament as they will let it show against the 2-seeded Marquette. Marquette just isn't at the level of experience as the Spartans and I think Tom Izzo will coach this Michigan State squad as if they were a 1-seed in Sunday's matchup.

Check out the Best March Madness Betting Sites for the 2023 NCAA Tournament: Best March Madness Betting Sites & Sportsbook Apps 2023

Top Five Players Left In The East To Keep An Eye On

  • Kyle Filipowski - Duke: 15.4 ppg, 9 rpg (44.6 FG%)

At seven feet tall, Filipowski is dubbed as an extremely versatile forward/center. He has an excellent handle on the ball for someone of his size and can stretch the defense out with his marksman shooting tools. Filipowski is an adequate low-post scorer with a solid motor and decent athleticism for a seven-footer. He rebounds the ball at an extremely high level and is a good rim protector as you might imagine.

  • Markquis Nowell - Kansas State: 16.8 ppg, 7.6 apg (37.7 FG%)

Nowell could be considered the definition of having the heart over height. At just 5-foot-8, Nowell has been tearing through opposing defenses all season with 16.8 points per contest. Nowell is adept at scoring the ball off the dribble and creating his own shot. He can also be a dangerous catch & shoot threat off the ball.

Averaging 7.6 assists per night, Nowell is someone who can go out and get his own buckets while making sure his teammates are eating just as well. Nowell is a two-way player even though he isn’t the size of most two-way players. He averages 2.4 steals per game to help power Kansas State's defense. 

  • Tyson Walker - Michigan State: 14.5 ppg, 2.8 apg (46.2 FG%)

At 6-foot-4, 220 pounds, point guard Tyson Walker operates at a very high level. The guard plays with an aggressive, attack-first mindset but still has the wherewithal to hit the open man. Walker can do it all and has recently been showing how good of a passer he can be. He played a big role in the Spartans in a 10-point win over USC in the first round with 12 points and four assists. 

  • Joey Hauser - Michigan State: 14.3 ppg, 7 rpg (48.8 FG%, 46.5 3P%)

Joey Hauser is a 6-foot-9 tweener big man who can do a bit of everything on the court. Hauser is a solid, reliable shooter knocking down 46.5 % of his shots from long range. He can create his own buckets in the low post as well as off the dribble. Hauser is great at being effective off the ball and always makes the right play with the ball in his hands. He is a solid rebounder who will give any team problems on the glass.

  • Julian Philips - Tennessee: 8.7 ppg, 4.9 rpg (41.4 FG%)

Philips won’t be the loudest player on the court but can often be the most effective. Philips is a guard that can score the ball with ease off the dribble and someone who needs extra attention when he is in motion off the ball. Philips can get to the free-throw line and convert at an elite rate and get things done on the defensive end with his two-way abilities.

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Current Prediction for the East Region Winner

#7 Michigan State Spartans: 19-12 (11-8, 4th in Big Ten)

I said it before and I'll say it again, the Spartans are one of the most experienced teams in the tournament and that means something. Michigan State may have had a mild regular season this year but Michigan fans should have no fear in their hearts at all when heading into March Madness this year. 

The Spartans have one of the most experienced brains in the game of basketball fighting alongside them from the sidelines. Izzo holds the title for Michigan State’s all-time wins by a long shot. He is also the Big Ten all-time leader in Final Four appearances, NCAA Tournament wins, as well as NCAA Tournament appearances. Bottom Line is, don't count Tom Izzo out no matter what the regular season record may read.

Another reason that I see Michigan State potentially making a deep run in the tournament as the #7 seed comes back to experience. Senior guard Tyson Walker has put up 14.6 points per game on the season and has the veteran leadership on the court that Michigan State will need to go far this year.

Predictions for the Round of 32 East Region Bracket

  • #16 FDU vs. #9 FAU: 7:45 pm EST on truTV

Prediction: FDU wins

  • #5 Duke vs. #4 Tennessee: 2:40 pm EST on CBS

Prediction: Duke wins

  • #6 Kentucky vs. #3 Kansas State: 2:40 pm EST on CBS

Prediction: Kansas State wins

  • #7 Michigan State vs. #2 Marquette: 5:15 pm EST on CBS

Prediction: Michigan State wins

Need some betting advice or tips for the NCAA Tournament? How to Bet on March Madness: Ultimate Betting Strategy

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DraftKings Sportsbook Odds To Win The East Region

  • #2 Marquette odds are at +320

  • #4 Tennessee odds are at +550

  • #5 Duke odds are at +280

  • #6 Kentucky odds are at +600

  • #7 Michigan State odds are at +1000

  • #9 Florida Athletic odds are at +550

  • #16 Fairleigh Dickinson odds are at +5000

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Richard Janvrin

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After graduating from the University of New Hampshire with a BA in Journalism, Richard Janvrin has been covering iGaming and sports betting since December 2018. Richard has covered betting at Bleacher Report, Gambling.com, The Game Day, Forbes, and more.
Nationality: American
Education: Bachelor of English/ Journalism
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