2012 NCAA Bracket Picks: East Region Odds, Predictions and Expert Bracketology Projections: The East Region of the 2012 NCAA Tournament Bracket is filled with team’s that have gotten hot at the right time. Vanderbilt won the SEC tournament, while Florida State won the ACC tournament, and both teams defeated teams that earned No. 1 seeds to do so. Not to mention the fact that Big East tournament runner-up Cincinnati is one of only two teams in the country that has beat Syracuse – the East Region’s No. 1 seed. There will be no shortage of confidence for a majority of the teams in this region, which could lead to some interesting outcomes.

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NCAA East Bracket Favorites to Make the Final Four

Syracuse: Depth, length and defense have been the keys for Syracuse all season, and despite a surprise loss in the Big East tournament, the Orange are still the frontrunners in this region. With several legitimate scoring options, Syracuse can win, even when a couple of players struggle shooting the ball. More importantly, the Orange’s patented 2-3 zone is one of the more confusing defenses around, and it is tough for teams to prepare for without actually facing it. Cincinnati and West Virginia are the only other Big East teams in the region, and Syracuse can’t face either until the Elite Eight. The Orange should cruise through one of the softer regions in the field.

Ohio State: Ohio State doesn’t have a ton of depth, but the team’s starting five is as good as it gets. Deshaun Thomas and Jared Sullinger form a potent scoring combo in the post, and guard William Buford takes care of the perimeter scoring. Meanwhile, point guard Aaron Craft gives the Buckeyes one of the top perimeter defenders in the nation. Granted, Ohio State has had issues dealing with physical teams because of a lack of outside shooting, but the East Region as a whole is lacking in offensive juggernauts. The Buckeyes won’t be overmatched in any game, and their battle-tested starting five should be prepared for the tight games that are likely on tap.

NCAA East Bracket Upset Specials

Harvard over Vanderbilt: After ending a tournament drought that has spanned more than half a century, the Crimson could celebrate with a first-round win. Granted, Vanderbilt is coming off a huge win over top-ranked Kentucky in the SEC title game, but this is the same team that lost to Cleveland State, Indiana State and Xavier during the course of the year. Harvard likes to control the tempo of games with its methodical offense, and the Crimson knows how to take the air out of the ball. Don’t be surprised if Harvard is able to frustrate John Jenkins and the high-scoring Commodores and pull off an upset.

West Virginia over Gonzaga: Although the Mountaineers’ record isn’t great, they did suffer a ton of close losses against tough competition. West Virginia rebounds well, plays tough defense and is battle tested thanks to a typically brutal Bob Huggins’ schedule. Meanwhile, Gonzaga continues to live on its reputation as a Cinderella team, even though the Bulldogs haven’t done much in the tournament since its run to the Elite Eight in 1999. As long as the young Mountaineers backcourt can keep the turnovers to a minimum, West Virginia could surprise in the first round and beyond.

NCAA East Bracket High Seed on Alert

Florida State: Any team that knocks off Duke and North Carolina twice in the same year is obviously a threat to make a tournament run. That being said, the Seminoles did lose to a pair of Ivy League teams and ACC bottom feeders Clemson and Boston College during the course of the season. Florida State has a nasty habit of playing down to its competition, and while the Seminoles play tough defense whenever they take the court, they do have issues scoring at times. Dodging an early upset could be difficult for Florida State.

NCAA East Bracket PREDICTION: No. 1 seed Syracuse Orange

Vegas Favorites and Odds to win the 2012 East Region
Get 2012 East Region Odds on each individual game at Bovada Sportsbook
311 Syracuse +236
312 Ohio St. +159
313 Florida St. +1071
314 Wisconsin +992
315 Vanderbilt +904
316 Cincinnati +1500
317 Gonzaga +2976
318 Kansas St. +1487
319 Southern Miss. +6946
320 West Virginia +2976
321 Texas +3500
322 Harvard +6946
323 Montana +9921
324 St. Bonaventure +14882
325 Loyola (MD) +19844
326 UNC Asheville +19844

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