East Region Has 5 Conference Tournament Champions Shooting for MSG & Final Four | Zagsblog
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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Tuesday / June 18.
  • East Region Has 5 Conference Tournament Champions Shooting for MSG & Final Four

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    NCAA Basketball: Big Ten Tournament Michigan State v MichiganThe Midwest Region of the NCAA Tournament may be the “Region of Death,” but no Region has as many major conference tournament champions as the East.

    The East features the ACC tournament champion in No. 1 Virginia, Big 12 champion in No. 3 Iowa State, Big Ten champion in No. 4 Michigan State, A-10 champion in No. 10 St. Joe’s and Big East champion in No. 11 Providence.

    The East also has No. 2 Villanova, the Big East regular-season champ; No. 6 North Carolina, which beat Michigan State, Louisville and Kentucky during a wild season; and No. 7 UConn, which finished third in the American. Villanova and UConn could meet in a Big East reunion in the Round of 32 on Saturday in Buffalo.

    All these programs will be battling to reach the Sweet 16 and Elite 8 on March 28 and 30 at Madison Square Garden.

    Coached by Tom Izzo, one of nine coaches in the tournament with an NCAA championship ring (2000) and a man with six Final Four appearances, Michigan State looks like the favorite to emerge from the Garden and reach the Final Four in North Texas.

    The Spartans are finally healthy and have everybody back and looked highly impressive in dispatching Michigan, 69-55, in the Big Ten final on Sunday.

    Adreian Payne scored 18 points in the game and Gary Harris and Branden Dawson added 15 each.

    Michigan State could face Virginia in the Sweet 16 at the Garden, and then possibly Iowa State or Villanova in the Regional final.

    “I have felt from the beginning that healthy and together, Michigan State is the best team in the country,” Jay Bilas said on ESPN. “I think they’re capable of a Final Four but they better be ready to play in the first game [against Delaware].”

    Photo: Michigan State Athletics

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.

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