This article is part of our NCAA Tournament Preview series.
EAST REGION PREVIEW
The East Region seems to set up as two distinctly different halves. At the top, blue bloods North Carolina, Indiana and Kentucky highlight eight teams that also include capable mid-major schools Chattanooga and Stony Brook. The bottom half of the bracket has No. 2 seed Xavier searching for respect along with the full-court havoc of West Virginia. There's serious pro talent across this region, making it no guarantee the top seed advances.
No. 1 North Carolina - Winners of both the ACC regular season and conference tournament, the Tar Heels appear to be peaking at the right time of year. They comfortably play nine players and can come at opponents in a variety of ways, with three low post scorers in Kennedy Meeks, Brice Johnson and Isaiah Hicks playing perfectly with wings Justin Jackson and Theo Pinson. Guards Joel Berry and Marcus Paige push the preferred uptempo style and provide streaky perimeter shooting, but also proved capable of winning a slower, half-court game last week against Virginia. Lost in the offensive accolades is the Tar Heels commitment to defense. Opponents are shooting only 41.0 percent from the floor against them, including less than 35 percent by their last two opponents. The Tar Heels can post 90 on a nightly basis, while also holding opponents to less than 60.
No. 2 Xavier – The Musketeers are deep and experienced, bringing six players averaging at least 9.4 points into