NCAA Tournament Breakdowns - East, Part 1
Indiana's Cody Zeller
Indiana's Cody Zeller
Posted Mar 19, 2013

Quick analysis of every team in the NCAA tournament so you'll know what you're doing.

2013 NCAA Basketball Tourney

East - Top Half

By Phil Harrison
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHarrisonCFN
2013 NCAA Basketball Tournament Team Breakdowns
Play-In Games | South - Top Half | South - Bottom Half 
East - Top Half | East - Bottom Half
Midwest - Top Half | Midwest - Bottom Half
West - Top Half | West - Bottom Half

Yeah, yeah, yeah, we know, we're, but like the rest of the world, we take a wee bit of a break for the first round of the NCAA college basketball tournament. Before you fill out your bracket - DON'T GUESS - check out the quick breakdown of each team with what you need to know to make an informed decision.
1. Indiana (27-6)
Here's The Deal: As the Big Ten regular-season champion, there were several times this year when IU looked like the class of the college basketball universe. The Hoosiers play great defense, can score from multiple positions and multiple spots on the floor, and can match up with any team because of their ability to score on the inside or on the perimeter. There were times, though, when they inexplicably lost focus in taking care of the ball. Whether it was blowing a lead late in the game against Illinois on the road, or not being able to handle the defensive pressure at home to end the game against Ohio State - carelessness at key times kept the team from being elite. IU has the talent and coaching to win the whole deal, but it has to play 40 strong minutes after it gets by the first two rounds.
Player You Need To Care About: Center Cody Zeller is the Hoosier's leading scorer and gets all the attention, but junior guard Victor Oladipo is the tone-setter. The team's best athlete, he can put the team on his shoulders offensively when needed playing great on-ball and help defense with the skill and ability to get around guys on a journey to the rim when needed. When the game is on the line, it won't be Zeller who will be option number one, but Oladipo because of his ability to get a good shot off against almost anyone. He averages just under 14 points a game, but that's only because the Hoosiers have more than a few pieces that can score.
Really, How Deep Will The Run Be? It's going to be smooth sailing into the Elite Eight, and then the war of all tournament wars against Miami will keep the Hoosiers from getting to Atlanta.

16. LIU Brooklyn/James Madison winner

8. North Carolina State (24-10)
Here's The Deal: Okay Wolfpack, it's time to put it all together. NC State was expected to be one of the favorites to win the ACC, and had some wow moments, but inconsistency reigned supreme. The Pack can bury shots with the best of them with an up-temp style that can leave opponents in the dust with scoring runs. The main issue has been an inability to slow teams down on defense with the frenetic pace it sets. Still, anytime a team can score and shoot the ball well, it has a chance to spring a few upsets. This is when many are expecting the light to turn on.
Player You Need To Care About: On a team full of scorers - five players average in double figures) - forward C.J. Leslie is the best of them. He's not going to venture very far outside, but he's great around the lane and superb at mopping up loose balls underneath. He averages almost 15 points a game and when he puts the ball up, it's normally a good look. The coaching staff would love to devise ways to get him even more involved.
Really, How Deep Will The Run Be? A great game against Temple will get everyone thinking that everything is about to come together, but that hope will come to a crashing thud against Indiana.


9. Temple (23-9)
Here's The Deal: Coming out of a tough Atlantic-10, this is a strong team that won't back down from a fight after finishing tied for third in the conference. The year could've been better had the Owls not suffered three of its five conference losses by a total of seven points. Where they take flight is with the care that used with the basketball, playing unselfish with the ball while seemingly able to make all the right decisions in regards to spacing and ball movement. Defense has been another issue, not closing out on outside shooters while giving up far too many points.
Player You Need To Care About: Senior guard Khalif Wyatt is everything for the Owl offense averaging over 19 points per game. He can hit the three ball with regularity, but he's at his best getting around defenders and taking the fight to the lane – he's a great finisher, but also gets to the line about seven times a game. He can't be stopped by one defender, so teams will have to try and guard by committee or let him simply get his points.
Really, How Deep Will The Run Be? The defense won't do enough to slow down a jacked up NC State.

5. UNLV (23-9)
Here's The Deal: The Runnin' Rebels finished a solid third in the Mountain West regular season, and they did it by playing bigger than the story the measuring tape tells. UNLV will go small with mainly guards and forwards, and doesn't possess a true center in the main rotation, but there wasn't a problem rebounding providing resistance down-low with quickness and athleticism. The offense averages over 70 points per game by deferring to open teammates for damage. To do more than get their feet wet in the tournament though, they have to be more careful with throwing the ball away.
Player You Need To Care About: Freshman forward Anthony Bennett is the big man in Vegas, averaging over 16 points per game and pulling down eight rebounds a contest with the leaping ability and girth to change shots on the defensive end. With a shooting percentage of over 50 percent, when he pulls up to fire away, it usually goes down. He'll need to be a big part of any equation of madness the Rebels put together.
Really, How Deep Will The Run Be? The Rebels are better than Cal, but they'll lose what amounts to a Golden Bear home game in San Jose.


12. California (20-11)
Here's The Deal: As late as early February, it looked as though the Golden Bears would be watching the NCAA tournament on television. All of a sudden though, they caught fire and ran off seven straight wins down the stretch and put themselves in not only good position to get into the tournament, but securing an unlikely second-place regular-season tie with Arizona and Oregon. The outside shooting isn't great, but Allen Crabbe and Justin Cobbs combine for a great one-two punch at the guard position. On defense, the Golden Bears will force teams to shoot on the perimeter rather than giving up too much in the paint. This is an improved team that has things going in the right direction at just the right time.
Player You Need To Care About: Get to know guard junior guard Allen Crabbe. He's a scorer who can use his 6-6 length and athleticism to shoot from the outside or get to the rim and either finish or draw contact. Not just a scoring machine, he also averaged six rebounds per game, almost three assists and over a steal per contest. He has an all-around floor game that head coaches salivate over while averaging 18.6 point points per game.
Really, How Deep Will The Run Be? With a home game against UNLV in San Jose, the Golden Bears will slip on into the round of 32 before getting bounced by Syracuse.

4. Syracuse (26-9)
Here's The Deal: The Orange struggled down the stretch of the Big East regular-season, but come tournament time they began to find themselves again. There's length and quickness everywhere with a big advantage on both ends of the court when things are going right. Perhaps most responsible for the late-season swoon was its inability to make sound judgments in regards to shot-selection. There also appears to have been a chemistry issue with forward James Southerland leaving and returning to the lineup to go along with too much of a reliance on the outside shot. And then he became Superman in the tournament nailing deep ball after deep ball. If Syracuse can take good shots and continue to get the play it has gotten from Southerland, this is a team that could be really dangerous.
Player You Need To Care About: C.J. Fair may have been the leading stat-stuffer throughout the year, but the kid most responsible for the fate of Syracuse in the tournament as Southerland. He can be lethal from behind the arc, but can also get on the inside because of his length and athleticism. He doesn't lead the team in scoring, but he is the most capable of scoring and carrying his team.
Really, How Deep Will The Run Be? The Orange will have a tough time getting by Montana but will open it up against Cal before getting bounced by Indiana in the Sweet 16.


13. Montana (25-6)
Here's The Deal: The Grizzlies deserved an NCAA bid, and they got it by polishing off Weber State in the championship game of the Big Sky tournament. Over the first part of the season, Montana dominated by simply shooting the ball well, both from three and inside the arc, but there's also a little something extra that you can't put your finger on. They are battle tested and have been able to win their fair share of the many close games they've been involved in. The lack of defense at times and rebounding at others has to be a concern though as tournament play looms.
Player You Need To Care About: Montana forward Mathias Ward was the leading scorer for the Grizzlies, but he's been lost for the season because of injury. The next man up is 6-5 guard/forward Kareem Jamar, averaging just over 14 points per game while also serving as the team's leading rebounder and best threat to pull up from deep. He also likes to get to the rim, draw contact and get some freebies from the free-throw line. He'll need to be the guy without Ward.
Really, How Deep Will The Run Be? This will be the hot pick by many to pull off the huge first round upset over Syracuse, and it could be possible if the Big Easters revert back to their late-season clunker form. It won't happen, but it could be a good battle.

2013 NCAA Basketball Tournament Team Breakdowns
Play-In Games | South - Top Half | South - Bottom Half 
East - Top Half | East - Bottom Half
Midwest - Top Half | Midwest - Bottom Half
West - Top Half | West - Bottom Half