NCAA East Regional Breakdown

Miami is LEastCoastBears' pick to come out of the East. - USA TODAY Sports

Hooray for Cal getting to play in San Jose (California, not to be confused with the capital of Costa Rica...for those planning to go cheer on the Bears)! Should they make it past UNLV, this is how the Bears' path to the Final Four would look like.

Looking at the East Regional, it is easy to see two number 1 seed caliber teams in Indiana and Miami (FL). Miami, being the ACC champion in both the regular season and the conference tournament, was a surprise to many for not being a 1 seed and a trendy choice to make it to the Final Four from the East. Indiana, ranked number 1 in the country and the supposedly only team to have locked up a 1 seed before Saturday (the Hoosiers losing in the B1G tournament semifinal cost them the chance to play in the Midwest regional), have been a favorite to win the NCAA title since the preseason (of course Kentucky was also considered a preseason top 5 and they are not in the tournament at all).

Here is the full list of teams in the East Regional:

East Regional
1. Indiana vs. 16. LIU-Brooklyn or James Madison
2. Miami vs. 15. Pacific
3. Marquette vs. 14. Davidson
4. Syracuse vs. 13. Montana
5. UNLV vs. 12. California
6. Butler vs. 11. Bucknell
7. Illinois vs. 10. Colorado
8. North Carolina State vs. 9. Temple

Let's take a quick look at each match:

Round of 64:

No. 12 CALIFORNIARecord: 20-11 (12.6 Pac-12)

Last 10 games: 7-3
Best wins: Oregon (x2), Arizona, UCLA
Key losses: Wisconsin, Creighton, UCLA
Leading scorer: Allen Crabbe (18.7)

RPI: 53

Ken Pomroy's Rating: 58

No. 5 UNLVRecord: 25-9 (10-6 MWC)

Last 10 games: 7-3
Best wins: California, SDSU, New Mexico
Key losses: Oregon, UNC, New Mexico (x2), Colorado St.
Leading scorer: Anthony Bennett (16.2)

RPI: 22

Ken Pomroy's Rating: 36

A lot has been said about this matchup here already and a lot more will be said before the game is played on Thursday. The key percentages to remember is that 12 seeds have won 38 out of 74 times or 33.9% in NCAA tournament history.

ESPN Giant Killer blog (Insider) picked this game as 10th most likely upset:

(10) No. 12 California Golden Bears versus No. 5 UNLV Rebels

Upset chance: 22.3 percent

What you need to know: Despite shooting poorly from downtown and forcing few turnovers, the Golden Bears have a shot against over-seeded UNLV, which our model pegs as over-seeded.

That description is a bit redundant...but the key things to know that these upset percentage guesses are made WITHOUT the consideration that San Jose could be a real home court advantage for the Bears (or how the Bears are supposedly dropped by one line in the seeding process).
By the Pomroy Rating, a predictive metric described by wikipedia as having 73% success rate, UNLV is actually pretty overrated. The Runnin' Rebels' recent NCAA trackrecord is also spotty as they have been knocked out in the first game (known as "second round" now) for 3 straight year, including by Colorado last year.

Round of 32

Should the Bears survive the first game, they would take on the winner of Syracuse - Montana.

No. 4 SYRACUSERecord: 26-9 (11-7 Big East)

Last 10 games: 5-5

Best wins: SDSU, Louisville, Villanova
Key losses: Marquette, L'ville, G'town (x2)
Leading scorer: C.J. Fair (14.4)

RPI: 13

Ken Pomroy's Rating: 13

No. 13 MONTANARecord: 24-6 (19-1 Big Sky)

Last 10 games: 8-2
Best wins: Weber St. (x2), San Diego
Key losses: BYU, Colorado St., Davidson
Leading scorer: Mathias Ward (14.8)

RPI: 76

Ken Pomroy's Rating: 145

Syracuse is the clear favorite in this case by KenPom (13th seed has won 21.4% of the time, by the way). However, Syracuse have lost quite a few games this year (like basically every team in college basketball this year), including to Temple (9th seed in the East Regional). Temple, have lost to Xavier, while Xavier have lost to Pacific (15th seed in East Regional). If you do recall the DirectTV tournament in Anaheim in the beginning of the season, then you would recall that Cal did beat Pacific, who have beat Xavier, who have beat Temple, who have beat Syracuse. By the power of associativity, the Bears may be able to beat Syracuse.

Sweet Sixteen:

Bears' likely matchup in the Sweet Sixteen in DC would be 1 seed Indiana.

No. 1 INDIANARecord: 27-6 (14-4 Big Ten)

Last 10 games: 7-3

Best wins: G'town, Michigan(x2), MSU (x2)
Key losses: Butler, Wisconsin(x2), Ohio St.
Leading scorer: Cody Zeller (16.9)

RPI: 8

Ken Pomroy's Rating: 3

Indiana's first game is against the winner of

No. 16 JAMES MADISONRecord: 20-14 (11-7 CAA)

Last 10 games: 7-3
Best wins: San Diego, SJSU
Key losses: UCLA, Towson
Leading scorer: Rayshawn Goins (12.7)

AND

No. 16 LIU BROOKLYNRecord: 20-13 (12-6 Northeast)

Last 10 games: 7-3
Best wins: Lafayette, Wagner
Key losses: Maryland, UK, Seton Hall
Leading scorer: Jamal Olasewere (18.9)

but neither of those team should be able to make history and pull off the first victory by a 16 seed in the NCAA men's tournament.

By the same faulty as before, we can say that Indiana has lost to Butler (6th seed in East Regional, coincidentally), who have lost to Xavier, who have lost to Pacific (15th seed), who have lost to Cal. It is actually a bit surprising how many of the teams in this regional have already played one another already this season.

In my best case scenario for Cal, I see the Bears avenge the earlier UNLV loss and then pull off a crazy upset over Syracuse to a wild San Jose "home" crowd. The Bears travel East to DC, where I somehow get a good ticket without spending my life saving nor make a deal with the devil...and the Bears fall to the incredibly athletic front court of Indiana. Center Cody Zeller and forward Victor Oladipo (Big Ten defensive player of the year) can both dominate the board. Even if Richard Solomon and David Kravish play their very best, Cal frontline can not match that of Indiana. The usual equalizer in college basketball is the 3 point shooting, unfortunately 3 point shooting is actually one of Cal's main weakness. Of course, I'm often known to be wrong...

For Indiana to make it to the Sweet Sixteen, they would need to beat the winner of

No. 8 N.C. STATERecord: 24-10 (11-7 ACC)

Last 10 games: 7-3
Best wins: UConn, Duke, UNC
Key losses: Michigan, Miami, Duke
Leading scorer: C.J. Leslie (15.0)

RPI: 32

Ken Pomroy Rating: 35

No. 9 TEMPLERecord: 23-9 (11-5 A-10)

Last 10 games: 8-2
Best wins: Syracuse, St. Louis, VCU
Key losses: Duke, Kansas, Xavier, Butler
Leading scorer: Khalif Wyatt (19.8)

RPI: 41

Ken Pomroy Rating: 68

By KenPom, NC State is the favorite. NC State also boost 3 NBA quality player on that team.

ELITE EIGHT:

In the Elite Eight round, if Cal can make it there, the Bears would likely face the 2 seed Miami or the 6 seed Butler (3 seed Marquette is a popular choice to be upset by either 14 seed Davidson or Butler). Also in this side are the familiar foes of 10 seed Colorado (who split their two games with Cal) and 15 seed Pacific. Just so they don't feel left out, this half of the regional also include 11 seed Bucknell (who plays Butler in the first round) and 7 seed Illinois (who have beaten Butler and Indiana this year).

No. 2 MIAMIRecord: 27-6 (15-3 ACC)

Last 10 games: 7-3

Best wins: MSU, Duke, NC State (x2)
Key losses: Arizona, Wake Forest, Duke
Leading scorer: Shane Larkin (14.2)

RPI: 4

Ken Pomroy Rating: 14

No. 3 MARQUETTERecord: 23-8 (14-4 Big East)

Last 10 games: 7-3
Best wins: G'town, Pittsburgh, Syracuse
Key losses: Butler, Florida, L'ville, G'town
Leading scorer: Vander Blue (14.3)

RPI: 12

Ken Pomroy Rating: 25

No. 6 BUTLERRecord: 26-8 (11-5 A-10)

Last 10 games: 6-4
Best wins: UNC, Indiana, Gonzaga
Key losses: Illinois, Saint Louis (x3), VCU
Leading scorer: Rotnei Clarke (16.7)

RPI: 19

Ken Pomroy Rating: 52

Given the amount of upsets in college basketball this year, expect the unexpected. Every team is vulnerable of being upset on any given day. Should the Bears do meet Miami in the Elite Eight, we can note that Miami lost to Arizona who have lost to Cal. Nevertheless, if I am filling out a bracket right now, I would probably go with Miami as the winner of this regional...unless they get upset by Cal.

GO BEARS!

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