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Anonymously Through The Brackets: East Region Preview

Everyone’s excited to see what Marquette does here, but what’s up with everyone else, too?

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: DEC 03 Wisconsin at Marquette Photo by Larry Radloff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Sick of hard-hitting analysis of the 2023 NCAA Tournament? Up to your eyeballs in expert picks chock-full of astute takes on players to watch and budding upsets?

Fear not, friends: your pals at Anonymous Eagle are here to inject some half-baked, homespun “insight” into the proceedings, with our (mostly) annual region-by-region tour, as we go Anonymously Through the Brackets.

For each region, we’ll give you our patented Anonymous Eagle Half-Arsed Analysis with: a gutless pick to win the region; a sleeper regional champ; a CRUSH YOUR MAN upset special; a player/team we’d pay to watch; a player most likely to carry his team singlehandedly to the Sweet 16; and the best player in the region that you’ve never heard of before.

Let’s see what Bracketville has in store for us in the East Region...

GUTLESS WONDER Pick to Win the Region

There are no guts to be seen here, sir. If you, the discerning Marquette fan in the target audience for these previews, are not finishing the East Region out with your very own Marquette Golden Eagles, then what’s the darn point? Unless you’re firmly on the 16 seed upset bandwagon since UMBC pummeled Virginia (why would you do that to yourself), or you somehow pick #8 Memphis/#9 Florida Atlantic to beat #1 Purdue in the second round (again, why), these two would most likely be meeting once more in the Elite Eight. We only lost by two on the road against the Boilermakers, and that was before we were the ranked powerhouse that we’ve been the rest of the season. It’s not that far of a stretch to think that we can take revenge at Madison Square Garden and advance to the Final Four. And anyways, I’m a big fan of watching Tyler Kolek’s ego visibly increasing. Pleeeeease send me to the Final Four with him.

CHEX BOLD PARTY MIX Bold Pick To Win The Region

Oral Roberts. Send tweet.

They’re the #12 seed in the East Region, but as far as twelves go, they’re pretty neat. They went 30-4 overall this season, and 18-0 in the Summit League; good for them! They clearly know how to do what they do best. I’ve had a special affinity for this team since the 2021 bracket, in which I pulled them and Colgate to the Sweet 16 just to laugh and make jokes about brushing your teeth... but then ORU actually made it there! Colgate lost in the first round, because they hate fun. This is almost exclusively why ORU is my bold pick, and I will not be taking criticism for it at this time. Also Max Abmas is neat.

CRUSH YOUR MAN Upset Special

The most likely encounter for an upset here in the East is between #4 Tennessee and #13 Louisiana. Zakai Zeigler left the court for the season during the Volunteers’ match against Arkansas because he tore his ACL. Zeigler is an important addition to their team; he had been averaging 11 points and 5.5 assists per game this season. Without him, Tennessee lost their last regular season game, and then once more against Missouri in the SEC tournament, and they were already kind of struggling before that. I’m not too caught up on what Louisiana’s deal is, but if Tennessee can’t keep up without their best point guard, and their great defense has been sliding all season anyway, then who knows what we may see from the Ragin’ Cajuns?

Player I’d Pay To Watch

Hey, you remember those two brothers we had at Marquette for a bit? Yes, the ones who mysteriously transferred because The Coach Who Shall Not Be Named was a bad person who should feel bad. Joey Hauser’s still at #7 Michigan State, so I would assume it’s probable that they’ll make it to the second round after facing off against #10 USC. I’m not saying I want to watch Joey specifically play, which is the usual point of this section, but I am saying I want to watch us beat the pants off of him and the Spartans. I’m manifesting a bodysnatching dunk from OMax Prosper, Ja Morant-style, if this match does happen. And, the hilariously ironic part about this is the fact that I personally will actually not have to pay to watch Joey play if we do meet in the second round, but I will be there, moo hoo ha ha.

The Chiropractor Special: aka Who Can Put The Team On His Back?

I would in fact bore you with the details of Big East Player of the Year Tyler Kolek and how wonderfully wonderful he is, particularly in the last month or so of the regular season, but in the name of showcasing other teams for this, I won’t. Let’s turn our attention to #6 Kentucky, who has been a little bit weird and bad this past season, at least relative to UK standards. Oscar Tschiebwe was 2022 National Player of the Year, and while he hasn’t necessarily played as such this year even on his own, if the gears turn the right way, he has the potential to pick up UK and run with them. We know that he wants to be on the court with those that will fight with him, even the walk ons.

Best Guy You’ve Never Heard Of

This is a Marquette blog, meaning that if you’re reading this, you’re maybe not too familiar with teams outside the Midwest, or our Big East conference brethren. If you’ll so kindly pivot with me down south to #9 Florida Atlantic, let’s take a look at Johnell Davis. The 6’4” third-year guard is from Gary, Indiana- which is the most ridiculous and therefore iconic city name to exist, so he’s automatically earning Best Guy points in my book. He averaged 13.5 points this season, the highest data point being the 36 he grabbed up during a win against conference opponent UAB where the final margin was only 2 points. Davis is pretty consistent when it comes to shooting further from the net: he shoots 85% in free throws, 48% in long 2s, and 40% in three pointers, which makes him one of the best long range shooters for the Owls. They’ll go up against #8 Memphis this week, meaning that it should be a mostly fair toss up to see who advances.