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NCAA East region capsules

By Emily Wright
Globe Correspondent / March 15, 2011

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1. Ohio State

Record: 32-2

Best win: Florida

Player to watch: Jared Sullinger, who will be named national freshman of the year and possibly first-team All-America, is averaging 17.3 ppg and 9.7 rpg. He’s the boss near the basket.

Notable: The Buckeyes won their first 24-straight before dropping a 71-67 road loss to Wisconsin on February 12. Ohio State hosted the Badgers on March 6 and won 93-65.

2. North Carolina

Record: 26-7

Best win: Duke

Player to watch: The Tar Heels are anchored by freshman phenom Harrison Barnes (15 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 1.4 apg) who bombarded Clemson with 40 points in the ACC tournament semifinals Friday.

Notable: The Tar Heels took home the No. 1 spot in the ACC with a win over Duke on March 5, 81-67, but lost to the Blue Devils in the ACC tournament title game on Saturday, 75-58.

3. Syracuse

Record: 26-7

Best win: Notre Dame

Player to watch: Rick Jackson, a 6-foot-9-inch center, is an outstanding low post player who averages 13 ppg and 10.6 rpg.

Notable: A brief February slump when the Orange lost five of seven seems to have been left behind. The Orange have multiple offensive threats and always benefit from the play of their 2-3 zone on defense.

4. Kentucky

Record: 25-8

Best win: Florida

Player to watch: Freshman guard Brandon Knight lead the team in scoring with 17.5 ppg and adds 4.2 apg and 4 rpg.

Notable: The Wildcats three leading scorers -- Knight, Terrence Jones (16.5) and Doron Lamb (13.2) -- are all freshmen. They took down Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama and finally Florida (70-54) to clinch the SEC title Sunday.

5. West Virginia

Record: 20-11

Best win: Notre Dame

Player to watch: Kevin Jones is a junior forward who contributes 13.1 ppg and grabs 7.4 rpg.

Notable: West Virginia has a better Big East record (11-7) than No. 22 Georgetown (10-8) and No. 19 UConn (9-9).

6. Xavier

Record: 24-7

Best win: Georgia

Player to watch: Tu Holloway is Xavier’s leader in points (20.2) and assists (5.5) per game.

Notable: Xavier won nine straight games, all over conference opponents, before losing to Dayton in the Atlantic 10 title game, 68-67

7. Washington

Record: 23-10

Best win: Arizona

Player to watch: Junior guard Isaiah Thomas (16.8 ppg, 6 apg, 3.6 rpg) hit a buzzer-beating jumper in overtime to help propel the Huskies over Arizona in the Pac 10 tournament title game.

Notable: Washington is the No. 3 team in the country in scoring average (83.5 ppg) and eighth overall in assists per game (17.2).

8. George Mason

Record: 26-6

Best win: Duquesne

Player to watch: Patriots senior Cam Long was named to All-CAA for the third year in a row and averages 15.3 ppg, 4.6 rpg and 2.8 apg.

Notable: George Mason went on a 16-game win streak before losing to Virginia Commonwealth in the CAA Semifinals 79-63, on Sunday.

9. Villanova

Record: 21-11

Best win: Syracuse

Player to watch: Corey Fisher averages 15.4 ppg, 4.8 apg and 2.8 rpg for the Wildcats.

Notable: Villanova has lost its last five games to Syracuse, St. John’s, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh and Southern Florida.

10. Georgia

Record: 21-11

Best win: Kentucky

Player to watch: Trey Thompkins was named first team All-SEC for leading the Bulldogs in scoring (16.1) and rebounds (7.5).

Notable: Georgia lost back-to-back games to Alabama in its last three, including a 65-59 overtime loss in the SEC Tournament quarterfinals when the Bulldogs failed to score in the final 3:35 of OT.

11. Marquette

Record: 20-14

Best win: Connecticut

Player to watch: Jimmy Butler, an athletic and creative 6-foot-7 forward, leads the team in scoring with 16 ppg and averages 6.1 rpg and 2.3 apg.

Notable: Marquette slipped into this tournament late after season filled with man peaks (UConn) and valleys (Seton Hall) which explains its 9-9 Big East record. This team is well-balanced and unselfish.

12. Clemson

Record: 21-11

Best win: Virginia Tech

Player to watch: Demontez Stitt, a 6-foot-2 senior guard, averages 14.7 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 3.4 apg and scored a career-high 25 points in an ACC Tournament semifinal overtime loss to North Carolina, 92-87.

Notable: After edging out Virginia Tech 69-60 in the first round of the ACC Tournament, the Tigers trounced Boston College 70-47 in the quarterfinals and forced a semifinal contest against North Carolina into overtime Saturday, but lost 92-87.

13. Princeton

Record: 25-6

Best win: Harvard

Player to watch: Senior Kareem Maddox is averaging 13.9 ppg, 7.1 rpg and 2.5 apg.

Notable: Princeton took down Harvard 63-62 in a game that decided which of the two teams would have an automatic bid for the tournament when Douglas Davis sank a jumper with 1 second remaining in the game.

14. Indiana St.

Record: 20-13

Best win: Missouri State

Player to watch: Dwayne Lathan, a junior guard, leads the team in scoring (11 ppg) and is second in rebounds with 4.8 per game.

Notable: The Sycamores lost to Evansville, Wichita State and Missouri State in the regular season, before defeating the three in the Missouri Valley Conference tournament en route to a 60-56 victory of MOSU and the first NCAA berth since 2001. Of course, the school’s most famous team was the 1979 Final Four team with Larry Bird.

15. Long Island U.

Record: 27-5

Best win: Robert Morris

Player to watch: Jamel Olasewere is an athletic 6-7 forward who could overpower opponents in the Northeast Conference. He averages 12.9 ppg

Notable: The Blackbirds, who average a high-octane 81 points per game, won their last 13 consecutive contests, including an 85-82 overtime victory over Robert Morris to take home the Northeast Men’s tournament title Wednesday, earning LIU its first tournament bid in 14 years.

16. Alabama State

Record: 17-17

Best win: Grambling State

Player to watch: Tramayne Moorer, a Haynesville, Ala.native and 6-foot-5 forward drops 12.5 ppg and grabs 5.7 rpg.

Notable: After going 6-16, the Hornets won 11 of their last 12 including a commanding 65-48 victory over Grambling State in the SWAC title game Saturday. Alabama St. lost to Grambling St. in the final regular season game, 74-73.

16. Texas-San Antonio

Record: 19-13

Best win: McNeese St.

Player to watch: Senior guard Devin Gibson has filled up the stat sheet all season, averaging 17 points, 5.4 rebounds, 5.6 assists and 2.7 steals per game.

Notable: After a mid-season, five-game losing streak, the Roadrunners ended the year with a five-game win streak capped with a defeat of McNeese St. in the Southland Conference championship.