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Sweet 16 Breakdown: East Region
By Reel Robinson

I want to continue my matchup breakdown of the Sweet 16 with a little detail on the East Region. The East Region has some strong teams playing for their chance to reach the Final Four. Virginia took care of No. 8 Memphis in the round of 32 setting up a match up with one of the favorites to win the title Michigan State. Both teams are coming off winning their respective conference tournaments and playing great basketball to end the season. The other matchup in this region is between two sleeper teams. No. 3 Iowa State will take on No. 7 UCONN, which is a match up I am looking forward too. Star Huskie point guard Shabazz Napier led his team to the Sweet 16 following some impressive games in the first two rounds. Both games will be battles.

No. 4 Michigan State has hit their stride during the latter end of the season. After suffering injuries throughout the season, the Spartans have gotten back to full strength and are playing with a chip on their shoulder. Veteran leadership from senior guard Keith Appling and senior center Adreian Payne have put them in a position to go to their first Final Four in their college careers, something coach Tom Izzo has been able to produce with nearly every athlete coming through his program. The No. 4 seed will have their hands full with the No. 1 seed Virginia Cavaliers, who dominated Memphis in the round of 32. The Cavaliers are led by 6’6 point guard Joe Harris and a strong defense that forces teams to make untimely in game adjustments. This game is a chance for Virginia Head Coach Tony Bennett to go up against one of college basketballs’ iconic coaches in Izzo.

Izzo, who is the guru of game time adjustments, may be the key component to a Spartan victory. If Spartan forward Brandon Dawson has another big game, the Spartans will be marching on to the Elite Eight. He led the Spartans over Harvard with 26 points and nine rebounds and can be a problem for the Cavaliers. All that being said I believe the Cavaliers will play hard and have a chance at the end, but the Spartans will come out on top in a close game. That’s hard for me to even say as a Wolverines fan.

The other game in the East Region will be between No. 3 Iowa State and No. 7 UCONN, who are both coming off last second wins in the second round. Napier has been every bit of the All American the huskies needed in the first two rounds. His UCONN team will battle with an Iowa State team who has been playing just as well if not better than the Spartans over the last month. They even managed to withstand elimination against UNC on Sunday without one of their most effective players Georges Niang, who suffered a broken foot in the first round of the tournament. With one of their leaders down, the Cyclones relied on a strong game from senior guard Deandre Kane who scored 24 points including the game winning layup with clock winding down. If Iowa State can sustain another game like the one against UNC without one of their key players they may be moving on to an Elite Eight matchup. Napier will have something to say about that, but I still have the Cyclones advancing.

Who do you have winning the East Region Sweet 16 leave a comment below?

Friday Sweet 16 games

No. 1 Virginia vs. No. 4 Michigan State 3/28 9:57pm EST

No. 3 Iowa State vs. No. 7 UConn 3/28 7:27pm EST

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