NCAAB: Previewing NCAA Tournament East Region - U. Conn and the Field

darren cooper
Darren Cooper
NCAA Basketball Sports News


  • The East Region of the NCAA Tournament is topped by tourney favorite - and defending champion - U. Conn, who went 31-3 this season. The Huskies are 20-11 against the spread.
  • No team has repeated as NCAA Tournament champs since Florida in 2006 and 2007.
  • Small schools fill out the rest of the East, including Drake, South Dakota State, Morehead State and Yale.

Three of last year’s Final Four teams are all in the East Region, but the one everyone is talking about is U. Conn.

The Huskies and tough-talking coach Danny Hurley have been on top of the polls all season and are the consensus No. 1 team in the tournament. They rank sixth in the NCAA in shooting at 49.6 percent and are a tremendous defensive team. They open their tournament against Atlantic Sun winner Stetson, who is definitely just happy to be here.

Here and now is the best time of year for Michigan sports betting with March Madness kicking off on Thursday with games in the main draw. PointsBet and BetMGM will have a full listing of markets on each tournament game, including props and totals.

What Do The Oddsmakers Say? 

U. Conn is the Beast of this East. BetMGM, DraftKings and FanDuel all have the Huskies as +400 to win the NCAA Tournament. They are the favorite.

The Huskies are also the almost even-money favorite to win this region. They are +110 at FanDuel to win the East, followed by Iowa State. Of the four region winner bets at FanDuel, U. Conn has the lowest odds.

Best First Round Game 

Ivy League teams always become fan favorites in March Madness, and this year’s Yale team fits the bill.

The 13th seeded Bulldogs take on Auburn in the first round. The Tigers are coached by Bruce Pearl and love to run and gun, scoring 83 points a game. They finished in a tie for second in the SEC and feature 6-10 junior Johni Broome, who started at Morehead State. Auburn won the SEC Tournament for just the third time.

Yale doesn’t see many 6-10 players in the Ivy League. They finished 22-9, second in the Ivy regular season and needed a last-second shot to win the Ivy League tournament over Brown. Yale is led by Danny Wolf and his 14.3 points per game. Yale is 17-12 against the spread this season. Auburn is 21-11, but just 14-20 over/under.

Get To Know the East Region 

Florida Atlantic (8 seed) and San Diego State (5 seed) each made the Final Four last year along with U. Conn. The Owls started the season 10th in the nation, but finished 25-8. They get Northwestern in the first round. The Wildcats are in their third NCAA Tournament ever, and it’s the first time they’ve been in it back-to-back years.

The Aztecs are a five seed, despite finishing fifth in the Mountain West Conference. They’ve played five OT games this year and gone 3-2 in them.

Sixth-seeded BYU shoots over 11 threes per game, which is second in the nation. They meet Duquesne in the first round. This is the Dukes first time in the Big Dance since 1977. They were a bid stealer winning the A-10 Tournament.

Watch out for Drake star Tucker DeVries. He’s been the Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year two years in a row. South Dakota State (15 seed) is in the tournament for the seventh time, but they’ve never won a game. 14 seed Morehead State is the alma mater of Super Bowl winning QB Phil Simms.

Born and raised in Louisiana, Darren Cooper has a fond appreciation for bayous, Mardi Gras beads and the sports betting industry. Darren has worked for multiple print and online publications since 1998, primarily as a sports columnist in the Northeast. He’s covered a Super Bowl (it was a blowout), the World Series (same) and the NBA Draft (man, those guys are tall). For the last few years he’s dug deep into the sports gambling industry as it exploded across America, learning how the legal sausage is made and how while all the sportsbooks look the same, they all have different identities and styles. He’s learned to always bet within his means -- and take the under. When not in front of his computer creating, Darren spends time with his three boys. He runs, reads and is always looking for the next big thing to write about.