The NCAA tournament is traditionally broken down into four regions: East, West, South and Midwest. Here we delve into this year’s East Region bracket odds and look at the history of the Region.
The entire 2021 NCAA tournament will be played in the state of Indiana due to COVID-19 precautions. March Madness laying locations include:
- Lucas Oil Stadium: Indianapolis, Indiana
- Bankers Life Fieldhouse: Indianapolis, Indiana
- Hinkle Fieldhouse: Indianapolis, Indiana
- Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall: Bloomington, Indiana
- Mackey Arena: West Lafayette, Indiana
- Indiana Farmers Coliseum: Indianapolis, Indiana
Sweet 16 and Elite 8 games will be played at Bankers Life Fieldhouse and Hinkle Fieldhouse. The Final 4 will be played at Lucas Oil Stadium.
This could give teams in the midwest a slight advantage due to little travel and the fact that their fanbases won’t have to travel far either. The NCAA will allow for fans at all of the above arenas in every round at 25% capacity.
2021 NCAA Tournament: East Region Bracket odds
Here are East Region bracket odds for the 2021 NCAA tournament.
16. Mount St. Mary's/Texas Southern
9. St. Bonaventure
4. Florida St.
13. UNC Greensboro
11. Michigan St./UCLA
14. Abilene Christian
East Region: What happened last time?
The 2020 NCAA tournament was wiped out due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Looking back to the 2019 tournament – the top seed in the East bracket was Duke.
The top four seeds in the region – No. 1 Duke, No. 2 Michigan State, No. 3 LSU and No. 4 Virginia Tech – all made the Regional semi-finals. Top East seeds Duke and Michigan State then met in the East Final with the Spartans edging the Blue Devils, 68-67, at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C..
Michigan State then lost in the National semi-finals to Texas Tech.
East Region history: First round upsets
Upsets, big and small, are a common occurrence in the East Region. The 2012 tournament was the only Big Dance since the turn of the century in which there wasn’t at least one first round upset in the East Region.
The craziest East bracket since 2000 came in 2010 when a 12 beat a 5, an 11 beat a 6, a 10 beat a 7 and a 9 toppled an 8. The biggest upsets in the region came with 14 seeds stunning 3 seeds. In 2016, Stephen F. Austin shocked West Virginia and in 2005 Bucknell upset Kansas.
Here is a look at all of the lower seeds that have taken down higher seeds in the first round of the East over the past 21 years.
- 2019: No. 12 Liberty over No. 5 Mississippi State, No. 10 Minnesota over No. 7 Louisville, No. 9 UCF over No. 8 VCU
- 2018: No. 13 Marshall over No. 4 Wichita State, No. 10 Butler over No. 7 Arkansas, No. 9 Alabama over No. 8 Virginia Tech
- 2017: No. 11 USC over No. 6 SMU
- 2016: No. 14 Stephen F. Austin over No. 3 West Virginia, No. 9 Providence over No. 8 USC
- 2015: No. 11 Dayton over No. 6 Providence
- 2014: No. 12 Harvard over No. 5 Cincinnati
- 2013: No. 12 California over UNLV, No. 9 Temple over No. 8 NC State
- 2012: None
- 2011: No. 11 Marquette over No. 6 Xavier
- 2010: No. 12 Cornell over No. 5 Temple, No. 11 Washington over No. 6 Marquette, No. 10 Missouri over No. 7 Clemson, No. 9 Wake Forest over No. 8 Texas
- 2009: No. 12 Wisconsin over No. 5 Florida State
- 2008: No. 9 Arkansas over No. 8 Indiana
- 2007: No. 9 Michigan State over No. 8 Marquette
- 2006: No. 11 George Mason over No. 6 Michigan State
- 2005: No. 14 Bucknell over No. 3 Kansas, No. 10 North Carolina State, No. 9 Iowa State over No. 8 Minnesota
- 2004: No. 12 Manhattan over No. 5 Florida
- 2003: No. 12 Butler over No. 5 Mississippi State, No. 10 Auburn over No. 7 St. Joseph’s
- 2002: No. 12 Tulsa over No. 5 Marquette, No. 11 Southern Illinois over No. 6 Texas Tech
- 2001: No. 12 Utah State over No. 5 Ohio State, No. 9 Missouri over No. 8 Georgia
- 2000: No. 11 Pepperdine over No. 6 Indiana, No. 10 Seton Hall over No. 7 Oregon
NCAA champions from the East Region
The East Region has produced a respectable eight NCAA champions since 1990. Considering the Region often has top seeds from elite basketball conferences like the ACC and Big East, this is not too surprising.
The East had a three-year win streak in the early 2000s with Duke, Maryland and Syracuse going all the way. It also produced the second lowest seed to ever win the National Championship when UConn shocked the world as a 7 seed in 2014.
NCAA champs coming from the East Region over the past 31 years include:
- 2018 Villanova
- 2014 UConn
- 2005 North Carolina
- 2003 Syracuse
- 2002 Maryland
- 2001 Duke
- 1993 North Carolina
- 1992 Duke
Here is a look at NCAA champs by region and seed since 1990:
|2020||*Tournament canceled due to COVID-19 pandemic||N/A||N/A|
How the East Region is selected
On Selection Sunday each year, the NCAA Div. 1 men’s basketball “Selection Committee” meet to determine the field, choose each team’s seed and which region each team will be playing in. Kentucky athletic director Mitch Barnhart is the current chairman of the Div. 1 men’s basketball committee. Thirty-two teams receive automatic bids by virtue of winning their respective conference tournament. The committee chooses the teams who receive “at-large” bids.
At-large selection and seeding is based on:
- Strength of schedule
- Scoring margin
- Location of wins, losses
- Net offensive and defensive efficiency
- Quality of wins and losses
As for which region each team is placed in, the committee will look to give top teams preferential treatment when it comes to travel. The best teams in the field will typically play close to home, and the teams that just barely make it will often have to go on the road.
For instance, the top teams in the 2019 East Region were:
Duke, Michigan State, LSU and Virginia Tech.
Had Michigan State posted a slightly better regular season record in 2019, they likely would have wound up in their traditional bracket – the Midwest. And had LSU been slightly better in the regular season, they would have likely landed in their traditional bracket of the South.