NCAA Tournament: Breaking down the East Region

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Twenty straight years of doing something at this level is pretty consistent. Unlike in years past, the Spartans weren't exactly considered a lock, but this is the type of team that could surprise some people. North Carolina and Duke?

Jacksonville State prediction and game preview, as the No. 2 Cardinals and No. 15 Gamecocks face off in the NCAA Tournament. And if our young big guys come along and guard the basket for us a little bit better and rebound, I think that gives us a real chance against anybody. In general, I'm proud of this team for what they accomplished.

"I definitely think it was eye-opening because after we lost we went home", Nairn said. The Cardinals have a collective 13-7 record in neutral site games played in Indianapolis, including a 9-2 record in NCAA Tournament games played in Indy. Louisville faced its biggest deficit of the season while hosting Virginia in late December, falling behind by 21 points midway through the second half, but fought back and cut the deficit to three possessions with under four minutes to play. MI advanced to the Big Ten Tournament final with a 75-55 second-round win over Illinois (March 9), a 74-70 overtime victory over top-seeded Purdue in the quarterfinals (March 10), and an 84-77 triumph over Minnesota in the semifinals (March 11). He's close friends with MSU's freshmen class, including Miles Bridges, who he'd likely be matched up against - both are wings, playing power forward. That was more than any other conference, but fell short of the record 11 by the Big East in 2011.

K-State's grown used to playing against the odds throughout this season. He's grateful not to be part of team that snapped the streak.

"It's just the same thing I've been saying", Ellis said. Las Vegas odds have no bearing on how the games actually turn out, but oddsmakers are so good at their craft that they rarely miss.

My last two upsets that I want to alert you to are on the 5/12 and 6/11 lines on the right side of the bracket.

Sound familiar? If so, it's because the philosophy embraced by Beilein's team happens to be identical to the one embraced by Underwood's programs.

Three losses in the last five games doesn't exactly inspire confidence, watching UofL give up big leads in a couple of those games.

"I think that's a sign of a team that's grown", Underwood said of both team's ascents since January 21 - another glaring similarity.

"I'm going to really look at that, I really am", Izzo said. Do you match up with somebody? This year's version played against Providence and SC so they've already faced a few Tournament-level teams. "If somebody has one or two, that's one big feather in our cap".

Wake Forest (19-13) is coached by former Kansas player Danny Manning, who helped knock K-State out of the 1988 NCAA tournament on the way to helping the Jayhawks win the title. And a win there will send Michigan State back to Kansas City for the regionals, and a look back at even more ground covered by Izzo and the Spartans.