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March 20, 2013

Prepare to have your bracket busted this year

This season everyone is ripe for the picking.

With no overwhelming favorite in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament like Kentucky was last season, we could be looking at a roller coaster ride of a tournament season. That’s a great thing for college basketball fans and a bad thing for everyone’s bracket, which will probably be marked to pieces by the time the Sweet 16 rolls around next week.

With the exception of mid majors Gonzaga (31-2) and Memphis (30-4), every team in the field has at least five losses and there are several small conference teams that appear to be poised to knock off a giant.

Here’s a look at each region and what the future could have in store for the 68 teams battling for the National Championship.

East Region

:Top Seed: Indiana (27-6)

Best First Round Matchup: No. 6 Butler vs. No. 11 Bucknell. If you like good teams from mid-major conferences this may be the most interesting first round matchup as Butler of the Atlantic-10 and Bucknell of the Patriots League square off on Thursday afternoon (12:40 p.m.).

Butler enters the tournament battle tested in a tough Atlantic-10 Conference. The Bulldogs can grind out wins and score, and have had recent success in the NCAA Tournament. Butler also has one of the best coaches in the nation at the helm in Brad Stevens.

Bucknell, the Patriot League champions, enters the tournament on a hot streak as winners of seven straight and brings one of the best defensive units in the country to the tournament. Expect a low-scoring, grinding out affair, a type of game that both teams are used to playing and both teams thrive in.

:Upset Alert: No. 3 Marquette has played a who’s who of ranked teams this season in the Big East, but it has a difficult first round draw in No. 14 Davidson. The Wildcats, Southern Conference champions, are winners of 17 straight games and are your typical dangerous mid-major team who can score the basketball and most notably shoot the three.

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