East Region analysis of Baylor, No. 2 Kentucky, No. 3 Purdue and more – The Athletic

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The Eastern Region features last year’s national champion Baylor as the No. 1 seed, as well as the two teams with the most NCAA Tournament titles in history: No. 4 seed UCLA (11 times) and No. 2 seed Kentucky (eight). Meanwhile, No. 3 seed Purdue is seeking its first Final Four appearance since 1980. Another blue blood, North Carolina, is here as the No. 8 seed, and Indiana will join the party if he passes from the First Four.

So there shouldn’t be a shortage of potentially interesting storylines or matchups (Kentucky vs. Murray State in the second round, anyone?) as the teams try to get to Philadelphia.

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1. Baylor Bear

Round 1: vs. No. 16 Norfolk State Thursday (2 p.m. ET, TBS)

Record: 26-6 (14-4 Big 12)

How they got here: Since winning the national championship last season, Scott Drew’s program hasn’t stopped. With four new starters, the Bears won their first 13 and didn’t stray from the top 10 during the regular season. Picked to finish third in the Big 12 preseason poll, Baylor shared the conference title with Kansas and had 10 Quad 1 wins. The last team to repeat as national champions was Florida, led by Billy Donovan, in 2006 and 2007.

What you need to know: The Bears rank in the top 20 nationally in offensive and defensive efficiency.

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