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Snap Judgments: East Region Preview

Photo by Robert Cole
Mike Krzyzewski (r.) and Duke bested Mike White's Florida at the Jimmy V. Classic in Madison Square Garden in December. An Elite Eight rematch between the two in the same venue could be in the cards for next weekend. (Robert Cole/ALOST)
Mike Krzyzewski (r.) and Duke bested Mike White’s Florida at the Jimmy V. Classic in Madison Square Garden in December. An Elite Eight rematch between the two in the same venue could be in the cards. (Robert Cole/ALOST)

The Madness is here!

With apologies to Christmastime and St. Patrick’s Day (the latter being just around the corner), the most wonderful time of the year – especially for sports fans – is nigh, with the 2017 NCAA Tournament officially getting started today with the play-in games taking place in Dayton. Throughout most of the season, A Lot of Sports Talk has had the honor of being able to have a photographer courtside for many of the game’s biggest contests, and in so doing, has managed to take photos of players and coaches from teams that, combined, make up more than half of the 2017 NCAA Tournament field. Hmm…what’s there to do with all of these pictures?

How about creating a super duper photo gallery and fuse it with our NCAA Tournament preview?

Well, that’s exactly what we’ve done, as the next four “Snap Judgments” galleries will all be an extensive display of photos, taken from our lenses, of the major players who make up each of the four regions of the NCAA Tournament. Along with the photos, the captions will provide details on each of the teams highlighted as we preview almost each team in each region and edify you with what you need to know to better familiarize yourself with those teams. At the end of each gallery, we make our prediction as to which team we believe will make the Final Four in Glendale, Ariz.

Our first preview is the East Region, where the defending national champions reside, the top-seeded Villanova Wildcats. Can the Wildcats be the first team since the 2006 and 2007 Florida Gators to repeat as national champions? How much momentum can second-seeded Duke carry over from its thrilling four days at the ACC Tournament in Brooklyn into the NCAA Tournament? Though a matchup between the top two seeds at Madison Square Garden with a Final Four berth at stake is a dream scenario, there are many teams in the region who are capable of foiling those plans, including No. 8 Wisconsin, a team that has made it to the Final Four in two of the past three seasons and has key players from those teams still on the roster and looking to end their careers with another trip to the Final Four.

We would not have been able to entertain this story idea without the yeoman effort of our photographer Robert Cole, who snapped almost all of the 39 pictures in this gallery. Special thanks also goes out to another of our photographers, Stefanie Rodríguez (a.k.a. That Photographer Girl), as well as Mario Parham from The Rebel Walk publication located in Oxford, Miss., whose work is also featured in this gallery. Note: Not all teams are represented with a photo, so our apologies if your team isn’t a part of the gallery. That doesn’t mean we don’t have love for you. More often than not, that means we weren’t able to make it out to the school’s location to have a photographer present to shoot them. Pictures that were not taken my A Lot of Sports Talk but featured in the galleries are noted in parenthesis at the end of each caption.

Keep refreshing this page over the next couple of hours, as we will roll out previews of each of the other three regions over the next few hours. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures.

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