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NCAA Tournament East region preview: One favorite, one sleeper, one dark horse

We run down through the full list of odds for each team in the East region and pick our favorite, sleeper, and dark horse to make the Final Four.

Kentucky v Tennessee Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The East region of the 2022 NCAA Tournament is defined by both titans of college basketball occupying the top seeds and a few mid-major sleepers waiting to take them out.

Let’s break down the favorite, a sleeper and a dark horse to come out of the East region.

Favorite: No. 2 Kentucky (+200)

No. 2 Kentucky comes into the tournament tied for the fourth-highest odds to reach the Final Four at +200. The Wildcats come head into the region coming off a successful regular season and have with them a roster that includes Wooden Award frontrunner Oscar Tshiebwe and potential NBA Draft lottery pick TyTy Washington.

The team that UK is tied with in odds is No. 1 Baylor, who is also in the East region. Even though the Bears have recorded 10 Quad 1 wins this season, the Wildcats should be equipped to take them down in a potential Elite Eight matchup.

Sleeper: Saint Mary’s (+1800)

No. 5 Saint Mary’s is coming out of the West Coast Conference as the league runner-up and has the potential to do some damage in this region. The Gaels are built to hang tough in a potentially tight environment, ranking ninth in the country in defensive adjusted efficiency.

If they can take out UCLA in a potential second-round matchup, they’ll have the confidence to go toe-to-toe with one of the top three seeds. Then again, they already have it considering that they already own a regular season victory over Gonzaga.

Dark Horse: Murray State (+4000)

Unbeknownst to most of the general public, No. 7 Murray State has been on a three-month tear, winning 20 straight games heading into the postseason. The KJ Williams-led ballclub dominated the Ohio Valley Conference this season and earned itself a seven-seed for the East region.

If they mess around and take down Kentucky in the second round, everyone should be on high alert for the Racers.

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