Busting Brackets

Ranking the top 8 backcourts in the East Region who could carry their team to the second round

Guards decide the big games in March Madness, so I'm here to tell you who has the best ones in the East Region.

Connecticut Huskies guard Tristen Newton (2)
Connecticut Huskies guard Tristen Newton (2) / Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
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Iowa State Cyclones. . . 461. . . SG: Keshon Gilbert. 3. PG: Tamin Lipsey.

If you’re looking for volume scorers, Lipsey and Gilbert aren’t your guys. You may not want to even watch Iowa State if offense is your thing. But the Cyclones have an elite two-way backcourt led by Lipsey, the Ames Iowa native, who was named to the All-Big 12 First Team. 

The 6-foot-1 sophomore played like the second-best guard in the Big 12 to Houston’s Jamal Shead and provided T.J. Otzelberger’s two-seed with 12.3 points, 4.9 assists, 4.7 rebounds, and 2.8 steals a game. That last part is crucial to Iowa State which is second only to Houston in turnover margin this year and relies heavily on transition points off turnovers to have a functional offense. 

When in the halfcourt, Lipsey and Gilbert are Iowa State’s main two options and are both capable shot-makers. Gilbert leads the team with 13.8 points a game, but both Lipsey and GIlbert average over two turnovers a game and shoot less than 45%, one of a few reasons that Iowa State is 55th in Kenpom adjusted offensive efficiency.

Iowa State is coming into the 2/15 matchup off a beatdown of Houston in the Big 12 title game, but I'm warning you now, do not fall in love with this team cause in a big game they'll inexplicably go six and a half minutes without hitting a shot and break your heart.