Busting Brackets

Which East Region teams come into the NCAA Tournament on a hot streak?

The East Region of the NCAA Tournament bracket features 11 teams that won their conference tournaments and those teams have a lot of momentum heading into March Madness.
The Duquesne Dukes celebrate after winning the Atlantic 10
The Duquesne Dukes celebrate after winning the Atlantic 10 / Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

It’s not always about being the best team, but about playing your best at the right time. That’s especially true in March Madness, where it’s single-elimination chaos. When filling out a bracket it’s important to know who’s hot and who’s not. 

So, in the East Region, with the reigning champs looming over the proceedings, these are the teams riding the longest win streaks into the NCAA Tournament.

Duquesne Dukes 23-11

  • Seed: 11
  • Win streak: 8
  • 12-3 since start of February

Duquesne was a quintessential bid stealer with a run through the A10 tournament as the No. 6 seed. Keith Dambrot, Lebron’s high school coach, led the Dukes to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1977.

South Dakota State Jackrabbits 22-12

  • Seed: 15
  • Win streak: 8
  • 10-2 since the start of February

The Summit League champs haven’t lost since February 15th. The Jackrabbits last made the tournament in 2022 when Eric Henderson’s team was led by Creighton star Baylor Scheierman but were bounced in the Round of 64.

UConn Huskies 31-3

  • Seed: 1
  • Win streak: 7
  • 21-1 in last 22 games

It’s hard not to have an active win streak when you finish the season 31-3. UConn cruised through the Big East, but the committee only gave the conference three bids and Marquette was without Tyler Kolek in the Big East Tournament, so were the Huskies buoyed by an underperforming conference?

Auburn Tigers 27-7

  • Seed: 4
  • Win streak: 6
  • Undefeated in March only one win by single-digits

From December 9 to January 20, Auburn won 11 straight games, but after SEC battles with Florida, Alabama, Kentucky, and Tennessee, the Tigers proved to be the cream of the crop by dominating in Nashville after the top three seeds were one-and-done. The Tigers could ride this momentum to a national title. The last time Bruce Pearl won the SEC Tournament was in 2019 when the Tigers went to the Final Four.

Drake Bulldogs 28-6

  • Seed: 10
  • Win streak: 5
  • 10-1 in last 11 games

Indiana State was the darling of the Missouri Valley Conference this year, but Drake shot 40.6% from three over its last 11 games and stole the conference’s automatic bid from the Sycamores, who were left in the committee’s first four out. 

UAB Blazers 23-11

  • Seed: 12
  • Win streak: 5
  • 9-3 since February 4

Another bid-stealer, UAB took down the conference’s No. 1 seed, USF in the tournament and knocked off 11th-seeded Temple in the title game. Florida Atlantic also made it from the AAC. 

Illinois Fighting Illini 26-8

  • Seed: 3
  • Win streak: 4
  • 7-1 in last eight (one loss to Purdue)

Illinois didn’t need to get through Purdue in the Big Ten Tournament, Wisconsin took care of that for them. The Boilermakers are the only team to beat Brad Underwood’s group since Penn State on February 21.

Next. 10 surprise teams who could steal the NCAA Tournament. 10 surprise teams who could steal the NCAA Tournament. dark