Commentary

East Region full of great guards

Updated: March 19, 2009, 11:58 AM ET
By Dick Vitale | ESPN.com

One thing that sticks out when I look at the East region is great guard play.

I believe that perimeter play is so important at tournament time. Strong teams usually have very good guards. This group really stands out.

Think about this group!

Pittsburgh's Levance Fields has one of the best assist-to-turnover ratios in America. He distributes the rock well and doesn't turn the ball over. Fields is an outstanding leader on a team that earned its first No. 1 seed.

Toney Douglas of Florida State simply doesn't get enough national recognition. He is the most underrated player in America, a guy who can score and also defend. People down in ACC country definitely know who he is. The Seminoles are back in the big dance for the first time since 1998, thanks mainly to Douglas.

Darren Collison has been part of a program that has made it to three straight Final Fours. Collison is a winner who will lead Ben Howland's squad as a sleeper.

Scottie Reynolds has solid experience in the big dance. He will be an important cog for a Wildcat team that figures to be dangerous in the tournament.

Jon Scheyer was on fire against Florida State in the ACC title game. That performance helped earn him ACC Tournament Most Outstanding Player honors over Douglas. He is such a weapon shooting the trifecta and playing the point for Mike Krzyzewski.

AJ Abrams had a rollercoaster ride of a season for Texas. He got hot in the win over Oklahoma in Austin. Abrams is capable of shooting outside and penetrating and dishing the rock.

Eric Maynor has been a hero before during the NCAA tournament. He may get the least publicity of the others in this group. Trust me, this kid can flat out play.

The East region should be exciting. Guard play will help dictate which teams survive and advance.

This is a special group of guards ready to roll in this region.

Dick Vitale

College Basketball analyst
Dick Vitale, college basketball's top analyst and ambassador, joined ESPN during the 1979-80 season. His thorough knowledge of the game is brought forth in an enthusiastic, passionate style. Vitale also contributes columns to ESPN.com.