Men's Basketball 2015 NCAA Tournament South Regional Overview

South Regional Overview

The South Region of the 2015 NCAA Tournament really comes down to three teams:  Duke, Gonzaga, and Iowa State.  The No. 1, No. 2, and No. 3 seed, respectively, are clearly the class of this region.  Duke has put together an impressive record with a young team, and Gonzaga has only dropped two game all season.  Both are poised for a run.  Iowa State plays in the most competitive conference in the nation – and they won the Big 12 tournament.  There are some interesting teams to note in the bottom half of the bracket.  UCLA and St. John’s are some big name programs that are seeded 9th or lower.  Both have the talent and the history to provide a spark and make a run at the Sweet Sixteen or even the Final Four.

The second round matchups should be entertaining, but really the round of 32 should provide a lot of intrigue.  There is the possibility of Duke-St. John’s rematch taking place.  These teams have had some dog fights against one another over the last couple of seasons.  A Utah-Georgetown matchup is possible which would feature a couple of teams with star guards.  Utah’s Delon Wright, a strong player with a penchant for tough defense, against D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera a speedy guard who can score as well as anyone.  Iowa State has five or six players that can lead them to victory.  The Cyclones are without question talented enough to reach the Final Four.


#1 Duke, #2 Gonzaga, #3 Iowa State, #4 Georgetown, #5 Utah, #6 SMU, #7 Iowa, #8 San Diego State, #9 St. John's, #10 Davidson, #11 UCLA, #12 Stephen F. Austin, #13 Eastern Washington, #14 UAB, #15 North Dakota State, #16 North Florida, #16 Robert Morris


Who Can Win?

Duke is the obvious favorite and they are closely followed by Gonzaga and Iowa State.  Jahlil Okafor, the freshman of the year, could be a catalyst for the Blue Devils much like Carmelo Anthony was for Syracuse in 2003.  This is young but talented Duke team that has proven their resolve over the course of the year.  When they are hitting shots, they are difficult to beat.  Mark Few has his best Gonzaga team since he has been in Spokane.  With senior Kevin Pangos and junior Kentucky transfer Kyle Wiltjer, the Zags have the talent to take the South Region.  Iowa State has been one of the most talented teams in the country the last two years.  Georges Niang and Monte Morris can propel this team to the Final Four.  They are a good matchup for both Duke and Gonzaga.


Who Can Surprise?

Davidson and SMU are the two lower seeds that seem to standout.  SMU, under Larry Brown, won the American this postseason by beating a seemingly always hot Connecticut team.  SMU has won 26 games.  Their style of play is predicated on defense and they have enough talent to challenge for the Final Four.  Davidson has consistently been a mid-major success story in the NCAA tournament.  This year, they could make another run.  They have the player of the year in the Atlantic 10 in Tyler Kalinoski, who is a very good scorer.  Davidson can score from deep and will give any of the Power 5 players a headache as they try to get to Houston.


Who’s Hot?

The only two teams that would qualify for being hot are Iowa State and Gonzaga.  The Bulldogs had a late season hiccup against a good BYU team.  They have since run through the WCC tournament – as usual – and are one of the more complete teams in the country.  With only two losses all season, it is difficult to get Gonzaga off of their game.  They are so consistent night in and night out.  Iowa State won their second consecutive Big 12 tournament championship after beating Oklahoma and Kansas on consecutive nights.  They are not intimidated when they are losing in the second half of games.  They have four double-digit comebacks in the last half of the season. 


Who’s Cold?

St. John’s has done enough to get into the tournament, but unfortunately they did not play well at all in their last two games.  They lost to Providence in the regular season finale and they were blown out in the Big East tournament by Villanova.  They now suffer a suspension with their best – and one of the nation’s best – shot blockers, Chris Obekpa, for a violation of team rules.  It will make any sort of advancement through the tournament very difficult for St. John’s.


Upset Alert!

Davidson over Iowa is definitely a game to keep an eye on, but because of Iowa’s up and down season, this would be much less surprising of an upset than some other games.  The team to watch is Stephen F. Austin against Utah in the second round.  Utah was ranked preseason and expected to finish second in the Pac-12.  They remained ranked all season, but they were a bit disappointing down the stretch.  Stephen F. Austin is an offensive juggernaut.  They are ninth nationally in scoring and first nationally in assists.  They will not be outplayed by Utah in the half-court.  This is a solid upset pick since Stephen F. Austin is so efficient on offense.  Utah will have its hands full and it’s possible they do not find their way out of the second round.


What Possible Matchup is Interesting?

The most compelling matchup inside would be Jahlil Okafor against Georges Niang and Jameel McKay down on the block.  All are athletic players that can rebound the basketball and finish at the rim.  Okafor’s ceiling is sky-high in terms of talent, but Niang has been an unbelievable leader for the Cyclones for the last several years.  The player that asserts himself early will be at an advantage.  In the backcourt, D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera out of Georgetown against Tyus Jones of Duke would be a lot of fun to watch.  Two shorter, speedier guards going at each other trying to will their teams to victory would be something to see.  Additionally, watching Monte Morris of Iowa State through the tournament go heads-up with Smith-Rivera or Kevin Pangos of Gonzaga would be interesting.  Speaking of Pangos, the senior’s play will be so key for the Zags in the tournament.  Pitting him against Quinn Cook or Monte Morris will truly test how ready this team is to make a Final Four run. 


Which Players Will Dominate?

As a freshman, can Jahlil Okafor be a force for Duke?  No one in the country is as skilled as he is down on the block.  He could set himself apart with a strong performance in this year’s tournament.  Georges Niang and/or Monte Morris from Iowa State seem poised to have a really good postseason.  They have played great in the Big 12 tournament, including hitting some clutch shots against great teams.  These are seasoned players that can really take over a game when their team is struggling.  Atlantic 10’s player of the year, Tyler Kalinoski, plays for Davidson.  Do not be surprised to hear his name a lot if Davidson pulls off the win over Iowa.


South Region Round of 64 Game Breakdowns


Midwest Regional Overview

Midwest Region Round of 64 Game Breakdowns


East Regional Overview

East Region Round of 64 Game Breakdowns


West Regional Overview

West Region Round of 64 Game Breakdowns


Tournament Central