Men's Basketball 2017 NCAA Tournament South Region Round of 64 Game Breakdowns

South Region Round of 64 Game Breakdowns
North Carolina is the Atlantic Coast Conference regular season champion and the Tar Heels are an explosive offensive team and have the ability to absolutely dominant on the boards. Justin Jackson is one of the top small forwards in the country and leads the offensive attack for North Carolina, averaging 18.1 points per game. Joel Berry II is another key to the Tar Heels attack along with Kennedy Meeks. Berry II and Meeks have combined to average 27.4 points per game. Texas Southern won the automatic bid for the SWAC Conference after outlasting Alcorn State 53-50. The Tigers are led by Zach Lofton, who is averaging 17.0 points per game and Marvin Jones, who is shooting 60 percent from the floor. If Texas Southern is to have a chance they are going to have to keep the tempo of the game slowed way down. Look for North Carolina to move on to the round of 32 with a very comfortable win.
The Razorbacks have some nice momentum heading into the NCAA Tournament after getting to the SEC Tournament title game. It is going to be important for Arkansas to get their press rolling early on so Seton Hall has to play at a faster pace than they are comfortable playing.  Senior guard Dusty Hannahs leads a very balanced offensive attack that has four players averaging in double figures.  Depth is also going to be critical for the Razorbacks as they have nine players who are averaging at least ten minutes of playing time per game. For the Pirates, they are a very battle tested team as the Big East was a very difficult gauntlet and they will be ready for any all challenges that the Razorbacks will provide. Khadeen Carrington leads the Seton Hall offensive attack as Carrington is averaging 16.9 points per game on the season. This game should go down to the final moments and be decided by only a couple of points.
This could very well be the 5-12 upset of the NCAA Tournament. The Golden Gophers have had a heck of a turnaround this season and head coach Richard Pitino has Minnesota trending in the right direction. But the NCAA Tournament is a different animal and in order for Minnesota to advance they are going to need to play within themselves and get after Middle Tennessee defensively. Nate Mason and Reggie Lynch are going to have to be an excellent 1-2 punch for the Golden Gophers. Mason is averaging 15.5 points per game and Lynch is shooting 53.6 percent from the floor. For the Blue Raiders, they will need to start strong and put the pressure on Minnesota to have to play from behind by shooting the basketball well and taking care of the basketball in order to keep Minnesota on their heels.
#4 Butler vs. #13 Winthrop
Butler is looking to stop a two game losing streak and under the direction of Chris Holtmann will be looking to make deep run to the Sweet 16 and beyond. The Bulldogs have beaten Villanova twice and knocked off Arizona. So they have the ability to beat anyone on any given day when they are clicking on all cylinders at both ends of the court. Forward Kelan Martin leads Butler offensively with 16.1 points per game scoring average. Nate Fowler is also going to be important offensively for the Bulldogs as Fowler is shooting 68.5 percent from the floor. Winthrop is back in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2010 and will need a big performance from the combination of Keon Johnson and Xavier Cooks, who are averaging 38.8 points per game. Cooks is also a rebounding force at 9.2 per game. This will be an interesting battle that stays competitive into the second half.
Cincinnati has improved offensively as they have won 29 games on the season and are averaging just under 75 points per game as a team. The defense is still strong for the Bearcats as well and they are limiting teams to just 60.5 points per game. This combination of improved offense to go along with excellent defense should set Cincinnati up for a chance to get to the Sweet 16. Jacob Evans leads the Bearcats in scoring at 13.8 points per game to pace a balanced attack. Kansas State and Wake Forest are going to both test Cincinnati depending upon who survives between the Wildcats and Demon Deacons.  Look for the difference to be the overall consistency of the Bearcats to be good enough to allow them to advance on to the round of 32.
#3 UCLA vs. #14 Kent State
Lonzo Ball and T.J. Leaf have been the best 1-2 punch in the nation as freshmen and they have basically reinvented UCLA this season. The Bruins are a modern day version of the ShowTime Lakers offensively as UCLA is scoring 90.4 points per game to lead the nation.  They also are leading the nation in assists per game at 21.5. However, the elephant in the room is the defense as UCLA is allowing 75.3 points per game, which is 256th in the nation. Kent State won the automatic bid out of the MAC after knocking off top seeded Akron in the championship game. The Golden Flashes have beaten Texas this season and lost to Oregon State so it’s been a mixed bag of results against Power 5 schools. Forward Jimmy Hall is going to need to have a huge game in order for Kent State to be able to pull off the upset. This should be a high scoring game with the Bruins pulling away to a stress free win.
Dayton was the regular season champion in the Atlantic 10 Conference and they are very experienced and talented. Coach Archie Miller has done an excellent job of turning the Flyers into a perennial NCAA Tournament threat. The trio of Charles Cooke, Kendall Pollard, and Scoochie Smith are going to be the key to success for Dayton. Cooke leads the way as a senior and scores 16.1 points per game. Wichita State won the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament title and head coach Gregg Marshall has a very young, but talented, team that will be a very tough out moving forward in the NCAA Tournament. Markis McDuffie leads a very deep and balanced offensive attack that will have a great opportunity to wear down teams like the Flyers. If the Shockers can get in a rhythm early at both ends of the court, they will have a great opportunity to knock off Dayton and move on for a shot at Kentucky.
Kentucky is rolling heading into the NCAA Tournament and when they are playing at a frenetic pace, they are tough to deal with for any team. Malik Monk is averaging just over 20 points per game on the season and if De’Aaron Fox and Edrice Adebayo play at a high level the matchup nightmares for opposing coaches will be endless. Northern Kentucky is making its first appearance in the NCAA Tournament after winning the automatic bid out of the Horizon League. The Norse come into the NCAA Tournament with a lot of confidence as they have won 12 of their last 14 games and will be very excited to take on the Wildcats. Drew McDonald is the leading scorer for Northern Kentucky at 16.4 points per game and is shooting 48.2 percent from the floor. Kentucky should move on to a very dangerous second round matchup with either Wichita State or Dayton.