Men's Basketball 2018 NCAA Tournament South Regional Overview

South Regional Overview
The South Region has some powerhouse schools in it. Arizona and Kentucky are sitting there as the #4 and #5 seeds and either of them could get hot and make a push to the Final Four. And Virginia has been the best team in the country for most of the 2017-2018 season. Add in Cincinnati and Tennessee, and this may just be the toughest region of them all.
Who Can Win?
Virginia, Cincinnati, Tennessee, Arizona and Kentucky are all heading into the tournament with Final Four aspirations. And they should. However, the Cavaliers are the favorites here. After going 31-2 overall, they will be most people’s favorite to win it all.
Who Can Surprise?
Loyola will be one of the popular double digit seeds to win a couple games. Their balanced offense and tough defense will give some teams problems. A win over Miami is one thing, but expecting them to beat Tennessee might be asking too much. Assuming Tennessee can get past Wright State and Loyola or Miami, they are a team to watch too. With the way Virginia, Cincinnati and Kentucky are playing right now and the talent on the Arizona roster, Tennessee could get overlooked. They are a very good team though if their lack of depth in the paint does not become a big issue.
Who’s Hot?
It is not their biggest winning streak of the year, but Cincinnati has reeled off seven wins in a row after their back-to-back losses to Houston and Wichita State. The Bearcats have beaten both the Shockers and the Cougars in that run. With their tough defense and plethora of scorers, Cincinnati has high hopes heading into the NCAA Tournament.
Who’s Cold?
Creighton has lost four of their last six games. None of them were particularly bad losses and one of the wins was against Villanova, but the Bluejays have slide down to an eight seed after looking like a five or six seed a few weeks ago. With an experienced and talented backcourt duo of Marcus Foster and Khyri Thomas, the Bluejays can quickly end that little losing run.
Upset Alert!
Loyola beating Miami will be one of the most popular upset picks. Loyola went 28-5 on the year and have a very balanced scoring attack. They also shoot over 50 percent from the floor and will work for quality shots. Miami has a balanced offense too with seven players averaging at least 8.7 points per game. The key for the Hurricanes will be their defense. They rank 11th in the ACC in field-goal percentage and that is a statistic that plays right into Loyola’s strength.
What Possible Matchup is Interesting?
We will not have to wait long to see Arizona and Kentucky battle it out for a spot in the Sweet Sixteen. Both teams have young talent who will be eager to show what they can do in the NCAA Tournament. Arizona’s Deandre Ayton will take on Kentucky’s Shai Gilgeious-Alexander, Hamidou Diallo and Kevin Knox in an exciting battle of some of the nation’s top freshmen.
Which Player Will Dominate?
This bracket is all about the freshmen. Arizona’s Deandre Ayton averages 20.3 points, 11.5 rebounds and 1.9 blocks and is ready to showcase his skills on the national stage. Kentucky is loaded with freshmen too. Shai Gilgeious-Alexander, Hamidou Diallo and Kevin Knox are all key freshmen for the Wildcats and average double figures in the scoring column. Texas’ Mohamed Bamba averages 12.9 points, 10.4 rebounds and 3.7 blocks. He is a beast on the defensive end. If you want to do a little 2018 NBA Draft scouting, this is the region for you.
Which System is Tough to Prepare For?
Playing Virginia is always tough. Their stifling defense can throw off anybody’s offense. Once we get into the Sweet Sixteen and beyond, teams like Arizona, Kentucky, Tennessee and Cincinnati will have to be ready to attempt to crack the Cavaliers defense.