Men’s NCAA Tournament South Regional Overview

Men’s NCAA Tournament South Regional Overview

The South Region is one of the more up in the air regions of the NCAA tournament in 2013.  Kansas, who had a stellar year, earned the No. 1 seed in the region after completing the season and tournament sweep of the Big 12.  The Jayhawks should not feel too great when they look down their bracket, however.  No. 2 seed Georgetown is the Big East regular season co-champion and they are one of the hottest teams in the country right now despite losing to Syracuse in the Big East tournament.  Michigan is a Big Ten powerhouse with one of the best guards in the country in Trey Burke.  Florida was once considered one of the top three teams in the country this season before hitting a bit of a snag.  But Billy Donovan is one of the better tournament coaches in the country, and the Gators will be ready to play.  North Carolina is also on a bit of a roll despite dropping the ACC title game to Miami.  They might have something to say before it is all said and done.  Kansas may be a favorite based on seed, but they should not be considered a lock by any means. 


#1 Kansas, #2 Georgetown, #3 Florida, #4 Michigan, #5 VCU, #6 UCLA, #7 San Diego State, #8 North Carolina, #9 Villanova, #10 Oklahoma, #11 Minnesota, #12 Akron, #13 South Dakota State, #14 Northwestern State, #15 Florida Gulf Coast, #16 Western Kentucky


Who Can Win?

The South Region is most likely going to come down to four teams: Kansas, Georgetown, Michigan, and VCU (yes, VCU).  Any of those four teams could easily find themselves in the regional final.  Kansas, for as strong of a year they had, may be arguably the second most vulnerable No. 1 seed behind Gonzaga.  Georgetown has won 13 of its last 15 games, coming in as probably the hottest team in the region.  Big East player of the year Otto Porter, Jr. and the backcourt of the Hoyas can conceivably breeze through to the Final Four.  Michigan started the season with 16 straight wins before getting beat up a little in conference play.  This is John Beilein’s most talented team since he’s been in Ann Arbor.  It does not hurt that he has Wooden award candidate Trey Burke leading the charge.  Shaka Smart’s VCU team is a tough out for anybody.  As any basketball fan knows, he has built a consistent tournament team.  His guards take care of the ball, and they have beaten Kansas in the NCAA tournament before.  They cannot go overlooked.  Of course, Kansas did not get the number one seed for nothing.  This is team rich in talent with a stud freshman in Ben McLemore.  The Jayhawks could find themselves back in the Final Four two years in a row.


Who Can Surprise?

Three possible surprise teams are Minnesota, South Dakota State, and Florida Gulf Coast.  Minnesota has not always performed well this season, but their backcourt is strong with Andre and Austin Hollins leading the team in scoring.  They beat Indiana and Michigan State this year, so they can grind out victories if they need to.  South Dakota State has a real shot to beat Michigan in the second round and then any opponent they may face in the third round.  They have one of the elite guards in the country in Nate Wolters.  He is the fourth leading scorer in the country.  Georgetown should be a little bit weary of Florida Gulf Coast.  Florida Gulf Coast beat ACC champion Miami this year early on.  They were consistent all year and made a run through the conference tournament to score themselves an automatic bid.


Who’s Hot?

The hottest two teams right now are Florida Gulf Coast and Georgetown.  Both are hitting the tournament having won a boatload of games.  FGCU has won 11 of 13.  Georgetown has won 13 of 15.  The difference is that the Eagles ran through their conference tournament.  They have not lost since February 22.  For Georgetown, Otto Porter is playing at an elite level.  He is going to be difficult to guard.  Wouldn’t you know it?  They face each other in the second round.


Who’s Cold?

Minnesota has a great shot to beat UCLA in the first round, but the problem is that they have lost three games in a row coming in.  Those losses were to Nebraska, Purdue, and Illinois.  Illinois is the only tournament team in the bunch.  It was not exactly a strong argument to the selection committee at the end of the season.  Still, playing in a strong league they were able to build up a resume worthy of getting into the Big Dance.  Oklahoma is also struggling a bit coming in.  On March 9 they lost to TCU, the worst team in the Big 12, before dropping their first game of the conference tournament.


Upset Alert!

UCLA and Georgetown are the two early round teams that should watch out.  As mentioned above, Minnesota has a great guard play and can really take it to UCLA.  Keep in mind the Bruins are without Jordan Adams, who is out with an injury, and that hurts their scoring numbers.  Georgetown historically has had trouble with some lower seeds in the first weekend of games, including Davidson in 2008 and Ohio in 2010.


What Possible Matchup is Interesting?

The Michigan vs South Dakota State game is the most intriguing of the first weekend.  Two of the best point guards in the country in Burke and Wolters going at each other on a national stage.  Both teams can score at a high rate.  It should be entertaining.  Looking forward, North Carolina against Kansas is matchup of two elite programs that are playing their best basketball of the season right now.  That would be a dog fight.  Also, if chalk holds, Georgetown and Florida would end up playing in the Sweet Sixteen.  Two conference regular season champions would be facing off.  Remember, they were supposed to play very early in the season on an aircraft carrier, but the game was canceled due to court conditions.  That matchup would take place after all. 


Which Players Will Dominate?

Two player of the year candidates are going to be at the forefront in the South Region.  Otto Porter, Jr. of Georgetown and Trey Burke of Michigan will have the spotlights on them during their respective games.  They have been outstanding all season.  Keep an eye on Ben McLemore of Kansas who has been outstanding as a freshman this season to see how he handles his first NCAA tournament.  James Michael McAdoo of North Carolina is an athletic freak who can dominate inside and hit some mid-range shots.  He might have something to say in this tournament.  Nate Wolters of South Dakota State is a guard many people have not seen play.  He now has a big stage.


Which System is Tough to Prepare For?

Georgetown’s Princeton offense is difficult to guard, but more importantly it is difficult to score against Georgetown.  Their defense may be more of a key for them than their scoring.  Billy Donovan’s Florida squad is well-coached with a tough defense.  They play for kick-out threes, and their big men cleanup underneath.  North Carolina’s smaller lineup has led to blistering three-point shooting and a run-and-gun style offense that Roy Williams loves.  A hot North Carolina team will be a tough matchup for anybody.


Final Four Game Breakdowns


Midwest Regional Overview

East Regional Overview

West Regional Overview


NCAA Tournament Central