NCAA Tournament: South region Preview


The South Region of the NCAA is loaded with tradition three of the top four seeds feature teams that have legendary status in college basketball.  Number 1 Kentucky who holds the record for all time wins won two National Titles in the 90’s, and were a dominate team under Adolph Rupp in the sixties and seventies. The Duke Blue Devils have won four National Titles, and has been at the pinnacle of college hoops since the eighties.  Tom Crean has Indiana back as a top team this season with the stellar play he has received from Cody Zeller.  Although Indiani made a championship game under Coach Mike Davis the program has not had the consistent elite level of success it experienced under Bobby Knight.  The new kid on the block is Scott Drew’s Baylor Bears.  If you have not been able to watch Baylor play this year, you will be in for a treat.  They play reckless at times, but are very talented.  The freedom they have on offense could be their undoing if they face a equally talented yet disciplined team.

The game everyone is pointing to is a second  round match up between Kentucky and UCONN.  The Huskies are talented yet have underachieved this season. Jeremy Lamb who looked like a lottery pick last year may be this years Scotty Thurman who should have cashed in on his final four performance.  He has looked nothing like a lottery player this season, but if he gets a chance to play the Wildcats that may be the stage needed to perform again at a high level.  I am not sold on this match up happening. Coach Fred Hoiberg has his Iowa state team playing sound disciplined basketball. This is something UCONN does not typical flourish with, but if the Huskies can get past the Cyclones all eyes will be on the game with the Wildcats.

#7 Notre Dame vs. #10 Xavier (South)
Notre Dame may be the higher seed in this match up because they played in the Big East and Xavier stumbled some after the Cincinnati game, but when looking at the statistics this game has to be close.  Xavier has a higher shooting percentage, scoring average and rebounds the ball better.  The competition in the Atlantic 10 may be a notch below the Big East, but remember Xavier was hammering Cincinnati prior to the fight.  Cincinnati made it to the Big East championship game after beating Syracuse.  Xavier has been there before and Tru Holloway is the player to watch just keep the microphones away.  Experts are looking to a second round match up between Duke and Notre Dame because of the history between Coach Mike Brey and Coach K.  Do not underestimate the Musketeers as Coach Chris Mack has tournament experience, and will have his team raring to play.

Wichita State plays VCU who made it to the final four last season in its opening game.  Wichita States Greg Marshal has been a winner every where he has coached, and this 5/12 match up may be the best first round game in the South Region.  Wichita State is experienced, plays solid defense, and does not make many mistakes. VCU is younger this season, and the experience of Wichita State will be too much for them to handle.

The Duke Blue Devils are the two seed in this region, and this team is one of the harder teams to pick how far they will go.  Everything depends on how well they shoot the three. Both Plumlee brothers improved offensively during the last five games of the year. Any sembllance of an inside game will only free up Duke shooters.  The match ups that Duke possibly has with Xavier, Baylor, and Kentucky makes me believe this team is a sweet sixteen team at best. The injury to Ryan Kelly is a concern because he is a big man who creates match up issues for opponents.  Kelly’s injury and consistent three point shooting will carry Duke as far as they can go.  Could the blue Devils make a run at a final four? Of course because they have beaten quality teams this season, but they depend so heavily on the three point shot that I believe they will have a hard time advancing to the elite eight or beyond.

Check back after each day to catch updates on each round.

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