NCAA Tournament South Region Breakdown And Preview

    The NCAA Tournament's South Region features the top-seeded Kansas Jayhawks. Here's a breakdown and preview of their path to Houston.

    March 14, 2016


    The NCAA Tournament’s South Region features the top-seeded Kansas Jayhawks. Here’s a breakdown and preview of their path to Houston.


    Kansas is the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament, and they’re the top team in the South Region. The Jayhawks are deserving, but they’ll have to earn their way to the Final Four.

    Teams like Colorado, UConn, Arizona, Miami and Villanova all could be standing in their way. Their most interesting matchup could come if California gets past Hawaii and the winner of the Maryland-South Dakota State battle. Cal has plenty of talent, and hasn’t backed down from anyone all season. The Jayhawks are playing with a lot of confidence, but Cal has NBA-caliber players who would love to make a run.

    Toughest Call

    Iowa scored a No. 7 seed, and will take on No. 10 Temple. However, with the way they’ve played of late, the Hawkeyes will go into this one feeling like an underdog. They have taken a step back in recent weeks, and the trio of Mike Gesell, Jarrod Uthoff and Peter Jok haven’t been getting much help from their teammates.

    Temple has been up and down, but has stretched the likes of UConn, Memphis and Cincinnati this year, winning a few of the matchups. Iowa will be favored, but the Hawkeyes have to approach the NCAA Tournament like it’s a new season. They didn’t do that at the Big Ten Tournament and they were a quick out. That could be the case again if they don’t find some belief soon.

    We’re taking Temple in the seed upset. The Owls are just playing better basketball right now.

    Best possible second-round matchup

    If No. 3 Miami and No. 6 Arizona both survive the first round, we should be in for a fantastic second-round battle. The Hurricanes have been good all season, and they aren’t a team that is just happy with earning a high seed. They’re looking for respect, and know they could find it against an NCAA Tournament blue blood like Arizona.

    The Wildcats aren’t what they’ve been in past years, but they are far from a pushover, and this should be a fun game that will feature a lot of athleticism and great tempo—if it ends up happening.

    Favorite

    This is going to be Kansas. The Jayhawks are playing great basketball right now, and they are mowing teams down with their athleticism and depth. KU doesn’t have a single superstar like it has had in the past, but that actually makes the Jayhawks stronger. Kansas has heard that this is a wide-open tournament, and they’re out to prove they’re truly the class of the bunch.

    Sleeper

    Don’t nap on Miami. Yes, the Hurricanes have had some hiccups of late, losing to Virginia Tech in the final game of the regular season and getting waxed by North Carolina a couple of weeks ago. But the ‘Canes also pushed Virginia to the limit in the ACC Tournament, and they own wins over Utah, Butler, Syracuse, Duke, Notre Dame (twice), Virginia, Pitt and Louisville, and all of those teams are NCAA Tournament teams (save for Louisville, which would be if it could have stayed out of trouble). The Hurricanes are for real, and they could get out of this bracket.

    Dark horse

    Maryland has been up and down this year, and the Terps have fallen off everyone’s radar. The Terrapins don’t have the best chemistry, but talent is not an issue, and Melo Trimble is the kind of guard who can take over games if he solves his shooting woes. Diamond Stone, Robert Carter and Rasheed Sulaimon can all hurt teams, and if Maryland can pull together at the Big Dance, they are going to give teams headaches.

    Disappointment

    Villanova has a history of not living up to expectations in March, and the team’s loss to Seton Hall in the Big East Tournament doesn’t bode well. A first-round win over UNC Asheville shouldn’t be an issue, but both Temple and Iowa have the pure talent to knock off the Wildcats in the Sweet 16. Even if they get through, the path won’t be easy.

    Our pick

    Have to give it to the Jayhawks. Kansas is just playing too well right now and has the look of a team that will make a run. KU has been a favorite for a long time, and the Jayhawks will reach Houston.

    MORE: Campus Insiders’ 2016 Interactive NCAA Tourmanent Bracket

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