Sunday, March 16, 2014

Sportz Assassin's South Region Preview

TEAM TO BEAT: Florida. The Gators are rolling into the tournament as both the top seed in the tournament but they've been the top team in the rankings for a while now.  As the top overall seed, this is their tournament to lose.  

TEAM THAT WILL WIN THE REGION: Kansas. They've played a brutal schedule, so nothing in this tournament will scare this, albeit, young team.  If Joel Embiid does return to form at least by the Sweet 16, they should be confident in their chance for the Final Four.

TEAM TO WATCH FOR (LESS THAN A NO. 3 SEED): New Mexico. This is a strong team.  I know people have been burned by them before in the tournament, but they've been on a tear of late.  They get an iffy Stanford team to open up and then could face Kansas without Joel Embiid.  

YOUR CINDERELLA: Stephen F. Austin. The Lumberjacks finished with an impressive 31-2 record which includes an 18-0 conference record and a Southland tournament title.  Sure, the only team they played that was any good was Texas (they lost by 10) but this is a great passing team that could find a way to beat VCU's pressure.  

WORST SEEDING ERROR: Colorado. I felt that the Buffs were a lock in the field, but some believed that the loss of Spencer Dinwiddie would hurt their seeding.  As a No. 8 seed, it seems that the committee thought they were a lock too.  

HOME COURT ADVANTAGE: Kansas. The first weekend is in nearby St. Louis.  If the Jayhawks get through that, they get to travel down to Memphis, which isn't terribly near or far from them, but they should have the home court advantage over Florida, Syracuse, UCLA or anyone in the South Region.

MUST WATCH GAME: VCU vs Stephen F Austin. Like I said before, this will feature a very solid passing team against that hellish press.  VCU is now in that favorite roll so it will be interesting to see how they handle it against a mid-major.

MUST WATCH (POTENTIAL) SECOND ROUND GAME: Kansas vs New Mexico. These two met in mid-December with Kansas winning by 13.  Since then, the Lobos have lost just four times by a combined 13 points.  Along the way, they beat Cincinnati and twice topped San Diego State.  Not to beat a dead horse, but Embiid probably won't be available for this matchup.

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