Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Sportz Assassin's South Region Preview

TEAM TO BEAT: Virginia. The Cavaliers comfortably take their position as the No. 1 overall seed. Their patented pack-line defense is playing at its best right now while their offense is just so efficient. They lost two games all season long and Tony Bennett's team, while not pretty to watch, frustrates opponents into submission. Can the Wahoos finally break through to the Final Four? 

TEAM THAT WILL WIN THE REGION: Arizona. The Wildcats are extremely talented and have something that no other team in the nation has -- Deandre Ayton. Ayton is one of the best players in the country and a likely top five pick in this summer's NBA draft if he decides to become a one-and-done. He's not all they have as Allonzo Trier and Rawle Alkins are beasts as well. This isn't a very good defensive team, which would make for an interesting matchup with Virginia in the Sweet 16.

TEAM TO WATCH FOR (LESS THAN A NO. 3 SEED): Arizona. It is almost unfair that Arizona is a No. 4 seed but when you go back and look at their season, it fits. With the "eye test", they are on the short list or true national championship contenders. They are playing with a major chip on their shoulder after an ESPN report linked Sean Miller and Deandre Ayton in a pay-for-play deal. They can get on a tear and win this whole thing.  

YOUR CINDERELLA: Texas. Look, they aren't the best team out there nor are they scary to deal with. But they have Mo Bamba and he can be scary to deal with when you dare enter the paint. The Longhorns have a lot happening to them this season so just getting to this point is quite a feat. Shaka Smart is an experienced tournament coach and the bottom half of the South bracket isn't as daunting as the top. They could slide into the second weekend.   

WORST SEEDING ERROR: Arizona. Look, I'm not shocked they are a No. 4 seed since the metrics seem to point that out. But when you watch them play, you are in awe of their potential. The fact that the top overall see in the tournament, Virginia, might have to play them in the Sweet 16 seems wrong.    

HOME COURT ADVANTAGE: Virginia. While not playing in Virginia, their trek to Charlotte is an easy one for Hoos fans. Get to next weekend and Atlanta is also very doable. Two weeks in ACC country is a nice reward for the top overall seed.

MUST WATCH GAME: Kentucky vs Davidson. Kentucky, who seemingly has stocked the NBA with its players, takes on Davidson, who is the alma mater of two-time MVP Steph Curry. This isn't your typical Kentucky tournament team as they have been so up and down all season long that you don't know what team will show up. Davidson is back in the tournament after winning the Atlantic 10 for the first time. Count on the Wildcats to win!.

MUST WATCH (POTENTIAL) SECOND ROUND GAME: Arizona vs Kentucky.  Wildcats win this one too. Both teams feel as if they are underseeded and neither feel it is fair to meet each other in the 2nd round. The game must be played and there will be a lot of guys who will be playing in the NBA this time next year on the floor. While Kentucky will struggle to deal with Ayton, they do have the wings who can hang with Arizona. Should be a blast to watch.

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