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Full Round of 64 Schedule:
#1 Virginia vs. #16 UMBC
#8 Creighton vs. #9 Kansas State
#5 Kentucky vs. #12 Davidson
#4 Arizona vs. #13 Buffalo
#6 Miami (FL) vs. #11 Loyola-Chicago
#3 Tennessee vs. #14 Wright State
#7 Nevada vs. #10 Texas
#2 Cincinnati vs. #15 Georgia State
Games that are Must-See TV:
#7 Nevada vs. #10 Texas
This is probably the only game that jumps out at my head as I analyze the South Region for the first time. Obviously, that could change. Texas is likely to get their star back in future first round draft pick Mohamed Bamba. Nevada just got the smokes blown off them by San Diego State in their conference tournament. Nevada was one of the top mid-major programs in the entire country during a majority of the regular season, and frequently saw themselves ranked in the polls. I’m interested to see if Bamba shows out for the scouts. Personally, I see him having a huge game and leading the Longhorns to a semi-upset. With Bamba at full strength, don’t count out the Longhorns to upset Cincinnati (barring a Georgia State upset) in the second round either.
Biggest Questions to be answered:
Can Virginia’s tremendous regular season success finally translate to a Final Four run?
Does Kentucky’s young talent have the chemistry to put together a long run in the tournament?
Does Cincinnati have a legit shot at the Final Four? Or did the AAC make them look much more talented than they are?
How do Sean Miller and Arizona play with the ongoing scandal regarding the school and recruiting?
Can Lonnie Walker put the Miami Hurricanes on his back en route to a Sweet 16 run?
What about Tennessee? Where do they fit into this bracket?
Stars to Watch:
Virginia G/F Devon Hall
Virginia G Kyle Guy
Kentucky F Kevin Knox
Kentucky G Hamidou Diallo
Miami (FL) G Lonnie Walker IV
Texas F Mohamed Bamba
Arizona G Allonzo Trier
Arizona C DeAndre Ayton
Cincinnati G Jacob Evans
My Advice And Predictions:
Cinderella of the South Region is …
The Buffalo Bulls (13th Seed)
Why: Buffalo is one of the more solidly secret mid-major programs in college basketball today. They’ve had success recently and had an extremely good season en route to winning the MAC Conference Championship. The Bulls are in a surprisingly sneaky upset game against fourth seeded Arizona in round one. I’d honestly say Buffalo has an extremely good chance of getting a victory if they play like the lower seeded mid-major teams always do in March: hungry. Nate Oats has led this team in the right direction and this is a sneaky pick in a lot of brackets. With that said, I’m going to put Arizona on upset alert!
UPSET ALERT 🚨🚨🚨 …
4th seeded Arizona against 13th seeded Buffalo
A Sleeper in the South Region is …
The Miami (FL) Hurricanes (6th Seed)
Why: I already touched on how a big question mark for Miami is whether Lonnie Walker can show up big or not on the biggest stage in college hoops. Walker can take over games if he plays well and Miami could shock a few higher seeded teams if this were to happen.
The Favorite in the South Region is …
The Virginia Cavaliers (1st Seed)
Why: I mean, how couldn’t they be? Virginia went 17-1 in one of the toughest conferences in the entirety of college basketball while only losing two games all season. They won the ACC tournament and are the top overall seed in the Big dance. Now the question is: Can Tony Bennett finally reach the Final Four?
With all of this said, I’m predicting Virginia, Kentucky, Miami (FL), and Texas to reach the Sweet 16 in the South Region. I expect Virginia to come out as the Final Four Representative of this Region.