Sports

NCAA Tournament South Region bracket prediction

[ad_1]

The Midwest is the toughest region. The South is the region that could blow up. No. 1 Baylor has shown slippage of late, losing to Kansas and Oklahoma State, and will see a more-than-capable No. 8 seed, Roy Williams and North Carolina, in the second round. There are dangerous double-digit seeds that will pose significant threats, from No. 10 Virginia Tech to No. 14 Colgate to No. 15 Oral Roberts. Texas Tech is a live sixth seed, and though No. 2 Ohio State and No. 3 Arkansas are both Final Four threats, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see either picked off.

Final Four pick: Texas Tech

The Big 12 will have a team cutting down the nets. Just not the team anyone expects. Baylor doesn’t even get to the second weekend. Texas Tech is the last team standing, riding the hot hand of Georgetown transfer Mac McClung and coach Chris Beard’s typically stingy defense. McClung sends Arkansas home in the second round with a late jumper and the Red Raiders dominate the paint against Ohio State in the Sweet 16, leading to an Elite Eight matchup with North Carolina. Texas Tech’s pressure gets to the Tar Heels’ young guards, and Beard and Co. reach their second straight Final Four.

Player to Watch: Moses Moody, Arkansas

Landing the top-50 wing set up this breakthrough season for Eric Musselman at Arkansas. A projected one-and-done lottery pick, Moody has surpassed even the loftiest expectations, leading the Razorbacks to their highest tournament seed since they lost in the national championship game in 1995.

Moses Moody
Moses Moody
Getty Images

Unsung Player: Max Abmas, Oral Roberts

The country’s leading scorer at 24.2 points per game can fill it up from deep, where the Texan shoots a robust 43.3 percent, and is adept at getting to the free-throw line (he attempts 5.2 tries per game). The opponent won’t intimidate him. Abmas dropped 33 on Oklahoma State and 28 on Wichita State.

Best First-round matchup: No. 3 Arkansas vs. No. 14 Colgate

Defensive purists turn away. This will be a track meet. Two teams that let it fly from deep, average in the 80s and run, run and run some more. Expect the possessions to be short and the score to be high. Triple digits will be in play.

First-Round upset watch: No. 12 Winthrop over No. 5 Villanova

Jay Wright’s team, considered in November a Final Four favorite, is hobbling into the tournament, literally. Tri-Big East Player of the Year Collin Gillespie is out for the season. Backcourtmate Justin Moore has a high ankle sprain and is unlikely to be close to 100 percent. And the depth-challenged Wildcats will be facing a deep team that plays at the 11th-fastest pace in the country and will look to run them into the ground.

BracketBuster: No. 8 North Carolina

This isn’t your traditional eighth seed. The Tar Heels proved they belonged in the tournament with a pair of late-season wins over Florida State and Virginia Tech, and when they get good guard play to complement their elite frontcourt, North Carolina can beat anyone. Roy Williams’ team will pull the upset of the first weekend by knocking off Baylor, opening up the region. 

[ad_2]
Source link

Follow us on Google News