Our Bracket Breakdown gets a little close to home…
The South Region is of some interest to us since that is Ohio State’s “Region”. It also has a few other top-rated teams such as Florida, Kansas, UCLA and Syracuse. Whoever emerges from this Region has a legitimate chance to be in the Finals and possibly win it all.
Rather than go through game-by-game in the Region, I’ll focus on five (5) topics; 1) the team likely to win region, 2) the region’s Cinderella team, 3) team most likely to be upset, 4) who is region’s unheralded player and 5) my Elite 8 picks. Envelopes, please…
Regional Favorite: Florida is my choice to win this Region. The Gators haven’t lost a game since December 2nd, and it’s unlikely they lose this week, until possibly the Finals. They are a well-balanced team, play decently on offense, but are a top notch defensive team. In their last 14 games, dating back to February 1st, they have allowed less than 60 points in 7 of them. A capable offense and a tough defense will carry this team to the Final Four.
Cinderella: The Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks could be wearing the Glass Slipper, at least until midnight. They aren’t rated well (RPI 55, SOS 315) but they come in as the #12 seed against VCU and the Rams are only a 6 point favorite. They have a decent defense and are efficient of on offense (1.16 PPP). And, a #11/#12 seed moving on is not unheard of; just ask VCU.
Most likely upset: Sadly, I think the likeliest upset is #11 seed Dayton over #6 seed Ohio State. The Flyers have been solid over the last month (10-2) while the Buckeyes (8-4) haven’t exactly been lighting it up. Like moths to a flame, OSU has been drawn to close games, and often enough (3-3 over last 6 games) they’ve gotten burnt. And to think that it could happen in Buffalo, pains me.
Secret Star: I think that S.F.Austin forward Jacob Parker will make a name for himself this week. The 6’6″ Parker is 2nd on the team in points per game (14.2), 2nd in FG% (54.3), 2nd in steals (1.4) and 1st in rebounding (7.1). The young man is athletic and, as you see, can do several things well.
Elite Eight Teams: One of the two teams I see coming out of this Region for Elite Eight will be University of Florida, see above.
The other team will be Kansas. Although the Jayhawks have stumbled this month, going 2-3, they are 2nd seeded for a reason. They have the #3 RPI and the #1 SOS, so their season has been tempering them for the Tournament. Kansas is not a good defensive team (70 PPG), but they are a very good ( 80 PPG) and efficient (1.14PPP) offensive team. This will be enough to carry them to Elite Eight.
There, that should clarify things in the Midwest Region. Now that you’re better informed, you now need to enter tBBC’s 2014 Tournament Challenge. You won’t be sorry. Do it.