For the Monday newspaper, I was assigned to do this first look at the South Region of the NCAA tournament. I’ll post that here and use the same format to give you my initial thoughts on the other three regions over the next two days.
At first glance
Six weeks ago, Kansas, Georgetown, Florida and Michigan were all legitimate contenders for No. 1 seeds. Now, they’re in the same region, making it a tough road to the Final Four.
That quartet had its troubles, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see any of those teams exit early, especially when you consider the depth in the South Region. When young-but-talented traditional powers UCLA and North Carolina are seeded sixth and eighth, respectively, you know you’re in a difficult region.
Don’t sleep on No. 5 VCU, No. 7 San Diego State, No. 11 Minnesota or No. 13 South Dakota State. This unpredictable region might destroy many brackets.
The South is a region of contrasting defensive styles, from VCU’s fullcourt pressure to Kansas’ suffocating man-to-man to Minnesota’s ball-line defense. Georgetown, Florida, San Diego State and UCLA are also among the best defensive teams in the nation, according to college hoops stats maven Ken Pomeroy. In a year of low scores across college basketball, the team that triumphs in the South will have to win ugly.