March Madness: South Region Preview

Story posted March 18, 2021 in Sports, CommRadio by Charlie Knezevic

March Madness is here, and the South Region has the potential to be the most unpredictable part of the 68-team bracket. There are a handful of teams with great upset potential and a couple of close first-round matchups. Let’s take a look at what we may see in the South Region.

The Top Seeds

The Baylor Bears lead the way in this region as the No. 1 seed. The Bears were undefeated late into the season until they suffered a tough loss against Kansas and another tight loss against the red-hot Oklahoma State Cowboys in the Big 12 tournament. But those losses shouldn’t be much of a concern for this talented Baylor team, as it has a great chance to run this portion of the bracket.

Ohio State is getting hot at the right time and claims the second seed in the South Region. Despite falling short in the Big Ten championship, the Buckeyes have gotten out of their slump and look really sharp heading into tournament play. Duane Washington Jr. and EJ Liddell will look to lead the Buckeyes out of the South.

The third seed is none other than the Arkansas Razorbacks out of the SEC, winners of 11 of their last 12 regular-season games. Head coach Eric Musselman has his team—led by freshman Moses Moody and graduate transfer Justin Smith—ready to make some noise in March. The Razorbacks have the potential to represent the SEC deep into the tournament.

First-Round Matchups to Watch

No. 8 North Carolina vs. No. 9 Wisconsin

This should be a close and entertaining game on paper, as both teams have the chance to use their bread and butter to exploit the other. North Carolina has a clear advantage in the front court and can dominate the paint against the smaller Badgers team. With that disadvantage, the Badgers will need to rely on their experience and shooting ability to keep them in the game. Whichever team can exploit their mismatch will end up on top and move onto a potential matchup with Baylor.

No. 6 Texas Tech vs. No. 11 Utah State

In one of the most underrated first-round matchups, Mac McClung and the Texas Tech Red Raiders will face Neemias Queta and the Utah State Aggies. The Red Raiders have struggled as of late but have the depth and talent to make a deep run. On the other end, Utah State is one of the most underrated teams in the country and has arguably the best defender in the country in Queta. Utah State has battled top teams all year and has not only the ability to beat Texas Tech but also the ability to upset many teams in a deep tournament run.

An Upset to Look Out for

No. 12 Winthrop vs. No. 5 Villanova

In what could potentially be a classic 12-5 upset, Winthrop has the ability to knock off Jay Wright’s team. Winthrop was two points away from a perfect season, while the Wildcats have been trending downward and are battling a handful of injuries. Watch to see how Eagles guard Chandler Vaudrin controls the game with Collin Gillespie out for Villanova.

Predictions

Round of 64
No. 1 Baylor over No. 16 Hartford,
No. 8 North Carolina over No. 9 Wisconsin
No. 12 Winthrop over No. 5 Villanova
No. 4 Purdue over No. 13 North Texas
No. 6 Texas Tech over No. 11 Utah State
No. 3 Arkansas over No. 14 Colgate
No. 7 Florida over No. 10 Virginia Tech
No. 2 Ohio State over No. 15 Oral Roberts

Round of 32
No. 1 Baylor over No. 8 North Carolina
No. 4 Purdue over No. 12 Winthrop
No. 6 Texas Tech over No. 3 Arkansas
No. 2 Ohio State over No. 7 Florida

Sweet 16
No. 1 Baylor over No. 4 Purdue
No. 2 Ohio State over No. 6 Texas Tech

Elite Eight (South Region Championship)
No. 1 Baylor over No. 2 Ohio State

 

Charlie Knezevic is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email him at cjk5918@psu.edu.