South Region Forum

Every time I ponder this bracket, I seem to come up with the same teams. That’s usually a danger sign; I’ve gotten too stuck in my biases. Here are my questions:

  • Why do I have the Tar Heels always beating Villanova–and if I’m that confident, why not pick them over Kansas?
  • Everyone sees Michigan as vulnerable to both South Dakota State and VCU. Is that a carry-over from there 4v13 loss to Ohio last year? (One thing’s for sure: all these teams will be happy to speed up the pace.)
  • Okay, so UCLA is wounded, but is Minnesota really that promising a Cinderella? After all, only one other team in 29 years has come to the dance with such sputtering moment (3 wins in L10 and 3 losses in a row). That was Villanova a few years back…and they lost in the first round.
  • KenPom loves Florida…but they have a penchant for losing close games down the stretch. For the Gators pretenders or contenders?
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75 Responses to South Region Forum

  1. Patrick says:

    Michigan is so confusing. They don’t defend, but they sure can score. If SDST wants to run up and down, I would think Michigan has better pieces at most positions.

    • ptiernan says:

      Patrick – I agree. Up-tempo actually plays into Michigan’s hands. They don’t want to slow down and slog it out. Then it becomes the Trey Burke high pick-and-roll show. Of course, I remember a Michigan team in the early 90′s that couldn’t wait to run up and down the court with Loyola-Marymount…and got smoked, 149-115. You read that right. Basically a Wisconsin score times three.

    • Ryan Tressler says:

      Wisconsin games give me nightmares . . . really slow-developing nightmares

      • Justin says:

        I don’t see Michigan not making the Sweet 16 while playing in Auburn Hills, MI.

        • ptiernan says:

          Remember though: State fans could be there too. If South Dakota makes a run, you know Sparty Nation will be behind them. Same goes for the MSU/Valpo game.

          • Justin says:

            I agree and understand, but the fact that it’s so close to their campus makes me feel that way.

          • ptiernan says:

            I hear you. I live in Ann Arbor. I bet it’s easier to get to the Palace from Lansing than here. Don’t get me wrong: that’s going to be a partisan Blue crowd. And the MSU and UM games are in different “blocks” so they vacate the building. But I’ll lay odds that there will be a wilder crowd for Spartie than the Wolverines. That’s just the way it is in this state.

          • Justin says:

            I didn’t notice where Michigan St. was playing, whoops….

  2. Lewis says:

    As a Carolina fan….I REALLY think we can beat Kansas.

    As someone trying to win money on my bracket…I’m going with KU. :/

    • ptiernan says:

      I hear you. And as a Michigan fan, I really think we can beat Kansas. But I can’t think past Nate Wolters.

      • Ryan Tressler says:

        Nate Wolters is giving me those C.J. McCollum vibes . . . I have been very tempted to take South Dakota State.

      • Ryan Tressler says:

        You know, the seed by seed matchup pegs Michigan as a likely 4 seed to upset a 1 seed while also having Kansas pegged as a 1 seed likely to lose (the rules did not allow the selection however, due to win%/advancing all top seeds to elite 8) . . . just found that very interesting

        • Tom says:

          It’s Kansas, and not even an elite Kansas team at that. But they’ve tended to have far more problems with plucky mid-major underdogs. What are the odds VCU takes them out in the Sweet 16?

      • Lou Nargi says:

        Those are my feelings exactly. Michigan can beat Kansas. But I’ll be holding my breath as they try to navigate through S. Dakota St and VCU. Let’s hope they learned something from the early exit last year. Although it should be refreshing to get out of that Big Ten grind.

  3. Dan says:

    On UCLA-Minnesota, the injury is concerning to me. However, Minnesota’s terrible Last 10 is also worrisome, and the stats (acc. to the seed guide) are not with the Gophers here.
    Villanova has not done much away from home, and UNC seems to be on the rise. Plus I’ll take Williams over Wright.
    This region is giving me fits for who will come out of it. The Final 4/Champions guide says Kansas comes out of this region, but I’m having some problems believing in them and can see them losing in any 3 of the matchups after their first game.
    What are your thoughts?

    • Dan says:

      Just looked at UNC-Nova again, the numbers are unanimously against Nova in this one. Obviously no guarantee, but UNC has a better case on multiple fronts.

      • ptiernan says:

        Yeah…that must be why I keep picking NC. But it’s not like the Tar Heels are a consistent squad. And you’re a Big East guy, Dan–you know that Villanova can be pesky.

        • Dan says:

          Oh yeah, they can be pesky alright, at home at least. From what I’ve seen from Nova they beat teams they should away but not equal or greater competition.

    • ptiernan says:

      So many of my models kept spitting out Florida that I was relieved when one said, “Kansas.” Oddly, it doesn’t bother me that none of them came up Georgetown. Wonder why that is. Maybe my Hoya buddy Dan can explain. Are you a believer, Dan?

      • SpartanHoops1 says:

        UM will go as far as Trey Burke can carry them. They could lose to SD State, VCU or Kansas or Trey wills them to the Final Four.
        Florida sure seems to have the easiest road to the Final Four.

      • Dan says:

        Well besides the brutal past three tourneys for Hoya fans everywhere, they just don’t score enough. Otto will be Otto I think but if Starks is having an off night points become really hard to come by. The Hoyas play the best D I’ve seen this year in my opinion, when they’re swarming teams they’re tough to beat. Defense can only get you so far though when breaking 70 is a surprise. I worry about them running into a very talented frontcourt and getting hammered on the glass or having foul trouble with a short bench.
        I hope I’m wrong as a fan but see them bowing out in the Sweet 16 game. SDSU worries me a bit, too.

        • Dan says:

          Basically, the Hoyas can beat anybody in their bracket and can lose to anybody in their bracket. Not exactly a quality you want in a team when picking them to go deep.

  4. Andy M says:

    I think Michigan goes to the elite 8. South Dakota State is a one man show, VCU only wins when they force turnovers and Michigan takes care of the ball better than any one in the country. And Michigan has a better backcourt than KU while McGary and Morgan can guard Withey.

    • ptiernan says:

      Andy – Gimme some of that blue Kool-Aid. Oh yeah!!

    • Naz says:

      “VCU only wins when they force turnovers and Michigan takes care of the ball better than any one in the country”. Thats how Michigan lost to Ohio, remember?

    • Jon Hiatt says:

      Wolters has the ball in his hands 95% of the time, which is concerning, but SD State’s bigs can both post up and step out and shoot from distance. Their wings can shoot 3′s as well. Game against Michigan will come down to making shots. If they do, Michigan will be making a “Beilein” home to Ann Arbor.

  5. cderrick77584 says:

    Is anyone looking at UNC pulling the upset over Kansas? In the seed matchup UNC meets all the criteria. Kansas is -4.6 under the scoring threshold for 1 seeds(80) and barely beats the 13.3 scoring margin(KU 13.9) that puts you on upset alert.

    Also, the only thing holding UNC back in regards to “The Anatomy of an Upset” criteria is their age. I have been on this site for a long time so I understand all those criteria are there for a reason but it is dangerously close.

    • ptiernan says:

      Caleb! Welcome back, my man! I have certainly thought twice about NC. Wasn’t it 2000 when everyone wrote the Tar Heels off–and they got to the Final Four as an 8 eight. Hmm. I can’t pull the trigger though.

      • cderrick77584 says:

        I think I read in your stuff that both they and Wisconsin pulled off upsets as an 8 seed. I would imagine that was the last time UNC was an 8 seed.

        There isn’t any real advantage of taking UNC over Kansas besides to say you were right. I don’t think anything supports them getting past either VCU or MI. Just something interesting to watch.

        If I were thinking of knocking Kansas out early I would do it in the round of 16 like others are already discussing.

    • JD says:

      I have UNC beating KS in my model, however, my model is based on a weighted scoring system, so when I factor in KenPom and COACH [KenPom*(1+COACH)] and deflating teams based on recent injuries and team turmoil/overinflation of stats, I have UNC losing to VCU who loses big to UF.

  6. Bob H says:

    As a fellow Michigan fan, I have no confidence we will get by VCU. I know we have the best turnover ratio in the country, but I see Shaka’s team speeding up the game so much that our inexperience and inferior coaching shows. I see Burke getting wild and failing to handle all the pressure, literally and figuratively, and when he’s not at his best, it’s tough for everyone to pick up the slack. Not to mention that VCU is a great offensive team, and we know how our defense is…

    • ptiernan says:

      That may be the case. But I think Michigan wants to play fast. And this isn’t the same VCU team that could hit threes like two years ago. It’s an interesting matchup to be sure.

  7. RickLBermes says:

    Hey Peter… will you be posting any of your filled out brackets to be viewed by insider members?

  8. Michael says:

    The 1, 2, and 3 seeds don’t pass the test to make the final four from earlier in the season. That made me make this my bracket with the biggest upsets. In my first run through I have Minnesota over UCLA, UNC over Kansas, VCU over Michigan, and VCU over Florida. This is definitely bold but this is for the free ESPN Tournament Challenge so bold will be better. I couldn’t decide whether to go with VCU or UNC so that might change too.

  9. Tom says:

    Speaking as an SEC guy… Florida’s team this year seems eerily reminiscent of their 2006 team. No true “go-to” guy, but talented across the board. And that ’06 team lost a few close games in SEC play, too (granted, the SEC was better that year.)

  10. Jon Scalf says:

    In the final four/champ rules doesnt VCU qualify the 5th seed rules?? I know based off the multi-qualifying tie breaker to take Kansas…but that 5-1 percentage might be one I take a flyer on. Also, are there any others that qualify other than UL, Oh St, and Indiana? Just trying to come up with a little less chalky final four.

  11. Jake Daniel says:

    Is anyone picking 12 California over 5 UNLV? It seems that Cal has decent upset odds. And, get this, these teams are playing in San Jose, CA, just an hour south (depending on traffic) from Cal’s Berkeley home. When’s the last time a 12 seed got home-court advantage?

  12. Andy Morgosh says:

    The game that I’m really struggling with in this region is Oklahoma v San Diego St. Does anyone have a compelling case for either squad?

    • aaron says:

      Don’t worry about 1st rd games that are toss ups unless you have the team going at least 2 or 3 rounds… if you have either of these teams losing in the next round then flip a coin and have fun rooting

  13. jbessa says:

    I drink Baby Blue cool-aid so take this with a grain of salt. But I think Minnesota has become a “wise-guy” pick due to offensive rebounding advantage, Big 10 conference and Jordan Adams injury. These are all legitimate reasons to pick against UCLA. In brackets that reward for upsets, Minnesota is a must use. But in straight up brackets, you actually get a contrarian value pick by using UCLA and in your favor you have a team that is more talented, doesn’t turn the ball over, plays well on the road and hasn’t loss 11 times in their last 16 games.

    • Andy Morgosh says:

      Couldn’t have said it better myself jbessa

    • ptiernan says:

      Darnit Jbessa! Now you’ve got me second-guessing myself. I’m actually doing a Keeper-Small Pool and Keeper-Large Pool bracket this year.

    • Alex says:

      That is too much for UCLA to overcome. The loss of Jordan Adams is going to put more pressure on Shabazz the Disciple. Look…. Neither team will get past Florida anyway so in this case I think its worth taking the risk of picking the Gophers.

  14. RickLBermes says:

    Need help…..Kansas or Florida…. who wins? Comments please!

    • Ryan Tressler says:

      I am struggling with this one as well . . . right now I am leaning Florida, but that is heavily influenced by KenPom, haha

      • RickLBermes says:

        I see that as being a close game… and we know what can happen to Florida in close games… who to pick? Comments welcomed.

    • Ryan Tressler says:

      Well, if you like the Final 4/Champ model for picking your Final 4, it would be wise to pick Kansas, haha, that is kind of slowly changing my mind

      • RickLBermes says:

        not to worry… I have changed my mind several times on this game if it happens?

        • John says:

          Am I doing the Final Four incorrectly because I think UNC qualifies as well as an 8 seed, but loses out to KU in the multi-candidate eliminators ?

          Is this accurate?

          • Ryan Tressler says:

            North Carolina gets dq’d because their backcourt does not score between 35% and 65% of their points (it scores 76%)

    • JD says:

      UNC takes down KS in my bracket. FL has the full monty of skills. Even with the size of KS, I don’t see them beating the backcourt of UNC. And I see neither team beating FL.

  15. FapDaddy says:

    Does anybody see San Diego St beating Georgetown in the 2nd round? Georgetown is a relatively weak 2 seed and San Diego St is relatively strong 7 seed. Both teams are good defensively so it would likely be close.

    • JD says:

      I have SDSU making the 16 over Gtown and losing by a big margin to FL.They will have a coaster of a first game, true, but I feel that they will not be ready for SDSU.

  16. A-Ro says:

    Kansas, Georgetown all fall under the “pretender” status.

    Kansas has a Pythag rank of 8 (worse than #5).
    Georgetown has a scoring defense, allowing less than 56.9 ppg and a rebounding margin of less than two.
    Florida scores less than 73 points per game and allows fewer than 64 points per game.

    So, that begs the question, which four to eleven seed will end up in the Final Four in this region?

  17. PH says:

    My South outlook for what its worth
    - Kansas is very vulnerable and either UNC, Michigan, or VCU will beat them.
    - Upset Alert: 15 Gulf Coast over 3 Geargetown.
    - Florida has the overall team to take this region.

    • ptiernan says:

      Agree on Kansas vulnerability. I think VCU is best constituted to do the deed.

    • ptiernan says:

      FGCU over G-town. Whoa. Hope you’re not pinning bracket hopes on that.

      • PH says:

        I’ve got a couple of brackets with that upset. They were able to get past Miami I know that was a long time ago. Another gut feel on this one.

        • AC says:

          If Porter struggles, I could see it happening. I would be stunned to see Gtown make it past Sweet 16 at best. I dont trust any team with that little offensive firepower, no matter how good their defense is.

  18. ptiernan says:

    As a Michigan fan, I was happy to see that we can win a game when Burke doesn’t play well. In fact, everyone else on the starting five–Hardaway, Robinson, McGary and Stauskas–stepped up. If they’re going to get by VCU, though, Burke must play better than that.

  19. Gary Diny says:

    I think Michigan is relieved to be playing outside of the Big Ten. They were undefeated prior to the start of conference play. The “grinding style” of the Big Ten does not suit their players skill set. Too much talent with experience to not get past the next game…..but Trey Burke muast play better.

    • Ryan Tressler says:

      VCU looks pretty good though

      • ptiernan says:

        I am not confident in M’s ability to handle that press. Of course, Akron was badly undermanned.

        • Gary Diny says:

          Michigan thriving not playing in the Big Ten. Reminds me a little of UConn from 2011. Undefeated pre-conference, roughed up in conference play, then gets back to free playing and goes on a RUN!!!!!!!!!!!!

  20. Platcat says:

    In Minneapolis getting “annoyed” at the ass-whooping VCU is putting on Akron. Up 30+ points and they can’t switch games? Anybody else suffering through the same?

    I already used up my Free 4 hours on NCAA.com…any other suggestions besides the local bar.

  21. Gary Diny says:

    on line streaming? TNT, TBS, Tru TV

  22. Chilliman says:

    Question for “Peter The Wizard”….Many of us play in a Slow Death round by round pickem challenge. Will you be addressing the probability changes bases on games that have been played? You can call it Bracket Pulse Check, or even Bracket Prognosis! Gracious, Chilliman

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