Alabama is at the top of the South Region. Will the bracket open up for the Crimson Tide on the way to the Final Four?
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The South Region bracket features the No. 1 overall team – and the newcomer to this year’s field of powerhouses.
Alabama’s never qualified for a Final Four in basketball, but they’ve got a great chance this year. As the No. 1 overall team, the Crimson Tide have the best potential path of any team to the Final Four in Houston.
Can anyone stop the SEC Champions?
March Madness Bracket: South Region Preview
Let’s preview the South Region and its favorite, contenders and cinderella team.
The South Region Favorite
Crimson Tide coach Nate Oats must have taken some notes from Nick Saban on recruiting.
As if freshman Brandon Miller, the SEC’s Player of the Year and likely Top-5 pick in the upcoming NBA Draft, wasn’t enough, the Tide boasts season Jahvon Quinerly and Miller’s fellow freshman Jaden Bradley in the backcourt.
Noah Clowney, the third freshman and another future potential lottery pick, is 6-foot-10 and provides a 1-2 inside punch with Charles Bediako, a 7-foot Canadian defensive stopper.
It all adds up to a top-3 offense averaging more than 80 points a game. When the Crimson Tide’s defense is on, they’re close to unbeatable. But that’s where a few teams have gotten to them – quick guards and multi-level scorers can give Alabama trouble.
The South Region Contenders
The Pac-12 Tournament champs might be able to match Alabama in terms of prolific offense, but it’s the defensive end that’ll be the concern.
There’s ample scoring depth behind forward Azuolas Tubelis, a 6-foot-11 versatile scorer averaging almost a double-double this year. It’s tough to guard Tubelis with just one player, but if point guard Kerr Kriisa’s shoulder injury persists, it may limit the Wildcats’ upside.
They get to deal with No. 15 Princeton from the Ivy League – a notorious conference for first-round upsets over the years – right away.
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The Bears won it all back in 2021, but perhaps no single player has more on his shoulders than highly-touted freshman Keyonte George.
The Bears are deep and can shoot the 3, but their inconsistency was on display as they fell in round two of the Big 12 Tournament.
But if George makes the leap from “promising freshman” to “surefire NBA lottery pick” over the next three weeks, the sky is the limit.
This is your dad’s favorite college basketball team. The Cavaliers aren’t flashy, but they play airtight defense, don’t turn the ball over, and share the ball.
Virginia is at the top of most categories related to defensive efficiency and avoiding turnovers, but their scoring struggles were on display in an ACC Championship loss to Duke last weekend.
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The South Region’s Cinderella Team
Can you be a Cinderella team with a record of 31-3?
We’re about to find out. The stats are impressive – ten straight wins, 80 points per game, 40 rebounds per game. But maybe the best thing about Charleston is the fact that six different players average at least nine points per game, but no one averages more than 12 a game.
You can’t focus on any one player in a matchup with the Cougars.
South Region’s Best First Round Game
No. 3 Baylor vs. No. 14 UC-Santa Barbara: Aside from 2023’s entry to add to our list of college mascots, the UC-Santa Barbara Gauchos have a fast-paced offense that will put pressure on Baylor from the start.
Ajay Mitchell and Miles Norris are the two key cogs, with Norris uniquely suited, at 6-foot-10, to draw Baylor’s big men away from the basket with his outside shooting.
March Madness South Region Predictions
There’s no such thing as an easy road to the Final Four, so let’s just call Alabama’s path the most favorable.
The Tide can score with anyone, as can several teams in this region. Virginia poses the best threat to Alabama defensively, but the Crimson Tide are no slouches on that end either.
A tricky second-round matchup against Maryland or West Virginia should provide Alabama with exposure to a physical opponent. If they impress in that game, you’ve got to like the Tide’s chances to make their first Final Four.
March Madness South Region Pick
March Madness South Region Odds
Here are the odds for each team to win the South Region, along with their National Championship odds (all odds from FanDuel):
|TEAM||TO WIN SOUTH REGION||TO WIN NATIONAL TITLE|
|San Diego State||+1500||+10000|
|North Carolina State||+3500||+20000|
|UC Santa Barbara||+13000||+50000|
|SE Missouri State||+25000||+50000|