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The brackets are out! Make sure you download your bracket here. Kansas received the number two overall No. 1 seed and they’re heading to Kansas City on Friday in the South Region to take on Western Kentucky. That is all that is guaranteed for Kansas so far.
However, I’m here to break-down all the teams in the South Region and their chances to face Kansas along the way. Let’s get going:
Kansas vs. Western Kentucky - Friday, March 22nd, 2013
Western Kentucky is the No. 16 seed in the South Region and were 20-15 in the 2012-13 season. They finished 4th in the Sun Belt Conference East (sixth overall). They ended up winning the Sun Belt Conference Tournament by defeating Florida International on March 11th, 65-63.
Western Kentucky is 0-4 against teams in the field of 68:
Lost to Louisville 78-55
Lost to VCU 76-44
Lost to Middle Tenn. State 70-62 and 72-53
Kenpom Rank: 183
Kenpom Adjusted Offense Rank: 177
Kenpom Adjusted Defense Rank: 182
Kenpom Tempo: 182
RealTimeRPI RPI Rank: 149
RealTimeRPI SOS Rank: 160
RealTimeRPI Sun Belt Conference RPI: 15 (that’s bad)
Good Wins: None
Bad Losses: Florida Atlantic (twice), Murray State, Arkansas Little Rock, Florida International
Player to Watch For: T.J. Price (15.3 points per game, 4.4 rebounds per game, 2.4 assists per game). The sophomore has been on fire since February started (in 12 games, he has scored in double figures in 10 of them). He has had nine 15+ point or more performances since February began, including six 20+ point performances.
Prediction: This isn’t even a question. There has never been a No. 16 that has beat a No. 1 seed. It is not happening on Friday night in Kansas City. Kansas moves on to the Round of 32 on Sunday.
Round of 32 Potential Match-ups (Sunday, March 24th):
No. 8 North Carolina vs. No. 9 Villanova
Kenpom Rank: 28
Kenpom Adjusted Offense Rank: 27
Kenpom Adjusted Defense Rank: 47
Kenpom Tempo: 16
RealTimeRPI RPI Rank: 17
RealTimeRPI SOS Rank: 10
RealTimeRPI Conference RPI: 4
Good Wins: UNLV, North Carolina State, Miami
Bad Losses: Texas
If Kansas plays North Carolina on Sunday, it’ll be the third matchup in the NCAA tournament between KU and UNC in the last five years. Bill Self has gotten the best of Roy Williams both times. This game isn’t as high-stakes as the previous two, however. Of course, Kansas beat UNC in the 2008 Final Four and in the 2013 Elite Eight. There were questions of UNC’s tournament chances a month ago but they’ve won seven of their last ten games. They just lost to Miami in the ACC Tournament Final. Carolina finished third in the ACC and their regular season was 24-10 and 12-6 in the ACC.
Carolina has a team that can give the Jayhawks a fit because they have a small guard lineup and that limits Jeff Withey’s ability to change the game defensively. However, Bill Self has proven he can beat talented Carolina teams in the past and the Jayhawks are a clearly superior team.
Kenpom Rank: 45
Kenpom Adjusted Offense Rank: 94
Kenpom Adjusted Defense Rank: 24
Kenpom Tempo: 93
RealTimeRPI RPI Rank: 52
RealTimeRPI SOS Rank: 21
RealTimeRPI Conference RPI: 3
Good Wins: Louisville, Syracuse, Marquette, Georgetown
Bad Losses: Columbia, Seton Hall
Villanova comes out of the Big East with a 20-13 record and a 10-8 Big East record. That record should not fool you, however. They’re a solid team and they’ve proven they can beat good teams as they’ve taken out Louisville (No. 1 overall seed), Syracuse, Marquette and Georgetown, all No. 4 seeds or better. They’ve had some bad losses. However, they were early in the season.
Prediction: North Carolina beats Villanova and faces Kansas on Sunday.
Potential Sweet 16 Opponents:
No. 5 Seed VCU:
Kenpom Rank: 21
Kenpom Adjusted Offense Rank: 19
Kenpom Adjusted Defense Rank: 43
Kenpom Tempo: 63
RealTimeRPI RPI Rank: 24
RealTimeRPI SOS Rank: 49
RealTimeRPI Conference RPI: 7
Good Wins: Memphis, Belmont, Butler
Bad Losses: Missouri
VCU finished the season 26-8 overall and 12-4 in the Atlantic 10. They finished second to St. Louis in the regular season and in the postseason tournament. This potential matchup gives Kansas a shot at revenge for 2011. The Rams took down Kansas in the 2011 Elite 8, 71-61. Think Bill Self remembers Shaka Smart? You bet he does. Their play style is a tough matchup for the 2013 Jayhawks. However, VCU needs to take care of business against Akron and Michigan before they get a shot at KU.
No. 12 Akron
Kenpom Rank: 54
Kenpom Adjusted Offense Rank: 89
Kenpom Adjusted Defense Rank: 33
Kenpom Tempo: 135
RealTimeRPI RPI Rank: 47
RealTimeRPI SOS Rank: 131
RealTimeRPI Conference RPI: 17 (that’s bad)
Good Wins: Middle Tenn. St,
Bad Losses: Coastal Carolina, Kent. St, Buffalo
Akron finished 26-6 this season, and won the Mid-American regular season (14-2) and postseason championships. VCU shouldn’t have a problem with the Zips
No. 4 Michigan
Kenpom Rank: 11
Kenpom Adjusted Offense Rank: 2
Kenpom Adjusted Defense Rank: 58
Kenpom Tempo: 215
RealTimeRPI RPI Rank: 19
RealTimeRPI SOS Rank: 45
RealTimeRPI Conference RPI: 2
Good Wins: Pittsburgh, Kansas State, NC State, Iowa, Minnesota, Ohio State, Michigan State
Bad Losses: Penn State
Michigan finished the season with a lot of problems. They finished fourth in the Big Ten with a 26-7 overall record and a 12-6 conference record. Since February, they’ve lose to Indiana twice, Wisconsin twice, Michigan State, and Penn State (ouch). So they’re 6-6 in their last 12 games after starting the season with 16 straight wins. Trey Burke was the Big Ten Player of the Year and will most likely be in the top three for National Player of the Year. He’s a great point guard and if he lives up to his hype, he should help the Wolverines face the Jayhawks in the Sweet 16.
No. 13 South Dakota State
Kenpom Rank: 102
Kenpom Adjusted Offense Rank: 39
Kenpom Adjusted Defense Rank: 209
Kenpom Tempo: 258
RealTimeRPI RPI Rank: 62
RealTimeRPI SOS Rank: 175
RealTimeRPI Conference RPI: 19 (that’s bad)
Good Wins: Montana, Belmont, New Mexico (!)
Bad Losses: South Dakota, Hofstra, Oakland, CSU Bakersfield, Murray St.
South Dakota State finished the season with a 25-9 record, including a 13-3 record in the Summit League Conference. They beat North Dakota State to win the Summit League Championship postseason tournament. They’ve had some really good wins, especially their win over No. 3 seed New Mexico in the Pit. But they’ve also lost to Hofstra… That’s not good. Nate Wolters is a huge scoring threat but Michigan shouldn’t have a problem disposing of these Jackrabbits.
Elite Eight Potential Match-ups:
No offense to Florida Golf Coast, Oklahoma, San Diego State, and Northwestern State, I’m not going to break them down to reach the Elite Eight. If they want to use this as motivation to win their first three games of the tournament, fine by me.
No. 2 Seed Georgetown
Kenpom Rank: 12
Kenpom Adjusted Offense Rank: 62
Kenpom Adjusted Defense Rank: 4
Kenpom Tempo: 313
RealTimeRPI RPI Rank: 10
RealTimeRPI SOS Rank: 17
RealTimeRPI Conference RPI: 3
Good Wins: UCLA, Louisville, Marquette, Syracuse (twice)
Bad Losses: South Florida
Georgetown is my pick to face off against Kansas in the Elite 8. Otto Porter Jr vs. Ben McLemore will be a great potential match-up, as they may be the No. 1 and No. 2 picks in the 2013 NBA Draft.
No. 3 Seed Florida
Kenpom Rank: 1
Kenpom Adjusted Offense Rank: 5
Kenpom Adjusted Defense Rank: 2
Kenpom Tempo: 299
RealTimeRPI RPI Rank: 6
RealTimeRPI SOS Rank: 24
RealTimeRPI Conference RPI: 8
Good Wins: Wisconsin, Marquette
Bad Losses: Missouri
Florida is a team that can win the National Championship and they’re a team that could potentially lose in the Round of 64 or 32. They’re 0-6 in games decided by nine points or less… so I don’t really like their chances in a high-pressure tournament. Their offense and defense is highly rated in Kenpom and their RPI is great. However, they played in the weak SEC that didn’t really give them many tests. They blew out a lot of teams.
They lost to Kansas State in the Sprint Center back in December. They also lost to Missouri. I just don’t think they’re good enough to make it to the Elite 8. If they do face off against Kansas, I really like the Jayhawks’ chances. Bill Self always keeps games close and Florida can’t get it done in close games.
No. 6 Seed UCLA
Kenpom Rank: 44
Kenpom Adjusted Offense Rank: 38
Kenpom Adjusted Defense Rank: 65
Kenpom Tempo: 35
RealTimeRPI RPI Rank: 29
RealTimeRPI SOS Rank: 20
RealTimeRPI Conference RPI: 6
Good Wins: Arizona (three times)
Bad Losses: Cal Poly
I think UCLA has a team that can go to the Sweet 16 but can also lose their first game. Minnesota is a better team, in my opinion and I’m picking the Golden Gophers to get that 11 over 6 upset.
No. 11 Seed Minnesota
Kenpom Rank: 23
Kenpom Adjusted Offense Rank: 26
Kenpom Adjusted Defense Rank: 42
Kenpom Tempo: 288
RealTimeRPI RPI Rank: 34
RealTimeRPI SOS Rank: 4
RealTimeRPI Conference RPI: 2
Good Wins: Memphis, South Dakota State, North Dakota State, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Indiana
Bad Losses: Northwestern, Nebraska, Purdue
Minnesota was one of those teams that got a lot of praise early in the season and rightfully so. Their only lose until mid-January was to Duke. Then they had a tough time in Big Ten Conference play. To be fair, the Big Ten is one of the best conferences in the country. However, they took a couple bad losses to Northwestern, Nebraska and Purdue. With Tubby Smith at the helm, they certainly have a coaching staff that knows how to win it all. I have them knocking off No. 6 UCLA and they’re going to give Florida a tough time in the Round of 32.
South Region Prediction:
Kansas prevails in the South region. They will take down Western Kentucky, North Carolina, Michigan,and Georgetown on their way to their second straight Final Four.
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