Wednesday, March 14, 2012

NCAA Tournament Predictions: South Region

Here's our picks and bracket breakdown of the South Region

1st Round

1. Kentucky vs. 16. Western Kentucky
The battle for Kentucky. I'm sure a lot of WKU fans like the Wildcats as well. WKU is below .500, the Cats have NBA talent all over the floor.
The Pick: Kentucky

8. Iowa St. vs. 9. UConn
The Clones love to shoot the 3 and do it well shooting at a 38% clip. They also have Royce White, who is a rebounding machine and a tough matchup inside. UConn has been inconsistent the whole season. Their defense is terrible and they turn it over quite a bit. UConn has some of the best talent in the country though, but we're still not believing some of their hype.
The Pick Iowa State

5. Wichita State vs 12. VCU
We all know VCU made the epic run last season.  They did so because they had athletes and size all over the court.  They also shot the 3 very well.  This season they only shoot 33% from long range. The Rams will win if they can force their tempo and cause turnovers.  The problem is, Wichita St. doesn't turn it over. They can play any style but they will try to force VCU into a half court game.  The play of 7-0 Center Garrett Stutz will  be a key factor as well.
The Pick: Wichita State

4. Indiana vs. 13. New Mexico State
Indiana plays very well as a team. Tom Crean has really turned this program around.  Cody Zeller and Christian Watford are beasts down low. NMSU relies on it's interior play. They're one of the best rebounding teams in the country.  Wendell McKines avg a double-double and 6'11 post Hamidu Rahman is a beast down low. These two can counter Zeller and Watford. The Hoosiers will be missing Verdell Jones III as well.
The Pick: NMSU

6. UNLV vs. 11. Colorado
UNLV is a transition team and all of their losses have come when the pace was slowed and they were forced to play a half court game. The Buffs like to get out and run as well. I think this will tend to favor UNLV; esp. with Mike Moser and Chase Stanback. Colorado could take this one but on a neutral floor I'll give the Rebs the edge.
The Pick: UNLV

3. Baylor vs. 14 South Dakota State
Baylor has been inconsistent all season. They have the ability and tremendous athleticism and length, but they tend to take way too many jump shots instead of getting to the bucket in transition. Coach Scott Drew will utilize his zone to stop the shooters from SDSU. Nate Wolters is one of the best scorers in the country and Jordan Dykstra can stretch the defense for the Jacks.
The Pick: Baylor

7. Notre Dame vs. 10. Xavier
This is a huge toss-up. Notre Dame plays ugly and when their guards aren't hitting shots they are dead in the water. Xavier has been inconsistent but guards Tu Holloway and Mark Lyons are great slashers that can cause problems.
The Pick: Xavier

2. Duke vs. 15. Lehigh
Ryan Kelly's status is still up in the air but it won't matter.
The Pick: Duke

2nd Round

1. Kentucky vs. 8. Iowa State
If ISU wants to pull off the upset they need to be hot from the outside. There's no way they'll be able to do that with Anthony Davis down low. Royce White will be their only chance and he must get Davis in foul trouble. The Cats have too much talent.
The Pick: Kentucky

5. Wichita St. vs. 13. New Mexico State
NMSU's size could give fits to WSU, but this is where I see the Shockers guards coming into play. NMSU is not known for their guard play.
The Pick: Wichita State

3. Baylor vs. 6. UNLV
This looks more like a Sweet 16 matchup. Baylor will try to slow it down a little bit to catch UNLV off guard. The size and length will be a huge problem for the Rebels.
The Pick: Baylor

2. Duke vs. 10. Xavier
Holloway and Lyons need to be on their A game going against Austin Rivers and Seth Curry. Duke will outwork you and likely out shoot you. I see the Musketeers inconsistent play coming back to bite them.
The Pick: Duke

Sweet 16

1. Kentucky vs. 5. Wichita State
Kentucky has so many pieces that WSU will need to account for. Stutz must stay out of foul trouble but they might use a lot of pick and rolls to keep Davis out of the lane. The athleticism and length bodes well for the Cats.
The Pick: Kentucky

2. Duke vs. 3. Baylor
Duke's 3 point shooting will go cold at some point in the tourney.  This could be that game. They do not matchup well at all with the athletes of Baylor. The Bears defense can get lazy at times but they defend the 3 well enough.
The Pick: Baylor

Elite 8

1. Kentucky vs. 3 Baylor
This is my ideal matchup in this region. Both teams can get up and down the floor and have tremendous NBA talent and length. Kentucky has better guards and that could be the difference.
The Pick:: Kentucky