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Filling Out Your Bracket - Everything You Need to Know: South Region

Posted on 16. Mar, 2010 by Nolan Shulman in Tournaments, nba-draft


The NCAA tournament is upon us which means it's time to fill out your brackets and call in sick for Thursday/Friday. It's the best two days in sports. Getting together with the boys, dramatic buzzer beaters, Cinderella's, and Miller Light. It doesn't get any better. But before you finalize your bracket, let Flagrant Fouls fill you in on everything you need to know about each region.

From a prospect standpoint, the South is the weakest region in the bracket.  Baylor's Ekpe Udoh is the only player in the bracket who's a lock for the first round.  Guys like JaJuan Johnson, Kyle Singler, and Luke Harangody are on the first round bubble, but this region is nothing like the East; where 10 of the top 31 prospects reside.  That doesn't mean it doesn't have great teams.  In fact, the South region features Villanova ( Final Four last season), Duke (ACC Champions), and a host of other really competitive teams.  It's a wide open region and should provide us with entertainment and fire works all month long. 

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Everything You Need to Know: East Region

Everything You Need to Know: Midwest Region

Everything You Need to Know: West Region

Best First Round Matchup

#4 Purdue vs. #13 Sienna

Without Robbie Hummel, E'Twaun Moore and Jajuan Johnson will have to carry the load for the Boilermakers.  They're going to have to play a lot better than they did vs. Minnesota in the Big Ten Championship if they have any hopes of making it out of the first weekend of this tournament.  E'Twaun Moore had just 2 points and no assists in the contest, hurt his ankle, and was basically a non factor.  He's too important to their success and I just don't see Purdue moving on without him playing well.   In the 5 games since Hummel has gone down, the Boilermakers have scored less than 50 points twice and only once reached 70 points once(a win over Indiana).  Sienna averaged more than 75 points per game this year and will try to keep the tempo up and outscore the Boilermakers.  Without Hummel in the lineup, Alex Franklin (Sienna's leading scorer) should have a much easier time picking apart the Boilermakers.  He averaged 16.3 points and 8 rebounds this year.  You can also expect 6-9 big man Ryan Rossiter to play Jajuan very tough.  He's outstanding on the glass (11.1 rpg), shoots a high percentage (57%) and has reached double figures in 18 straight games.  The key to Sienna's success is senior point guard Ronald Moore.  While he isn't a scorer (6.8 ppg) or an efficient shooter (31%) he is an outstanding distributor (7.8 assists).  If he can get his guys in a position to be successful and keep the tempo in Sienna's favor, Sienna can certainly move on to the round of 32. 

Top NBA Draft Prospects

1. Ekpe Udoh, Baylor

2. JaJuan Johnson, Purdue

3. Kyle Singler, Duke

4. Luke Harangody, Notre Dame

5. Mason Plumlee, Duke

6. Jon Scheyer, Duke

7. Scottie Reynolds, Villanova

8. Corey Fisher, Villanova

9. Samardo Samuels, Louisville

10. Mouphtaou Yarou, Villanova


Best Player You've Never Heard Of

LaceDarius Dunn, Baylor

Dunn is the leading scorer for a Baylor team which finished the season in the top 15 in the country.  Despite that, not a lot of people outside of Big Twelve Country have seen much of him.  There's not much LaceDarius can't do.  He scores 19.4 points per game, shoots 42% from downtown, and pulls down nearly 5 rebounds per at just 6-4.  Dunn is also one of those guys who saves his best performances for the biggest stage and toughest competition.  He lit up Kansas for 27 and 9, dropped 30 on Texas, and torched  Kansas State for 26.  Between Dunn and Udoh, expect Baylor to make a sweet 16 appearance and give Nova everything they can handle, and then some.  If Dunn performs throughout the tournament like he has all season long, Baylor can beat anyone in the field.   

Potential Cinderella

St. Mary's Gaels

I know that it's tough to call the West Coast Conference Champions and #10 Seed in the South a potential Cinderella but looking at their draw, it's going to take a small miracle to make the regional finals.  Not only will they have to beat a very tough Richmond team, but they'll have to beat Villanova (a Final Four team last year) and Baylor.   One thing the Gaels have going for them is that they are playing their best basketball of the season right now.  They just smacked the Zags by 19 points in the Finals of the WCC tournament.  They have all the ingredients to get it done in March.  Two guards who can distribute the basketball (Mickey McConnell and Matthew Dellavedova both average more than 4.5 dimes per) and a post player who can get points in the paint (Omar Smahan averages close to 21 ppg).  If they can establish Omar early and often they can cause problems for Nova and Baylor; two guard dominant teams.  First things first, the Gaels need to handle their business in the first round vs. Richmond. 


Best Potential Head to Head Battle

Ekpe Udoh vs. Luke Harangody

This potential second round matchup should be one of the best battles of the first weekend.  Harangody doesn't have the upside or talent of Udoh, but he's been one of the most productive players in Big East history.  Both players possess excellent versatility as they can play out on the perimeter or bang underneath.  They both rebound the basketball effectively and play very hard the entire game.  The one advangtage I see (and it's a big one) is that Udoh is a much better defensive player than Gody.  Udoh is going to be productive on the offensive end, but if he can make Gody work for his buckets and force him to shoot a low percentage, expect Baylor to move on. 


Elite 8 Prediction

#1 Duke vs. #2 Villanova


Although I love Baylor and Notre Dame, I just can't forsee Scottie Reynolds letting his team bow out early.  It won't be easy, but Nova will use their experience to ensure they survive long enough to square off with the Blue Devils.  Duke's run to the Elite 8 is much easier.  Their stiffest competition is a depleted Purdue squad which just lost it's best player to injury.  Getting to the Elite 8 is one thing, getting out is going to be a completely different animal for Scheyer, Singler, and the Devils.  It should be an outstanding battle between the guards.  Reynolds and Fisher vs. Scheyer and Smith is definately must see TV.  Both teams can stroke it, both teams are experienced, and both teams feature upperclassmen with one final chance at their one shinning moment. 



Final Four Prediction

Villanova Wildcats

I'm a big believer that having great guard play is the most important ingredient come March.  Since you are likely to see some defenses you haven't yet seen in your own conference, big man become neutralized a little more frequently.  Anything can happen in the tournament, which is why having guards who play with poise and enjoy the big stage is crucial for long term success.  No team in this tournament has a more experienced guard tandem than the Wildcats.  Reynolds and Fisher have been to the Final Four, made big plays down the stretch of big games, and enjoy having to make a play with everything on the line. 


Midwest Region MOP

Scottie Reynolds, Villanova

Last year's tournament hero remains one of the most clutch players in America.  While he missed a potential game winning three against West Virginia at the end of the Big East regular season, he has a track record of making big time plays in big time games.  If the game is close and Villanova needs a big play, Reynolds is almost a lock to make something positive happen.  He did it last year, and I'm predicting he does it again this year (his final run at a National Championship). 


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Tags: , , , , , , , , Mason Plumlee, Mouphtaou Yarou, samardo samuels,

3 Responses to “Filling Out Your Bracket - Everything You Need to Know: South Region”

  1. NCAA Tournament: Round 2 Standouts/Flops | Flagrant Fouls 22. Mar, 2010

    [...] declaring Dunn the best player you've never heard of earlier in the week, Dunn has made sure he won't ever have that label again.  He put it to [...]

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  2. Filling Out Your Bracket - Everything You Need to Know: East Region | Flagrant Fouls 18. Mar, 2010

    [...] Filling Out Your Bracket - Everything You Need to Know: South Region [...]

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  3. Filling Out Your Bracket - Everything You Need To Know: Midwest Region  | Flagrant Fouls 18. Mar, 2010

    [...] Everything You Need to Know: South Region [...]

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