South Region Predictions
With the South Region of the NCAA Tournament see a surprise winner? Here’s our breakdown and predictions for this region.
According to oddsmakers at YouWager, Virginia is favored in this region, as the Cavaliers are getting odds of +130 to win. Other short odds to prevail are Cincinnati (+280), Arizona (+350) and Tennessee (+650).
The Favorite: Virginia +130
Virginia has been one of the best teams all season and posted a 31-2 record this season. The Cavaliers have the nation’s top defense, allowing only 53.4 points per game. However, the Cavs were dealt a blow this week, as the ACC’s Sixth Man of the Year, De’Andre Hunter, is out for the tournament with a broken wrist. Hunter contributed nearly 10 points per game to an offense without a lot of consistent scorers.
The Dark Horse: Kentucky +750
While Kentucky had an up-and-down regular season, the Wildcats seem to finally be playing to their potential entering the NCAA Tournament. Kentucky has won seven of its last eight, beating Tennessee in the SEC Championship last weekend. The Wildcats have the talent. It is young talent, but it is there. This team is looking like the Kentucky team that made it to the Final Four just a few years ago as an 8 seed.
Stay Away: Virginia +130
This may be the best team the Cavs have had, but the injury to Hunter takes some steam away. Also, the way Virginia plays is not a way I think is conducive to winning the NCAA Tournament. The Cavs want a slow game where it makes opponents work on offense. Eventually you run into a hot team in this three-week event and Virginia doesn’t have the offense to catch up if it falls behind. Some team it will face will get hot or be able to get in transition and the Cavaliers will be in trouble. There is a reason, as good as the program has been in recent years, it hasn’t made the Final Four as it is currently built.
South Region Prediction
I really like the Arizona/Kentucky winner in the round of 32 to come away as the eventual region champion. These two are likely to meet this weekend if they both can avoid upsets in their opener. Both are playing very well right now and have the talent of a top-seeded team. When push comes to shove, I will side with Kentucky. Sean Miller has a history of NCAA Tournament flubs and the Wildcats have more scoring options.
SOUTH REGION PREDICTION: KENTUCKY +750