South Region Breakdown

  1. Virginia
  2. Tennessee
  3. Purdue
  4. Kansas St.

Sleeper team to win: Villanova

I am going to contradict myself by saying my sleeper is the same team that I think could be on upset alert.  The Villanova Wildcats had a rollercoaster season, ultimately though the ride was enjoyable for Jay Wrights crew as they took home the Big East regular season and tournament title.  Phil Booth and Eric Paschall are big time players that can carry the load for the Wildcats that lost literally their entire lineup to the NBA last season.  They will face off with upset minded St. Mary’s fresh off a destruction of heavily favored Gonzaga in the Mountain West Conference tournament.  St. Mary’s will have another upset on their mind in this matchup that currently seems like a toss- up according to most insiders.  If Jay Wrights crew does get by St. Marys they have a cast of unproven but solid teams in their way including a Purdue team that is basically a one man show and a Tennessee team that can be unfocused at times. 

Potential First Round Upset: Oregon over Wisconsin

This is popular.  Both teams play a slow and defensive game.  Oregon has caught fire at the right time though running through the Pac12 tournament and forcing their way on to the scene.  Louis King has emerged as a playmaker on the offensive end and they get great point guard play from Payton Prichard.  While I want to see Ethan Happ get a great run in the tournament his problems from the free throw line could lead to an early exit for the Badgers. 

Keep an eye on the health of Dean Wade.  If he cannot play another potential upset could be UC Irvine over Kansas State.  UC Irvine is very good at defending the rim. 

Who’s going to win it: Virginia

The Cavaliers will come into the 2019 tournament motivated.  Virginia lost three games during the season to Duke (2) and Florida State in the ACC tournament. They have their issues on the offensive end but the bracket breaks down well for them.  A potential third round matchup with Ole Miss or Oklahoma will be a walk in the park with only a potential matchup with K-State or Wisconsin whom doesn’t have the athletes to beat Virginia. Tennessee is the only team that realistically has the players to matchup with Virginia defense.

Second Round Picks:

Virginia

Ole Miss

Oregon

UC Irvine

Villanova

Purdue

Cincinnati

Tennessee 

Each Conferences Sleeper Team

Big Ten- Maryland Terrapins

I may be more of a believer in Maryland then most, but this team seems to have something.  Bruno Fernando is an elite big that could develop into an NBA superstar if put in the right situation. Fernando is an elite player that will be drawing double teams in big games. 

Guards Anthony Cowan, Aaron Wiggins and Eric Ayala will have open opportunities to get wide open shots from deep.  Ayala in particular will be huge shooting 47% from three on the season.  Wiggins and Cowan bring an 80% free throw shooting rate which can be a huge asset down the stretch in a close game.  Look at the UConn team that featured Shabazz Napier a few years ago, when they had a lead in the fourth quarter the game was essentially over.

The battle tested Terrapins currently hold an RPI of 27 and SOS of 27.  Two big matchups with Michigan will show the world what the potential of this team really is.

Big 12- Baylor Bears

If you have bet against the Baylor Bears this year you have probably found yourself cursing at the TV as they pull of another underdog upset. A team left for dead after their embarrassing opening night loss to Texas Southern has emerged as a potential contender in the Big 12.  It’s all pretty much pointless as we know Kansas is going to win the conference, but the Bears can be a problem for teams come March.

The Bears have quality wins over Iowa State, Oklahoma, TCU and Alabama have put Baylor back on the map after their brutal start.  Senior leadership of Makai Mason and King McClure will be huge in during March Madness.  Baylor shoots at a staggering 45% from the field while also being road warriors. Baylor is 4-1 straight up over its last five road games. This team is experienced and efficient.  A long run could be in store for the Bears.

ACC – Syracuse Orange

The perennial bubble team Syracuse should find themselves comfortably in the dance come tournament time, despite their poor showing at home against Florida State last night. The Orange are never a team to bet against, just ask the Duke Blue Devils.  This team has a SOS of 25 with quality non-conference wins over Ohio State and an emerging Georgetown team.

Frank Howard is the difference maker for Syracuse.  Howard is currently shooting above 40% on the season while be the floor general for a team that has to keep the ball moving for a chance to score.  3-point shooting with obviously be a factor as the Orange are about as bad as they come in that attribute shooting just 32% on the season.

Despite their shooting struggle Syracuse brings an elite defense and great experience on the floor.  They will be a team that no one wants to face in March.

SEC- Auburn Tigers

Most have forgotten that the Auburn Tigers were a top ten team at the start of 2019. Losses to NC State, Duke, Kentucky, at South Carolina and at Mississippi State took them out of the rankings but outside of the loss at South Carolina none of those horrible defeats.  Currently projected as a potential seven seed would put them in a great place come tournament time.

Bryce Brown and Jared Harper are as good as it gets backcourt tandom.  They should be getting back Center Austin Wiley for the stretch run as well.  Wiley a player that can anchor the defense averaging nearly two blocks per game in just sixteen minutes played per game. 

This team is too reliant on the 3-point shooting, if they are dropping they could be impossible to beat.  Their depth and running style will be a matchup that can where down opponents that have to play multiple games over a short time period.

Pac 12- Washington Huskies

There was really no other option.  They are ok in a PAC12 that is brutal.  They could win a game or lose in the first round.  Only other option was maybe UCLA.