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Bracket Analysis: South Region

Casey Prather
Florida received the No.1 overall seed after a fantastic year in which they went 32-2 and won the SEC regular season title and conference tournament. The last time the Gators received the No. 1 seed was back in 2007 when the Florida dynasty that included Joakim Noah and Corey Brewer won their second straight title. The Gators are going to be very difficult to beat; they have four seniors, Patric Young, Casey Prather, Scottie Wilbekin and Will Yeguete and have the size to dominate teams. They haven't lost since December 2nd against UConn and that was without stud freshman Chris Walker and Wilbekin's future in Gainesville in question. They shouldn't get a tough enough of a test until the Elite Eight when it is likely they get the winner of Kansas/Syracuse.

Stephen F. Austin deserves your respect. The Lumberjacks are 31-2 and have won 28 straight games and can run up and down the court. They drew the 12 seed and will get VCU in the second round which will give them an awfully tough test. Shaka Smart has proven his "Havoc" defense can pull upsets but don't be surprised if the Lumberjacks stick in this one and even pull an upset.

A couple of weeks ago Kansas looked like a number one seed, before center Joel Embiid had back issues and had to miss a couple games. He is likely to miss their first meeting against Eastern Kentucky, who stunned Belmont to win the Ohio Valley, and possibly their next against an upset ready New Mexico team or Dwight Powell and Stanford, who is finally back in the Field of 68. The Jayhawks struggled earlier in the year, which made sense considering they are so young, but they have the talent to make a run. Even if Embiid misses some time, Andrew Wiggins has turned into a more aggressive option and it has resulted in him being a reliable offensive option and sophomore forward Perry Ellis is one of the most underrated players in the nation. Kansas had a brutal schedule out of the conference and the Big 12 did a great job in preparing them for what the rigorous tournament will have to offer. The only question may be their point guard play, where I'm not confident in junior's Naadir Tharpe can lead them to a Final Four.

Tulsa has taken major steps under former Kansas star Danny Manning in his first two years and they used sophomore guard James Woodard to win the Conference USA and finish on an 11-game winning streak. Woodard, who puts up 15.7 points per game and 5.8 rebounds is a streaky shooter who is great off the dribble as well. The Golden Hurricane get UCLA in the second round after being given the 13 seed. 20 years ago, Tulsa pulled off a huge upset when they beat the Bruins in the 1994 NCAA tournament. The Bruins have talented point guard Kyle Anderson running the show and have great depth. They shouldn't overlook this Golden Hurricane team who hasn't played in the tourney since 2002-2003 and comes into this game with nothing to lose.

Colorado's year took a huge hit when they lost their star scorer Spencer Dinwiddie for the year due to an ACL injury. Even without him the Buffaloes still received their third straight NCAA tournament bid after going 23-11 and finishing up 3rd inside the Pac-12. Now they get a real test against the No. 9 seed Pittsburgh in the second round. Jamie Dixon's teams always play hard and play defense and this year's Panthers have a dangerous scorer in Lamar Patterson and have proven they can shut down top-flight scorers. They will need to stop sophomore forward Josh Scott who has really stepped up in Dinwiddie's absence. Scott is a monster on the glass, averaging 8.5 boards per game and is always around the ball. If they can stop Patterson and Askia Booker steps up on the perimeter the Buffs could make some noise and possibly give Florida some issues in the third round.

Picking the South
Second Round
1 Florida over
16 Mt.St.Mary's/Albany

9 Pittsburgh over
8 Colorado

12 Stephen F. Austin over

13 Tulsa over

6 Ohio State over
11 Dayton

3 Syracuse over
14 Western Michigan

7 New Mexico over
10 Stanford

2 Kansas over
15 Eastern Kentucky

Third Round
1 Florida over
9 Pittsburgh

12 Stephen F. Austin over
13 Tulsa

3 Syracuse over
6 Ohio State

2 Kansas over
7 New Mexico

Sweet 16
1 Florida over
12 Stephen F. Austin

2 Kansas over Syracuse

1 Florida over 2 Kansas

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