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Breaking Down the South Region & UC's Draw

posted Mar 14, 2017, 9:55 AM by Jacob Geiser
UC has been given a gift from above! They get a favorable path to make a run in the NCAA Tournament! False. UC has been given the South Region, which can basically be considered as death row.

Here is what the South Region looks like for those of you who may not know.

Looks like a whole lot of fun. Minnesota getting the 5 over UC makes no sense. Minnesota was never, NEVER ranked higher than UC all year. They didn't make their conference championship game and UC resume looks better than the Gophers. But, they gave UC a 6 seed. That is sweet.

Along with that, they gave UC probably the hardest play in game opponents you could give them of the 4 options. Kansas St and Wake Forest were 2 teams I thought were at least 8-9 seeds, but apparently not.

My first thought is that the South Region is loaded with teams who can make a run to win it all, and teams who are sleepers to make a run. The adults at the dinner table are UNC, Kentucky, and UCLA. They are the ones who are eying Glendale, Arizona. However, the big kids who want to be at the adult table but may not be old enough yet are UC, Butler and Wichita State. Then there is the kids table. I liken those teams to the kids from Cheaper by the Dozen. When they soak Ashton Kutcher's underwear in meat so the dog can go to town on him. They are the ones who are planning to ruin the dinner party at all costs. That is where Winthrop and Middle Tennessee fall into place.

UNC is the favorite to come out of the South after that UK and UCLA are clear favorites. Those teams have met in some way during the regular seasons so it wouldn't be surprising to see them play again. UCLA beat UK, while UK turned around and beat UNC. Butler and Minnesota as the 4/5 seeds are good teams, but flawed. Butler didn't last long in the Big East tournament and some of their inconsistent play against suspect teams has me skeptical of a big run from the Bulldogs. Winthrop is no slouch at the 13 seed. They have great guard play and seem like a team who can play Cinderella. Minnesota is good, but not #5 seed good IMO. Also, Middle Tennessee is a dangerous 12 seed. March could be short for the Gophers. I'll go into UC later. The 7-10 game with Dayton and Wichita State is really intriguing. Dayton limped to the finish line, while Wichita State never really beat a good team during the regular season. These are 2 of the most famous mid-majors who can make runs. That game will be a good one. The 1st timer NKU draws Kentucky in the first round for another exciting matchup. UK will run away late, but NKU isn't going to let big brother slap them around. The South Region is Death Row, but my oh my is it filled with intriguing matchups.

Don't sleep on the Cats making a run.
UC got the losing end of the wishbone from Thanksgiving. Their draw could've been A LOT better but it isn't. I'm moving past it and thinking positive. UC will get the winner of the Kansas St./Wake Forest game. UC wants to see Kansas State. Wake Forest is a very good team led by 1st team All-ACC John Collins. The center averages 19 ppg, and about 10 rebounds per game. Along with some solid shooters, I'd rather stay away from them. Kansas State is a much more favorable matchup and UC should have its way with them. UC should beat either teams regardless.

Then if all goes right, UC gets a matchup with the high powered offense of UCLA led by Freshmen phenom Lonzo Ball. UC is ranked #12 in RPI to UCLA's #16. That matchup is a lot more intriguing than people may think. UCLA is a fast paced team. They love to move the ball around as much as possible and shoot the 3. Offensively, they are one of the best in the country. Scoring roughly 90 ppg to Cincinnati's 75 ppg. However, UCLA isn't a very good defensive team and UC is one of the best. One thing will have to give. UC has the chance to really control the tempo of this game and keep this game closer than people think. UC can score and defend this year for a change and that should bode well for them.

Looking deeper into UCLA they struggle in their losses a lot. In their 4 losses they have turned it over on average 12.7 times ppg. That is something UC can use to their advantage. UC's adjusted defensive efficiency is ranked #11 at 91.9, while UCLA is sitting at 99.8 (78th). Along with turning the ball over, UCLA has shot horribly from the 3 point line in those losses.

UCLA's 4 losses:
4-25 (16%) = 86-75 loss to Arizona -- TO's: 14
6-20 (30%) = 84-76 loss to USC -- TO's: 17
10-31 (32.3%) = 96-85 loss to Arizona -- TO's: 6
11-25 (44%) = 89-87 loss to Oregon -- TO's: 14

Clearly there is an achilles heal to the Bruins. If the 3 doesn't fall they struggle. Even if it does they tend to turn the ball over a lot in those losses. Even with the solid shooting in the 89-87 loss to Oregon, TO's made the difference.

UC CAN beat UCLA, I'm not saying they will. I'm just saying it can happen. This matchup is more favorable than some people would like to think. Little fun fact, the last time UC was a 6 seed. They went to the Sweet Sixteen and weren't supposed to beat the respected 3 seed, Florida State. Just a little reminder to the Bearcat faithful.

I'll show you guys my bracket later this week before the first set of games on Thursday. March Madness is finally here...