South Region: Kansas and Georgetown dominate the region
On Friday, 32 more teams will take to the courts across the country to complete the first round of NCAA tournament action.
The South region has a great lineup of games on hand on Friday starting with the Georgetown Hoyas versus Florida Gulf Coast. Georgetown enters the game as the No. 2 seed in the region, while FGC is the No. 15 seed.
On paper, Georgetown holds all the advantages, but basketball is not played on paper and the Hoyas will have to go out and prove they are the better team. Georgetown is winners of 13 of its past 15 games overall, but lost to Syracuse in the semifinals of the Big East Tournament.
FGC cannot be taken lightly as they upset the ACC regular season champions the Miami Hurricanes earlier this season. They also played well and lost to St. John’s and Iowa State. However, they will have a hard time defending the Otto Porter from the Hoyas, the Player of the Year in the Big East.
In another great matchup, the ACC will take on the Big East when the North Carolina Tar Heels play the Villanova Wildcats. Both teams have had up and down seasons, but both have played their best basketball over the past month and a half.
North Carolina won 11 of its last 15 regular season games and reached the final of the ACC season ending tournament. The Wildcats were 7-3 over their last 10 before losing in the quarterfinals of the Big East tournament to Louisville. Look for a close battle in this matchup.
Florida the No. 3 seed takes on Northwestern State the No. 14 seed in game that should be dominated by the Gators. The last time Northwestern State played in the NCAA tournament was in 2006 and the Demons were ranked No. 14 as well and upset No. 3 Iowa at the buzzer.
The Demons top the nation in scoring averaging 81 points per game, but the suffocating defense of Florida has not given up 80 points to any opponent this season and is third in the nation in points allowed with 53.7 per game. However, the Gators lost the SEC tournament to Mississippi by three points and are 0-6 in games that are decided by six points or less.
Oklahoma takes on San Diego State in another matchup of two teams with similar records. Both teams have struggled of late. SDS has lost five of nine and Oklahoma three of its last five. This game could go either way.
The No. 1 seed, the Kansas Jayhawks face the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers the No. 16 ranked team. Kansas is looking to return to the Final Four for the second straight season. The Jayhawks will look to up the tempo in this matchup. The Hilltoppers have won at least one game in three of the last four appearances in the tournament.
The last game in the region has UCLA facing Minnesota. UCLA is ranked higher at No. 6 to Minnesota’s No. 11 but Minnesota is favored. UCLA must play with Jordan Adams their point guard and second leading scorer who hurt his foot in the semifinals of the Pac-12 tournament. The Bruins then lost the finals of the Pac-12 to Oregon. This game will be tight and Minnesota could give the Bruins an early exit.