2019 NCAA Tournament South Region Preview

by Dennis Sosic
2019 NCAA Tournament West Region Preview

The time of the year when anyone can be an expert and everyone is a sports fan:  March Madness!  Individuals who couldn't tell the difference between a double dribble or a double play end up filling out a bracket in an attempt to win some money. And they are the ones that usually win! They don't call it March Madness for anything!

Regardless, the guys here at Fantasy Six Pack want to help you fill out your bracket. We will break down each region and project winners and losers, and of course, the upsets. Welcome to the 2019 NCAA Tournament South Region Preview and Good Luck!

No.1 seed Virginia will be the story of this region. They are looking to recover over last year's loss as a No.1 seed that everyone wants to discuss with Tony Bennett. The Cavaliers are coming off a great season and still have a lockdown defense. Will the offense do enough?

No.2 seed Tennessee came in with huge expectations and were looked upon as a possible No.1 seed until deflating losses to Auburn. Is the one-two punch of Grant Williams and Admiral Schofield enough to carry them to the Final Four? No.3 Purdue relies on schemes and their do-everything guard Carsen Edwards. Someone else will need to step up for the Boilermakers. No. 4 Kansas State's hopes rely on the health of forward Dean Wade's. If Wade is not able to play, the Wildcats might be one and done.

Defending champions and No. 6 seed Villanova still won the Big East even after losing four players to the NBA. They depend upon their outside shooting to allow them to advance, but if they get cold, it's over. No.7 Cincinnati always chokes in the tournament! Keep that in mind while you fill out your brackets.

Look out for the No.12 seed Oregon and No.13 seed UC Irvine. Each team will be bracket busters this year.

2019 NCAA Tournament South Region Preview

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Breakdown of the Top-4 Seeds

#1-Seed Virginia Cavaliers

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Are the Cavaliers recovered by last year's early exit? They became the first No.1 seed to fall to a No.16 seed in NCAA Tournament history with the previous year's tremendous loss to UMBC.

The Cavaliers are as talented and as balanced as a Tony Bennett team has ever been. They have the best player in the region in sophomore De'Andre Hunter. Their defense remains as lockdown as ever.

Virginian had the No. 1 overall placement on the KenPom.com efficiency rankings and will have something to prove in this tournament. Unfortunately, they have lost in the NCAA Tournament six times as a higher-seed team. Virginia is the favorite, but they are not a lock to advance.

#2-Seed Tennessee Volunteers

Grant Williams and Admiral Schofield lead a talented starting five that are playing great basketball. Their only losses in the regular season came against teams that were ranked inside the top-15. However, the Vols also have three wins against top-5 teams (No.1 Gonzaga and two against No.5 Kentucky).

They feature a balanced offense with five players averaging double figures, and their elite athleticism helps them bring down 40 rebounds per game.

In January, Tennessee moved into the top spot of the AP poll, which they held for four weeks. This is the second consecutive year that the Vols have made the NCAA Tournament under head coach Rick Barnes. Their defense has lapsed late this leading to a 6-4 record in their last ten games, which doesn't bode well in March.

#3-Seed Purdue Boilermakers

Purdue is the co-champion of the Big Ten and has won 14 of their last 17 games. They led the conference in three-point shooting and are directed by league scoring champ Carsen Edwards.

Edwards averaged 23.5 points per game but only shot of 11 of 48 in the two recent losses to Minnesota. He is the only Purdue player to average more than 12 points a game this season.

Purdue will be heavy favorites in their first matchup against Old Dominion, but the remaining potential matchups look daunting for the Boilermakers.

#4-Seed Kansas State Wildcats

Kansas State has an elite defense, but their offense is struggling without their second-leading scorer Dean Wade. Wade has been out with a foot injury.

There are too many questions for K-State who won the Big 12 Conference tournament.

Would not be surprised if they fall in the first round to No.13 seed UC Irvine.

Dark Horse Team of the Region

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#10-Seed Oregon Ducks

They have the best Sweet 16 odds of any double-digit seed in the tournament. The Ducks have won eight straight games heading into the tournament.

Oregon has a suffocating defense as they have limited its opponents to just 54.2 points per game on 34.6-percent (143 of 413) shooting since their last loss in February.

Guard Payton Pritchard has led the resurgence, and he goes so do the Ducks. I smell upset in the first round over the Wisconsin Badgers.

Likeliest Upsets:

  • No.13 UC Irvine over No.4 Kansas State
  • No. 12 Oregon over No. 5 Wisconsin

Other Player(s) to Watch From the Region

De'Andre Hunter, F, Virginia

The redshirt sophomore is averaging career-highs in points (15.1) and rebounds (5.0). He is the top perimeter defender for Virginia and was also named ACC Defensive Player of the Year.

His length allows him to guard multiple positions — the player to watch in the South region and a top-10 draft prospect.

Carsen Edwards, G, Purdue

Edwards averaged 23.0 points and 3.0 assists per game for the Boilermakers. He was a unanimous Big Ten First-Team selection, and he is the heart and soul of the team.

If he struggles, Purdue has no one else that can step up.

Payton Pritchard, G, Oregon

Pritchard dominated the Pac-12 Tournament and committed just four turnovers in 138 minutes played.

Pritchard led the Ducks to win over the top three ranked seeds in the tournament and scored in double figures in three out of the four games. He has turned into a star. He will be exciting to watch in these games.

Grant Williams, F, Tennessee

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Williams won his second straight SEC Player of the Year Award. He was also unanimous first-team All-SEC selection.

He led the SEC in scoring with 19.3 points per game and second in league with a field-goal percentage of 56.9. Williams has scored at least 20 points in eight SEC games and leads an impressive Tennessee squad who have a legitimate shot at making to the Final Four.

Pack Your Bags for Minneapolis

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Elite Eight Matchup: No. 1 Virginia vs. No.2 Tennessee

Yes, a chalk matchup, however, Virginia finally gets over the massive loss from last year and puts up two impressive wins. On the other hand, Tennessee guts out two wins and places themselves in a position to show why they should have had a No.1 seed.

Tennessee behind the elite one-two punch of Grant Williams and Admiral Schofield survive a thriller and advance to the Final Four.

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