The NCAA Tournament South Region bracket included two teams few bracketologists expected heading into this past Saturday: Kansas and Villanova.

Most bracket projections had Kansas going to the Midwest Region, while Villanova was long perceived as the No. 1 seed in the East. Kansas playing a regional in Louisville instead of Chicago is not a big deal — the two sites are almost equidistant from the KU campus in Lawrence. The big story in terms of geographical placement is clearly Villanova.

When the Wildcats lost in the Big East Tournament final to Seton Hall Saturday night, their place not only on the 1 line, but in the East, became precarious. The Selection Committee, many felt, would keep Villanova in the East but knock the Wildcats to a No. 2 seed. Instead, by sending Jay Wright’s team to the South, Villanova will play the regionals (should it get there) in Louisville, not in Philadelphia.

Given that Villanova played very few games in Wells Fargo Arena (the Philadelphia 76ers’ home arena and the site of the East Regional), the Wildcats were eligible to play there in the Sweet 16. Staying on campus this season was an intentional choice by Villanova to set up a home-court regional. When Villanova was sent to the South, that plan failed.

Let’s look at each team in the region:

1. Kansas (30-4)

Coach Bill Self, fresh off his 12th straight Big 12 regular season championship, leads the No. 1 overall seed into the tournament. Perry Ellis is the MVP, but Devonte Graham is the player who must be at his best for KU to return to the Final Four.

Chances of advancing past the first round: No top seed has ever lost to a 16 seed. Don’t expect that to change here.
Chances of advancing past the first weekend: Connecticut could get hot in March again, but Kansas plays strong perimeter defense and can contain the Huskies.
Chances of advancing to the Final Four: The path is favorable. Maryland and California have been inconsistent, and Villanova is not a reliable March team.
Chances of winning the NCAA Tournament: Few teams have a better chance — maybe only Michigan State.

 

2. Villanova (29-5)

About Matt Zemek

Matt Zemek is the managing editor of The Student Section, covering college football and basketball with associate editors Terry Johnson and Bart Doan. Mr. Zemek is the editor of Crossover Chronicles, covering the NBA. He is also Bloguin's lead tennis writer, covering the major tournaments. He contributes to other Bloguin sites, such as The AP Party.