The South Region of the NCAA Tournament has plenty of star power, featuring big teams such as Villanova, Tennessee, and Arizona, as well as mid-major juggernauts, Loyola-Chicago and Colorado State. There are plenty of storylines to watch for in this section of the bracket alone.
To help answer some potential questions are a few contributors for Busting Brackets in this roundtable. Here are the writers that are participating and how to find them on social media.
Tuck Clarry – @tuckclarry
Lauren Rosenberg – @lrosenberg101
Cooper Watson – @coopertwatson
Danny McCormack – @danny_mac1219
1. Which first-round game has your attention the most?
I’m very intrigued by the Illinois and Chattanooga game in the 4 vs 13 seed matchup. Sure, I think an upset could happen but I think I’m mostly curious to see what Illinois comes out and whether or not we can depend on them to advance further into the tournament. The Mocs’ Malachi Smith and David Jean-Baptiste are two very dangerous guards to go up against and whomever Trent Frazier matchups with should be an exciting game-withing-a-game.
I also wonder how a mid-major like Chattanooga finds a way to limit Kofi Cockburn as they have no one to match his size. If the Illini stumble, it’s hard to envision a way for the Arizona Wildcats to not waltz into the second weekend.
The first-round game that has my attention the most is the Houston-UAB matchup. Out of all the schools in the southern region, the only one I actively followed throughout the season was Houston more than likely due to living in the City. UAB is a mid-major team that has a ton of fight and I’m excited to see how they are able to match up with an athletic and dominant team like the Cougars.
Illinois vs. Chattanooga. I like teams with multiple point guards in March and the Mocs have just that in SoCon Player of the Year Malachi Smith (20.1 PPG) and David Jean-Baptiste (14.7 PPG). They also — unlike most mid-major teams — have someone who can potentially hang with Kofi Cockburn in the low post in Silvio de Sousa.
The 250 pound forward was a consensus top 50 recruit coming out of high school who struggled at Kansas due to a variety of reasons but seems to have found a home in Chattanooga this season.
Ohio State and Loyola Chicago have my attention the most to start off the day on Friday. Ohio State has not played their best basketball down the stretch but has not been the healthiest either. Loyola Chicago is a team that really has excelled in March and is not scared of anyone.
The Ramblers’ style of play vs the Buckeyes will be interesting to see who controls it overall. This really should be a fun game to kick off a long day of madness.