Busting Brackets

Bracketology 2024: North Carolina earns a No. 1 seed in latest field of 68 projection

Jan 13, 2024; Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA;  North Carolina Tar Heels bench including forward
Jan 13, 2024; Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels bench including forward / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
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South Region (Dallas)

1.) North Carolina vs. 16.) CCSU/Norfolk State

8.) Iowa State vs. 9.) Mississippi State

5.) Illinois vs. 12.) Grand Canyon

4.) Dayton vs. 13.) Samford

6.) BYU vs. 11.) Michigan State

3.) Marquette vs. 14.) Vermont

7.) San Diego State vs. 10.) Texas Tech

2.) Arizona vs. 15.) Denver

The South region is headlined by the top-seeded North Carolina Tar Heels who are the only undefeated team left in the ACC at 6-0. Despite just a 4-3 record in quad 1 games, the rest of their resume is No. 1 seed worthy. They have a metric average of 7.5 and their strength of schedule average sits at 20 and also have two true road wins under their belt. A couple of other things to look at in their resume is their NET losses of 19 and two of their three losses on the year have come at the hands of Kentucky and Villanova by a combined six points.

Marquette, Arizona, and Dayton are all in the South region hoping for a chance to knock off the Tar Heels, but if we were to give this region a label, it would be the region of lockdown defense. In addition to the Tar Heels, five other teams in this region are ranked in the top 16 in defensive efficiency. The Tar Heels are 5th and ranked one spot ahead of them is potential second-round opponent Iowa State. No. 2 Arizona is 3rd while Marquette and Mississippi State are 14th and 15th.

The team to highlight in this region is the No. 13 seed a representative from the SoCon, the Samford Bulldogs. Bucky McMillan’s "Buckyball" is 16-2 and undefeated in the SoCon thanks to the nation’s longest winning streak at 16. The Bulldogs like to play fast, at the 3rd fastest pace in the country, which has led to nearly 91 points per game, leading the country. They are 9th in effective field goal percentage and shoot the three at over 41% and their two-point percentage of 54% is in the top 60. If there is a Cinderella in this region it could be the Bulldogs, especially if the shots are falling.