Busting Brackets

Bracketology 2024: Tennessee snags a No. 1 seed in the penultimate projected field of 68

Mar 6, 2024; Columbia, South Carolina, USA; Tennessee Volunteers guard Josiah-Jordan James (30),
Mar 6, 2024; Columbia, South Carolina, USA; Tennessee Volunteers guard Josiah-Jordan James (30), / Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports
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South Region (Dallas)

1.) Houston vs. 16.) Stetson/Norfolk State

8.) Saint Mary's vs. 9.) Florida Atlantic

5.) Auburn vs. 12.) McNeese State

4.) Illinois vs. 13.) Charleston

6.) San Diego State vs. 11.) Colorado/Villanova

3.) Kentucky vs. 14.) James Madison

7.) Texas Tech vs. 10.) Michigan State

2.) Marquette vs. 15.) UNC-Asheville

The No. 1 team in the country and No. 1 seed in the South region, Houston, finished off their first season in the Big 12 with a season-split Kansas as they head into the Big 12 tournament. The Cougars have lost three games all year that have come on the road to conference opponents. They also have seven road wins and after the dominating win over Kansas, they have a 16-3 record in the top two quads. After their first year in the Big 12, Houston hasn’t skipped a beat and should land a No. 1 seed next week.

The South is the most defensive-minded region of the field. In addition to the top-seeded Cougars, No. 2 Marquette, No. 6 San Diego State, No. 8 Saint Mary’s, No. 10 Michigan State, and No. 11 Villanova are all in the top 16 in defensive efficiency entering the final day of the regular season. Also in this region are Texas Tech and Charleston who also have reputations of being quite stingy on the defensive end. Expect that the South region will be a bunch of high-energy rock fights and that is the way a lot of teams like it.

We can’t look at the South and not talk about the No. 9 seed Florida Atlantic who is coming off their trip to the final four and could be just as dangerous this time around. The Owls have a couple of head-scratching losses to FGCU and Bryant but also have wins over Arizona and Texas A&M. They are 23-7 but all seven losses are by single digits. If they can use the AAC tournament to make a statement, they are a team a No. 1 seed won’t want to see in the first weekend.