Busting Brackets

Ranking the best backcourts in the South Region of the NCAA Tournament

These eight backcourt duos could carry their team through the South Region of the NCAA Tournament.

Houston v Xavier
Houston v Xavier / G Fiume/GettyImages
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No. 3: Houston

Some guards are more than just their stats. That's true of No. 1 seed Houston's duo in the back court.

Because the Cougars play a defense-first brand of basketball, they often don't score a ton of points. However, L.J. Cryer (15.3 PPG) and Jamal Shead (13.1 PPG) don't have stats that jump off the page.

Regardless, both are fantastic guards. Cryer is a deadly 3-point shooter who can get hot and shoot Houston to a win. Meanwhile, Shead, the Big 12 Player of the Year, is as tough as guards come. He has the ability to use his 6-foot-1, 200-pound frame like a power forward to create space and get off shots in traffic.

However, it might be on defense where this duo is at its best. Houston leads the nation in points allowed per game and much of that is because of the pressure the guards put on the basketball.

Shead has a defensive efficiency rating (an estimate of how many points a player allows per 100 possessions) of 87.9 while Cryer's is 96.4. Anything below 100 in that metric is considered excellent so it is obvious that both of these guards can play defense at an elite level.

Houston wants to grind its way through the South Region and Shead and Cryer could allow them to do that. That's why the stats don't tell the whole story of how great this backcourt is.