NCAA Tournament 2016: South Region Preview

Favorites:

No 1. Kansas

By popular opinion and most picks from people who dont believe in upsets, the Jayhawks are favored by being the one seed in the South region. This is a team that won the Big 12 regular season title and had a record of 11-3 against the top 25 this season. Senior forward Perry Ellis leads the team in points per game with almost 17, but also adding nearly six rebounds and 2 assists per game. Kansas is currently riding a 14 game winning streak, so it is hard to pick against the number one overall team in the field.

No 3. Miami

Miami is a team that quietly has been successful the past few seasons, and it is mostly credited to head coach Jim Larrañaga. A 4-3 record against the top 25 including wins against Virginia, Louisville, and Duke have the Hurricanes threatening to cause a storm. Getting the number 3 seed in the south region is a blessing, as Villanova has had its weaknesses exposed, so Miami could make a rather easy elite eight run.

No 4. Maryland

No matter what the up and downs were this season, nobody is doubting the power that this Maryland team has. Under performing in the last few weeks of the regular season had the Terrapins slide from a 2 seed down to a 5 seed, but they showed promise in the Big Ten Tournament. Junior forward Robert Carter has been on a tear lately, and if Melo Trimble can pick his game up, Maryland will threaten Kansas in a possible Sweet 16 matchup.

Cinderella:

No 11. Wichita State

It’s no shock that the Shockers have another chance at a Cinderella story. But then again, would it really be a Cinderella? Wichita State has proven its worth to the NCAA in the past few season, which most likely played into why they got an at-large bid to the tournament this season. The Shockers really spread the production around, and have eight players averaging over six points a game. They have allowed the fewest amount of points per game at 59.3, so if they make a run, it’ll be thanks to their defense.

Intriguing Matchup:

No. 1 Kansas vs No. 4 Maryland

Kansas is the number one overall seed, but the high and mighty often do fall. Maryland showed some promise in the Big Ten Tournament by scoring 97 points against Nebraska, and playing a tight defensive game against Michigan State. If Maryland can come out on fire or defending like they did this weekend, things could fall downhill for the Jayhawks.

Players to Watch:

Perry Ellis, Kansas

Ellis averages 16.7 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 1.4 assists from the forward position. His senior leadership is a huge reason why Kansas has gotten their number one overall seed. It’ll be interesting to see how teams try to shut him down, and see if his four teammates that also average double figures can pick up what he might not be able to produce.

Melo Trimble, Maryland

The sophomore guard makes or breaks his team, its that simple. Still averaging 14.4 points and 5.4 assists per game, his presence is there, but not always noted. If Maryland really wants to make the Championship run that they were projected to do in the preseason, it starts with Trimble flashing back to last year’s talents.

Ron Baker, Wichita State

The senior guard is one of the main reasons the Shockers have been busting brackets for the last couple years, and this year nothing has changed. Losing their conference tournament, but somehow slipping in as an at-large team should be motivation for the senior to make it a good run. Averaging 14.2 points and nearly five rebounds and just over three assists, Baker will be a key to the Shockers making it past every test this tournament.

Pick:

Its a toss up between the winner of Kansas and Maryland. Many feel that the Jayhawks are such a strong team, but Maryland has what it takes to knock them down, if they play their best basketball.