NCAA Tournament Breakdowns - South, Part 1
Michigan's Trey Burke
Michigan's Trey Burke
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Mar 19, 2013


Quick analysis of every team in the NCAA tournament so you'll know what you're doing.

2013 NCAA Basketball Tourney

South - Top Half


By Phil Harrison
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHarrisonCFN

2013 NCAA Basketball Tournament Team Breakdowns
Play-In Games | South - Top Half | South - Bottom Half 
East - Top Half | East - Bottom Half
Midwest - Top Half | Midwest - Bottom Half
West - Top Half | West - Bottom Half

Yeah, yeah, yeah, we know, we're CollegeFOOTBALLNews.com, but like the rest of the world, we take a wee bit of a break for the first round of the NCAA college basketball tournament. Before you fill out your bracket - DON'T GUESS - check out the quick breakdown of each team with what you need to know to make an informed decision.
 
1. Kansas (29-5)
Here’s The Deal: As expected, Kansas won the Big 12 tournament after tying K-State for regular-season supremacy. If it weren’t for a three-game stretch when the team seemed to get competitive amnesia, this could’ve been the No. 1 overall seed – but just getting a one spot is good enough to potentially make a huge run. Bill Self’s crew has length and tenacity in its half-court defense to go along with a great inside-outside combination on the offensive end. They rebound, have senior leadership, and have playmakers that can create and shoot both in the open court and when the music slows down. If there’s one glaring weakness it’s the lack of a true point guard to add sunshine to the landscape. Still, there’s enough to give Self another national championship.
Player You Need To Care About: There haven’t been many freshman who stood out from the pack on a national scale with the exception of guard Ben McLemore. He’s just barely tapping into the potential of what he may ultimately become, but even that has been something to behold having taken over several games with his ability to nail daggers from deep while soaring in the open court. Once he finally realizes exactly how good he is and asserts himself more consistently, he could be the star who carries the team to Atlanta.
Really, How Deep Will The Run Be? The Jayhawks might have been able to right the ship, and they’ll be able to blow past WKU and get by North Carolina by not making a slew of big mistakes, but they’ll get knocked out by a strong Michigan offense.

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16. Western Kentucky (20-15)
Here’s The Deal: After going 10-10 in conference play, the Hilltoppers only shot to get into the Big Dance was to win the Sun Belt conference tournament. Check. How many times have we seen a team get on a roll and keep things going at just the right time? That appears to be what’s happening after finishing fourth in the Sun Belt’s Eastern division. And since the program isn’t new to the bright lights of the NCAAs, it won’t be afraid of making a statement. The offense will have to use its solid work on the boards and scrappy play to pull a big upset.
Player You Need To Care About: Sophomore guard T.J. Price is the tone-setter, averaging over 15 points a ball-game, leading the team in minutes played, and is the most serious outside threat on the roster. While he’s shaky with the ball at times, if he can get hot like he did in the Sun Belt tourney, the Hilltoppers could make things interesting.
Really, How Deep Will The Run Be? The Sun Belt title run was fun, but now comes a loaded Kansas team that won’t have to breath too hard to get into the next round.

8. North Carolina (24-10)
Here’s The Deal: The prevailing thought coming into the season was that the reinforcements from the great recruiting classes would be enough to contend for the ACC title. It didn’t happen, but the Tar Heels seemed to find something in the run to the ACC tournament loss to Miami. The team and talent haven’t gelled yet, and they might not quite have enough consistency on either end of the floor to make a big splash, seeming overwhelmed against veteran teams with turnovers and scattered play a problem. It took way too long to understand which combinations worked together like peas and carrots under the game lights, but things came more into focus in the stretch run of the ACC regular season once Roy Williams went to a four guard lineup. Still, there are concerns that this team isn’t mentally tough enough to match its raw talent and go into the deep waters of all the madness.
Player You Need To Care About: He may be a little erratic, but there’s no denying the athletic gifts of forward James McAdoo. As athletic specimens go, he was created in a lab coming in with an NBA ready body at 6-9, 230 pounds, displaying the quickness and athleticism throughout the year to make him a projected NBA lottery pick if he comes out this summer. He’s a great finisher in the open court and can get easy points in the paint with his strength and leaping ability, but he hasn’t quite put it all together. Carolina needs McAdoo to not get lost in the flow of the game like he has at times in order to do serious damage in the tournament, but he’s certainly more than capable.
Really, How Deep Will The Run Be? The raw talent is there to get to the Final Four, but there will be far too many mistakes against Kansas in the third round in Kansas City.

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9. Villanova
Here’s The Deal: Which Wildcat team will show up for the dance? Will it be the one that looked so impressive in knocking off Georgetown, Marquette, and Louisville, or will it be the one that looked more lost than a bachelor without a GPS in home losses to Temple, Pittsburgh and Columbia? Nothing the Cats do will jump out to you, but they just seem to be able to work hard enough on both sides of the ball to will their way to victories. The biggest issue for has been the inability to guard the three-point shot – that that’ll quickly need to be corrected or else it’ll be a quick tournament.
Player You Need To Care About: Freshman point guard Ryan Arcidiacono doesn’t shoot the ball particularly well, but he’s the floor general that leads the gang into the fray. He doesn’t lead the team in scoring, but he gets the offense going, rarely sits on the pine, and takes fairly good care of the basketball. What’s even more impressive is that he began to gain confidence by taking on more of a scoring roll through the stretch-run of the regular season. Not the best long-range bomber, his ability to beat defenders with the dribble is irreplaceable.
Really, How Deep Will The Run Be? The defense won’t be able to handle the new guard oriented lineup of North Carolina in a quick exit.

5. Virginia Commonwealth (26-8)
Here’s The Deal: VCU is in the tourney for the third straight time, but this isn’t the 2011 version that ran to the Final Four under Shaka Smart – it’s better. This time, the Rams aren’t flying under the radar like they did when they were a part of the “First Four” two years ago, but this is a dangerous team ranked in the Top 25 a large majority of the season. Saint Louis outdueled the Rams for the A-10 crown, but after leading the nation in steals and turnover margin, they’ll look to press the issue on defense with the right formula to do some damage. The efforts on the defensive-end lead to an up-tempo brand of ball on the offensive side with a good combination of defense and offensive firepower.
Player You Need To Care About: Sophomore guard Treveon Graham may get all the publicity for his scoring, but the best all-around player on the team is junior forward Jevonte Reddic. It’s not like the scoring is bad at over 14 a game, but his impact is greater with his all-around action on the glass and on the defensive-end. He’s not going to blister the net from deep, but he’s great in and around the paint. When he’s scoring and finding his way to the window, it makes everybody else around him much better.
Really, How Deep Will The Run Be? The Rams will have a tough time getting by Akron, but will give Michigan a huge fight in a fun and wild loss.

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12. Akron (26-6)
Here’s The Deal: The Zips have been the class of the MAC all year finishing tied atop the conference at 14-2, topped off with a win over a very good Ohio team in the conference championship. This is a solid all-around team that can guard, shoot, and rebound, but there’s one thing missing - a top-notch win against a high-level tournament team. Of course there weren't many opportunities, but they lost to both Creighton and Oklahoma State and now they’re without their point-guard, Alex Abreu, so the jury is out on how far things can go.
Player You Need To Care About: There isn’t a knight in shining armor, but it’s a good collective group of players all working together. 7-0 senior center Zeke Marshall is the leader and most complete player doing a great job at owning the defensive side while hitting 66% of his shots from the field with seven rebounds a game. He’s the main option in this lineup, but Akron will win with the contributions of many.
Really, How Deep Will The Run Be? The guard play of VCU will be too much and too strong for the Zips to get out of the opener.

4. Michigan (26-7)
Here’s The Deal: The Wolverines are young at key spots, but they’re still good enough and talented enough to be another Final Four threat thanks to the firepower on offense. Whether it’s point guard Trey Burke creating off the dribble, guard Tim Hardaway spraying jumpers, or the talented freshman trio of center Mitch McGary and wings Glenn Robinson III and Nik Stauskas making plays, the Wolverines make opposing defenses guard all spots on the floor. Where Michigan has been suspect at times is its ability to guard, and although the backcourt hasn’t been horrendous on defense, some of the younger players haven’t been consistent enough when the offense isn’t quite working – like in the Big Ten tournament against Wisconsin.
Player You Need To Care About: It may be a bit sacrilegious for Michigan to have its star player coming from the 614 area code, but nobody in Ann Arbor is going to complain that Big Ten Player of the Year Burke’s roots are deeply embedded in shadows of The Ohio State University. The sophomore from Columbus is cat-quick, can create looks going to the rim, or step back at any time to get a shot off with the sands of the hourglass running out. He leads the team in scoring at over 19 points a game and rarely turns the ball over.
Really, How Deep Will The Run Be? Final Four. There might be too much youth and inconsistency to win it all, but they’ll get to Atlanta with its fantastic offense.

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13. South Dakota State (25-9)
Here’s The Deal: It’s always nice when a conference’s most dominant team during the regular-season makes it official by winning the conference tournament. That’s exactly what the Jackrabbits did in the Summit League, and now they need to take their aggressive defense right to the better offenses in the tournament, hoping to force some turnovers and get out in transition. And while a layup is nice, a spot-up three in transition or in the flow of the offense is even better for a team hitting on almost 40% of long-range bombs. A monumental upset is highly unlikely, but if there’s a chance, a team that can take care of the basketball and shoot their way to a win would be the way to go. this team might fit that bill.
Player You Need To Care About: The Jackrabbits have one of the top five scoring players in the country on their roster with Nate Wolters averaging almost 23 points and six assists per game, it’s not like the senior guard is a loose cannon, but he’ll fire away when he’s open and has a good look. However, he’s good at moving the ball around, too. Selflessness plus talent is what sets him apart.
Really, How Deep Will The Run Be? If you’re looking for a potential 4-13 upset, don’t be at all stunned if SDSU shocks Michigan. The defensive aggressiveness will keep the Jackrabbits in the game for a while, but there won’t be enough offense to keep up.

2013 NCAA Basketball Tournament Team Breakdowns
Play-In Games | South - Top Half | South - Bottom Half 
East - Top Half | East - Bottom Half
Midwest - Top Half | Midwest - Bottom Half
West - Top Half | West - Bottom Half