By: Kenneth Harrison
TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services
The NCAA basketball tournament begins this week. Let’s take a look at teams around the Southeast and predict how they will do.
Alabama (29 – 5) is the number one overall seed in the tournament. They are the top seed in the South region. They will play the winner of No. 16 Texas A&M CC and No. 16 SE Missouri State. They will steamroll whoever they face in the first round.
The Crimson Tide have been making headlines off the court, unfortunately. Star freshman small forward Brandon Miller is accused by police of giving now-former teammate Darius Miles the gun that was allegedly used by another man to kill a woman near the school’s campus in mid-January, according to multiple news reports.
He’s still currently playing but I think the pressure will grow the further they advance. Miller is a projected lottery pick.
The second-round matchup will either be No. 8 Maryland or No. 9 West Virginia. Expect Bama to get to the Sweet Sixteen with ease.
Virginia is the No. 4 team in the region and the first-round game is against No. 13 Furman. They will likely face No. 5 San Diego State in the second round, which will be tough.
Auburn is No. 9 in the Midwest region and they play against No. 8 Iowa. That’s a fairly even matchup. If the Tigers win the next round should be against No. 1 Houston.
No. 5 Miami faces No. 12 Drake. Upsets typically occur in the 12 versus 5 seed games so this should be interesting. The Hurricanes are a very solid team so I expect them to advance and play the winner of No. 4 Indiana or No. 13 Kent State. I think Miami has a real shot of getting to the Sweet Sixteen.
Kennesaw State (26 – 8) is the fourteenth seed in the Midwest. The Owls won the Atlantic Sun tournament and made the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history. They face No. 3 Xavier in Greensboro, North Carolina. As a KSU alum I hope they can pull off the upset.
I think the East is a very interesting region because they have some lower seeds that are dangerous. No. 5 Duke will play No. 12 Oral Roberts in round one. The Blue Devils won the ACC Tournament, beating Virginia in the championship game. They will face the winner of No. 4 Tennessee or No. 13 Louisiana.
I think Duke is a Final Four team loaded with talent. They’re led by freshman power forward/center Kyle Filipowski. He’s a 7 footer that can handle the ball and he plays hard on both ends.
No. 6 Kentucky plays No. 11 Providence. The Wildcats are led by freshman guard Cason Wallace.
Kentucky recruits well so they have a lot of talent. They have underachieved all season though. If they win, they will more than likely play No. 3 Kansas State in the next round.
No. 8 Memphis (26 – 8) won the AAC Tournament. They upset No. 1 Houston in the championship game. I think the Tigers will beat No. 9 FAU and face No. 1 Purdue next.