NCAA Tourney Contenders and Pretenders
By: Kenneth Harrison Jr.
TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services
The NCAA tournament begins this week. This is the biggest sporting event other than the Super Bowl. Let’s take a look at some of the teams from around the Southeast that made it in.
Georgia State: The Panthers (24-10) won the Sun Belt conference tournament. Coach Ron Hunter also led GSU to the tournament in 2015. GA State is the No. 15 seed in the South bracket and they play No. 2 seed Cincinnati. This would be a huge upset but I don’t see that happening.
Alabama: The Crimson Tide (19-15) snuck in the tournament. They finished 9th in a pretty weak conference. Advancing to the SEC Championship game is why they are in.
Freshman sensation Collin Sexton will be an NBA lottery pick in this year’s draft. Bama is the No.9 seed in the East and they face No. 8 Virginia Tech in the first round. I think they will win that game but they would play No. 1 Villanova in the next round. Their dreams will end after that game.
Arkansas: It must seem like I’m just picking on the SEC. The Razorbacks (23-11) finished fourth in the SEC. They are also in the East region and the No. 7 seed. They face No. 10 Butler and that will be a tough game. If they win they should face No. 2 Purdue in the second round. That means exit stage left.
Florida State: Another football school is having a resurgent year on the court. The Seminoles (20-11) are No. 9 in the West and take on No. 8 Mizzou. Talented freshman Michael Porter Jr. is returning from injury so I’m not sure if he will be rusty. The 6’10 forward was the top recruit in the country for the class of 2018 so he will give Missouri a great chance to win the game.
Clemson: honestly if this was a team with a winning history I would be more confident. The Tigers (23-9) had a very good year and finished third in the ACC. In the Midwest region they are the dreaded fifth seed. The twelve versus five game typically has several upsets each year. They will play New Mexico State. If they win they face the winner of No. 4 Auburn and No. 13 Charleston. I actually like their chance to advance to the Sweet Sixteen but not beyond that.
Kentucky: The Wildcats (24-10) had a very inconsistent. They finished the regular season fourth in the conference but won the SEC tournament. Coach Cal always complains about seeding but he actually has a point this year. Kentucky is the fifth seed in the South and play No. 12 Davidson in the opening round. Round 2 should be against No. 4 Arizona.
The Wildcats recruit so well that they are more talented than most teams they play.
Duke: The Blue Devils are the No. 2 seed in the Midwest and they play No. 15 Iona in the first round. They would get the Oklahoma/Rhode Island match up in the second round. This is another blue blood program that has top 3 recruiting classes every year.
North Carolina: The Tar Heels are the defending national champions. They have the No. 2 seed in the West and take on No. 15 Lipscomb. They will get the Texas A&M/Providence winner.
UNC isn’t as good they were last year but they have upperclassman leadership. They advanced to the national championship the past two years and look to make a new dynasty.