South Region Preview: Kentucky is so frieken scary, man

For a region that may be the easiest to handicap, the South may be the most interesting. If Kentucky marches through to the Final Four, consider these possible match-ups and the low hanging fruit story lines for the media to embrace:

Western Kentucky - Not only is this a neat in-state big-brother/little-brother match-up, it's between two schools located in a hoops hotbed. Every high school basketball player from the Bluegrass State dreams of donning Wildcat blue, but many settle for the handful of other Division I programs in the state if it means continuing their career into college. WKU is one of those schools. You know a number of those kids would kill to play for John Calipari, so getting a shot to compete against him is the next best thing.

UConn - If you can ignore the problems the Huskies had this season, the names on both team's jerseys makes this quite the battle of heavyweights, and it would come in the first weekend in the tournament. Quite a treat we could get so early in the madness.

Indiana - I don't expect the Hoosiers to advance to the Sweet 16, but if they do, it would be a blast to follow the blogs and message boards between these two fan bases in the days leading up to the game. IU desperately wants to reclaim the glory their program once had, and downing the Wildcats for the second time this season would be the stuff of legends.

Duke - On the 20th anniversary of Christian Laettner's iconic buzzer-beating turnaround, it would be a fitting way to celebrate one of the most important moments in college basketball history. The game would play out differently, but still a good chance to get nostalgic.

The winner?

Kentucky

Why?

Because I'm a frontrunner? I mean, I don't know, have you seen them play this season?


Five players you want to know about

  • Mike Moser (UNLV) - The Rebels 6-8 forward is a fringe first-round NBA Draft pick right now. If he has a great tournament, he could propel his way into the lottery and be one of those uber-trendy players we all know about when the tournament is over. I love his game, and I want the rest of the country to love it with me.
  • Royce White (Iowa St.) - Dubbed "Transfer U", the Cyclones are a great story and they're led by former Minnesota commit White. A versatile player who causes match-up problems, many are wondering if UConn can handle someone like Royce. Who will guard him?
  • Terrence Jones (Kentucky) - He was supposed to be the leader of the Wildcats this season. Instead he's become a bit of an enigma. Kentucky is so talented that Jones may not decides the fate of this team, but it will be interesting to see if he goes all-in and redeems himself after an up and down regular season.
  • Garrett Stutz (Wichita St.) - The more I research this team, the more I like them. They are balanced, experienced, and just flat out look like a real college basketball team. A seven-footer, Stutz is their anchor down-low, leading the Shockers in points and rebounds despite logging only 25 minutes a game.
  • Quincy Acy (Baylor) - Fairly unheralded in comparison to Pierre Jackson and Perry Jones III, Acy is very important to the Bears in that he is their most physical player. They need him. They need Jones III too, but you already knew that. Acy is their x-factor.

Who will overachieve

UNLV - The bracket plays out nicely for them. Colorado is a snoozer, Baylor is inconsistent, and Duke can be beaten if they're not shooting the ball well. The Mountain West is a conference that's a lot of fun to follow. I'd love to see one of their top teams make some noise this month.

Who will underachieve

Baylor - If the Rebels overachieve, it will mean the Bears don't get through to the second weekend of the tournament. A three-seed with heaps of talent, this is such a tough team to get a beat on, but it feels safe picking them to not meet expectations.

Describe this bracket in one word

Neat.

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