South Regional Breakdown
Derrick Rose (AP Photo/Mark Weber)
Derrick Rose (AP Photo/Mark Weber)
FoxSports.com
Posted Mar 18, 2008


Jeff Goodman of FoxSports.com breaks down the South Regional for the 2008 NCAA Basketball Tournament.

Overview

Top-seeded Memphis will get a couple of easy ones in the first two rounds, but John Calipari's team will likely see either No. 4 Pittsburgh or No. 5 Michigan State in the Sweet 16. This is by far the most difficult half of a region in the entire tournament, with a trio of teams capable of getting to the Final Four.

Texas earned the No. 2 seed on the bottom half, but the Longhorns could have some issues with a couple of frontlines down the road — Miami and Stanford.

Stanford coach Trent Johnson and the Cardinal have earned a No. 3 seed, but it'll be interesting to see how far it can go without great guard play.

Best first-round matchup

No. 6 Marquette vs. No. 11 Kentucky — Plenty of guards and not a legitimate big man in this game between two big-time programs.

Breakdowns

East

South

West

Midwest

Best potential matchup

No. 1 Memphis vs. No. 4 Pittsburgh/No. 5 Michigan State — I don't care which team Memphis has to play. The Tigers probably won't get much of a test in the first two rounds, but a Sweet 16 contest against either the Big East champion Panthers or against Tom Izzo's Spartans would be a terrific game.

Upset special:

No. 5 Michigan State over No. 1 Memphis — The Spartans have been up and down, but Izzo is one of the top tournament coaches — and Michigan State has quality guards, athletes and toughness.

Cinderella?

Saint Mary's — Randy Bennett is an underrated coach, and he's got a quality guard in Aussie freshman Patrick Mills and athletic forward Diamon Simpson.

My pick:

Michigan State — If the Spartans can get past No. 4 Pittsburgh, I think they'll gain some momentum and pull off the upset against top-seeded Memphis. The key will be whether Drew Neitzel and the Spartans' little guards can handle the tough backcourts of Pittsburgh and Memphis.

Story Lines:

Can Memphis get to the Final Four this season after a pair of Elite Eight appearances in the last two seasons?

The two top academic schools face one another in the first round when No. 3 Stanford faces No. 14 Cornell.

Miami coach Frank Haith could play his former boss, Rick Barnes, in the second round if the Hurricanes can beat Saint Mary's in the first round.

5 Players to Watch:

Best Player You've Never Heard of

Dionte Christmas, Temple

Overrated:

No. 9 Oregon

Underrated:

No. 10 Saint Mary's


Jeff Goodman is a senior college basketball writer for FOXSports.com. He can be reached at GoodmanonFOX@aol.com or check out his blog, Good 'N Plenty.


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