March Madness: South Region Cheat Sheet

South Region

Thank the heavens – March Madness is back in our lives once again. Let’s break down the South Region.

What This Is: A resource. There are endless ways to study this bracket – and I urge you to read up on team summaries, see recent performance, and study who it is that leads these teams.

Related: March Madness: West Region Cheat Sheet

In general, I tend to gravitate to a few different factors. Teams with a senior-laden roster, teams that have won their conference tournament, teams that shoot the three exceptionally well, or if there is some other type of dynamic talent on the floor, be it a big man or NBA lottery pick.

The below is a compilation of each first round matchup for the South Region and how teams stack up in the metrics that matter most to me. As always, a special shoutout to TeamRankings.com. 

I’m taking a look at how these offenses and defenses rank nationally, and how reputable sites like KenPom and FiveThirtyEight grade out the squads.

This is heavily focused on analytics and statistics – I’ll be avoiding breaking down the lineups, I’m just trying to get a baseline view of these teams.

At the bottom, I’ll give you my picks for the region. I won’t pretend I’m an expert, I’m just looking at the numbers. Let’s begin.

South Region: Rankings

Breaking down how No. 4 Ohio State boat-raced Indiana - Land-Grant Holy Land

 

#1 Baylor

22-2

#16 Hartford

15-8

Offense

eFG% Rank: 3

Offensive Efficiency Rank: 2

3P% Rank: 1

Defense

Opp. EFG% Rank: 129

Defensive Efficiency: 28

Opp. 3P%: 179

Overall

KenPom Ranking: 4

FiveThirtyEight% S16: 72%

Offense

eFG% Rank: 158

Offensive Efficiency Rank: 213

3P% Rank: 221

Defense

Opp. EFG% Rank: 63

Defensive Efficiency: 41

Opp. 3P%: 9

Overall

KenPom Ranking: 192

FiveThirtyEight% S16: <1%

 

#8 North Carolina

18-10

#9 Wisconsin

17-12

Offense

eFG% Rank: 246

Offensive Efficiency Rank: 96

3P% Rank: 270

Defense

Opp. EFG% Rank: 113

Defensive Efficiency: 57

Opp. 3P%: 220

Overall

KenPom Ranking: 28

FiveThirtyEight% S16: 12%

Offense

eFG% Rank: 198

Offensive Efficiency Rank: 94

3P% Rank: 69

Defense

Opp. EFG% Rank: 75

Defensive Efficiency: 67

Opp. 3P%: 128

Overall

KenPom Ranking: 10

FiveThirtyEight% S16: 16%

 

#5 Villanova

16-6

#12 Winthrop

23-1

Offense

eFG% Rank: 59

Offensive Efficiency Rank: 12

3P% Rank: 99

Defense

Opp. EFG% Rank: 246

Defensive Efficiency: 142

Opp. 3P%: 247

Overall

KenPom Ranking: 12

FiveThirtyEight% S16: 36%

Offense

eFG% Rank: 55

Offensive Efficiency Rank: 36

3P% Rank: 96

Defense

Opp. EFG% Rank: 128

Defensive Efficiency: 13

Opp. 3P%: 93

Overall

KenPom Ranking: 91

FiveThirtyEight% S16: 7%

 

#4 Purdue

18-9

#13 North Texas

17-9

Offense

eFG% Rank: 98

Offensive Efficiency Rank: 73

3P% Rank: 179

Defense

Opp. EFG% Rank: 107

Defensive Efficiency: 111

Opp. 3P%: 57

Overall

KenPom Ranking: 13

FiveThirtyEight% S16: 50%

Offense

eFG% Rank: 39

Offensive Efficiency Rank: 107

3P% Rank: 32

Defense

Opp. EFG% Rank: 20

Defensive Efficiency: 20

Opp. 3P%: 61

Overall

KenPom Ranking: 71

FiveThirtyEight% S16: 7%

 

#6 Texas Tech

17-10

#11 Utah State

20-8

Offense

eFG% Rank: 187

Offensive Efficiency Rank: 54

3P% Rank: 125

Defense

Opp. EFG% Rank: 69

Defensive Efficiency: 23

Opp. 3P%: 238

Overall

KenPom Ranking: 23

FiveThirtyEight% S16: 38%

Offense

eFG% Rank: 180

Offensive Efficiency Rank: 91

3P% Rank: 175

Defense

Opp. EFG% Rank: 15

Defensive Efficiency: 7

Opp. 3P%: 132

Overall

KenPom Ranking: 40

FiveThirtyEight% S16: 14%

 

#3 Arkansas

22-6

#14 Colgate

14-1

Offense

eFG% Rank: 94

Offensive Efficiency Rank: 34

3P% Rank: 158

Defense

Opp. EFG% Rank: 62

Defensive Efficiency: 24

Opp. 3P%: 107

Overall

KenPom Ranking: 18

FiveThirtyEight% S16: 40%

Offense

eFG% Rank: 5

Offensive Efficiency Rank: 3

3P% Rank: 3

Defense

Opp. EFG% Rank: 19

Defensive Efficiency: 36

Opp. 3P%: 1

Overall

KenPom Ranking: 84

FiveThirtyEight% S16: 8%

 

#7 Florida

14-9

#10 Virginia Tech

15-6

Offense

eFG% Rank: 70

Offensive Efficiency Rank: 109

3P% Rank: 78

Defense

Opp. EFG% Rank: 59

Defensive Efficiency: 95

Opp. 3P%: 29

Overall

KenPom Ranking: 37

FiveThirtyEight% S16: 18%

Offense

eFG% Rank: 71

Offensive Efficiency Rank: 66

3P% Rank: 79

Defense

Opp. EFG% Rank: 95

Defensive Efficiency: 71

Opp. 3P%: 129

Overall

KenPom Ranking: 50

FiveThirtyEight% S16: 11%

 

#2 Ohio State

21-9

#15 Oral Roberts

16-10

Offense

eFG% Rank: 52

Offensive Efficiency Rank: 10

3P% Rank: 60

Defense

Opp. EFG% Rank: 122

Defensive Efficiency: 237

Opp. 3P%: 192

Overall

KenPom Ranking: 7

FiveThirtyEight% S16: 70%

Offense

eFG% Rank: 46

Offensive Efficiency Rank: 39

3P% Rank: 10

Defense

Opp. EFG% Rank: 187

Defensive Efficiency: 281

Opp. 3P%: 266

Overall

KenPom Ranking: 152

FiveThirtyEight% S16: 1%

 

South Region: First Round Picks

Colgate basketball PG Jordan Burns personifies program's underdog identity - syracuse.com

#1 Baylor over #16 Hartford

#9 Wisconsin over #8 North Carolina

#12 Winthrop over #5 Villanova

#4 Purdue over #13 North Texas

#11 Utah State over #6 Texas Tech

#14 Colgate over #3 Arkansas

#7 Florida over #10 Virginia Tech

#2 Ohio State over #15 Oral Roberts

I’ve completely fallen in love with Colgate over Arkansas – look at those rankings! The offense alone is incredible, albeit against weaker competition, but even the defense is solid. They seem built to shoot and stop the three, the exact recipe I want in my Cinderellas. Riding with Colgate. Remember the name Jordan Burns.

Very intriguing that the 9-seed Wisconsin come in ranked tenth on KenPom, and with a strong three-point percentage mark compared to UNC’s awful three-point defense, it’ll put the Badgers over the edge for me.

Winthrop over Villanova is another upset for this region. Just by reading ESPN’s blurbs, I see Nova lost their leading scorer, and Winthrop has a 6’7” point guard which has gotten me excited. Plus – those Villanova defensive numbers are abysmal.

In an upset-heavy first round, I like Utah State over Texas Tech. Pretty identical offensive ranks while the defensive edge goes to Utah State – who happen to sport a 7 foot center. The KenPom rankings are closer than usual for a 6 vs. 11 matchup.

Am I crazy for coming close to picking Oral Roberts? I’ll be keeping an eye on that spread – they shoot more threes than anyone in the country and I’m a sucker for the outside game in this tournament.

Second Round

#1 Baylor over #9 Wisconsin

#4 Purdue over #12 Winthrop

#14 Colgate over #11 Utah State

#2 Ohio State over #7 Florida

Sweet Sixteen

#1 Baylor over #4 Purdue

#2 Ohio State over #14 Colgate

Elite Eight

Baylor vs. Kansas odds, line: 2021 college basketball picks, Feb. 27 predictions from proven model - CBSSports.com

#1 Baylor over #2 Ohio State

A region full of upsets ends up with a chalk 1 vs. 2 in the Elite Eight.

Before we get there, yup – I’m putting Colgate in my Sweet Sixteen. The balance of ranks for both their offense and defense has drawn me in. I really do want to put them in my Elite Eight. It defies reason, but I hate putting too many 1 vs. 2 matchups in the Elite Eight. Alas… I can’t pull the trigger as of this writing.

As for the Final Four representative from the South – it’s got to be Baylor for me. One of the strongest offenses in the nation known for letting the threes fly. They have loads of quality wins throughout the season, and think their path is easier than Ohio State’s

So, that’s my South Region – I hope you don’t blindly follow me. What I do hope is that the above metrics consolidated help bring you some familiarity with the teams playing.

For the next few regions, make sure you’re following on Twitter, @griffybets. Missed you March.

 

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