While each of the regions for the 2019 NCAA Tournament is loaded with intriguing first-round matchups and tough calls to make, the South may take the cake. When it comes to having a number of teams capable of pulling off upsets or making a Final Four run, this region provides plenty of options.
We’re going to take a look at the region as a whole by evaluating a few of the top sleeper teams and potential Cinderellas, along with top contenders to emerge from the bunch. Before diving too far into it, let’s first lay out some of the top teams to watch, first-round upsets and then predict the entire bracket.
The top teams in the South include the one-seed Virginia Cavaliers, two-seed Tennessee Volunteers, three-seed Purdue Boilermakers and four-seed Kansas State Wildcats. First up is an evaluation of which teams are contenders to emerge from the region.
Top Picks to Win 2019 NCAA Tournament South Region
- No. 1 Virginia Cavaliers
- No. 2 Tennessee Volunteers
- No. 3 Purdue Boilermakers
There are actually a few sleeper teams from this bracket who I believe could make a run and wind up as a surprise Final Four team. With that said, my favorite pick is Tennessee, but I won’t put it past Virginia to emerge from the bracket either. As far as the Purdue Boilermakers go, if they can prove capable of getting past the first two games, it’s not out of the question to see them upset Tennessee and possibly Virginia.
I couldn’t go with Kansas State as a top pick to win the region as there are too many question marks surrounding them currently. Although the Wildcats went 25-8 this season, their best wins against the likes of Iowa State, Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Kansas aren’t enough to push them above the top-two teams.
Oregon Headlines Top Sleeper Picks From South Region
- No. 12 Oregon Ducks
- No. 7 Cincinnati Bearcats
- No. 6 Villanova Wildcats
- No. 14 Old Dominion Monarchs
To be clear, by “sleeper” it means a team who can make a run through the bracket and emerge as the South region winner. Obviously, Old Dominion is a long shot, but I’m interested to see how they match up against Purdue. I believe the Boilermakers get the job done but receive an opening-round scare.
I’m very interested in the Cincinnati Bearcats and Villanova Wildcats, but it’s a tough blow (in my opinion) that they’re on the bottom of the bracket with Tennessee. Even still, I don’t think either team should be overlooked, and that especially stands true for Jay Wright and Villanova. The Wildcats’ first-round pressure is somewhat eased this year as they aren’t a top seed, and it’s easy to forget that this is a group who knocked off the Florida State Seminoles and Temple Owls earlier this year.
The Oregon Ducks are going to be a popular choice to make a run, and for good reason. They have been red-hot to finish out the year, winning eight-straight games including defeating both the Washington Huskies and Arizona State Sun Devils twice. Their second victory over Washington came in the Pac-12 title game, as the Ducks defeated the three top seeds in the conference during the tournament.
NCAA Tournament South Region Bracket Picks