Your Guide To The 2019 NCAA Men’s Tournament: South region

Top seed outlook: Could No. 1 Virginia exorcise the past year’s allies now that the team is at full strength? Our model thinks. The Cavaliers have a 49 percent probability of cracking the Final Four and a 31 percent likelihood of accomplishing what would be the program’s first national title match.
With De’Andre Hunter, that wasn’t on the court last year through UVA’s historic loss to No. 16 Maryland Baltimore County, the Cavaliers have been dominant on both ends — the sole team standing in the top five at Pomeroy’s adjusted offense and protection metrics. Yet more, Tony Bennett’s pack line defense is suffocating most offensive opportunity and successfully turning games into stone fights. But this year’s group is better on the offensive end and ought to breeze into the Elite Eight, where it could meet Tennessee. Due to Grant Williams along with the wonderfully named Admiral Schofield, the No. 2 Volunteers are enjoying their best basketball in program history. We give them a 22 percent likelihood of reaching the Final Four.
Sneaky Final Four select: No. 6 Villanova. Can it be”sneaky” to select the team that has won two of the past three national titles? Maybe not. But this hasn’t been the same team that coach Jay Wright advised to these championships. After dropping a ton of its best players from last year’s title-winning team, the Wildcats had an up-and-down year and lost five of their final eight regular-season Big East games. However they also got hot over the past week, capping off a year in which they won the Big East regular-season and conference-tournament names — and had among the 20 best offenses in the nation according to KenPom (powered by an absurd number of 3-pointers). Our power ratings believe that they’re the fourth-best team at the South despite being the No. 6 seed, and they have a 5 percent chance of making it back into the Final Four for a third time in four seasons.
Do not bet : No. 4 Kansas State. Coach Bruce Weber’s Wildcats nearly made the Final Four last season, however they may find it tougher this time around. K-State comes with an elite defense (it ranks fourth in the nation based on Pomeroy’s ratings), but its offense is more prone to battles — and may be down its second-leading scorer, forward Dean Wade, who missed the team’s Big 12 tournament loss to Iowa State with a foot injury. A barbarous draw that gives the Wildcats tough No. 13 seed UC Irvine in the first round, then puts them opposite the Wisconsin-Oregon winner in Round two, could limit their potential to advance deep into another consecutive tournament.
Cinderella watch: No. 12 Oregon. In accordance with our model, the Ducks have the very best Sweet 16 chances (24 percent) of any double-digit seed at the championship, over twice that of any other offender. Oregon struggled to string together wins for most of the regular season, and its own chances seemed sunk following 7-foot-2 phenom Bol Bol was lost for the season with a foot injury in January. However, the Ducks have rallied to win eight consecutive games going into the tournament, such as a convincing victory in Saturday’s Pac-12 championship. Oregon matches a similar mold as K-State — excellent defense using a defendant crime — but that is telling, given that the Ducks are a 12-seed and the Wildcats are a No. 4. Should they fulfill in the Round of 32, we provide Oregon a 47 percent chance at the upset.
Player to watch: Grant Williams, Tennessee
The junior has come a long way from being”a fat boy with some ability.” Williams, the de facto leader of Rick Barnes’s Volunteers, has bullied the SEC within the previous two seasons, amassing two successive conference player of the year honors.
The Vols might just feature the very best offense of Barnes’s training career — and we’re talking about a guy who coached Kevin Durant! A lot of that offensive potency could be traced to Williams, the team’s leading scorer and rebounder, that positions in the 97th percentile in scoring efficiency, according to data courtesy of Synergy Sports.
Williams possesses an old-man match you might find in a regional YMCA, a back-to-the-basket, footwork-proficient offensive attack that manifests mostly in post-ups, where he ranks in the 98th percentile in scoring efficacy and shoots an adjusted field-goal percentage of 56.1. He can get the Volunteers buckets in the waning moments of games, too, as he positions from the 96th percentile in isolation scoring efficacy.
Likeliest first-round upsets: No. 9 Oklahoma over No. 8 Ole Miss (53 percent); No. 12 Oregon over No. 5 Wisconsin (45 percent); No. 10 Iowa over No. 7 Cincinnati (34 percent)

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