NCAA Tournament South Region Breakdown

Nate Shron

Justin Cates and Chuck (Flyers13) discuss the many faces of Jim Boeheim, Texas lumberjacks and the rest of the South region.

Flyers13: Next to the Midwest, this group is fairly brutal in it's own right. Florida, Syracuse, and Kansas. All teams who think they can put together six games. Kansas would be the most talented if we knew exactly what Joel Embiid's status is, and the selection committee did something I think completely unethical in projecting Kansas as opposed to awarding a seeding based on their body of work. What would happen for instance if Kansas had gone undefeated, but then Wiggins, Ellis, and Embiid were in a car wreck three days before and couldn't play? Would they all of a sudden revoke Kansas' bid since their stars aren't all available? I think that the move they made dropping Kansas down a seed represents a slippery slope for the Selection Committee. Once again they have redrawn the line as to what the components of a tournament resume should resemble. As the number one team, and therefore number one overall seed, should Florida fans feel like they got screwed in their bracket?

JC: This is a very solid group. Syracuse to me is almost exactly like Virginia. Strong defense and slowing the pace keeps most games close. The Orange will either make a deep run or lose in the second round and they appear to be in the slightly tougher side of that region. It's no secret that the selection committee is wildly hypocritical. They redraw the selection criteria every year so it's bad, but not shocking that they made a move on Kansas. Even without Embiid I can see the Jayhawks coming out of this region. If he comes back it's a bonus and a direct flight to North Texas which is a funny way of saying "almost Dallas". Florida should have been in the East Region or maybe the West. Travel is less favorable there, but they got a really tough draw for the top seed.

Flyers13: Syracuse has to "re-intensify" their "vaunted 2-3 zone." Teams are shooting better against them down the stretch. For the life of me I can't figure out why Jerami Grant doesn't play a larger role in their offense. Seems like Syracuse is leaving some stuff in the bag. I understand why Florida was the South #1 seed, they generally try to stay true to the top seed's geographical area, and considering FLA was top seed, the South is fine for them, in as much as the "pond would be good" for Carl Spackler in Caddyshack.

JC: Oddly enough, the golf course where they filmed Caddyshack is in south Florida. As for the Orange Persons, something is certainly off down the stretch. Is it just me or is Jim Boeheim too laid back for his own good? Sometimes, I think he'd be better off getting in his guy's faces and screaming at them to go, "man-to-man!" Bill Raftery style just to shake things up.

Flyers13: The world missed whiny Boeheim did it not? If you saw the 30 for 30 last night: Requiem for the Big East, there was certainly plenty of that Jim to be seen in the '80s. I especially loved his tantrum following the 1983 Big East championship game. Fortunately for us, the ACC was too much of a pressure-cooker and it got to him down the stretch as evidenced in his antics at Dook (both precious AND priceless). I would say that he has become over-reliant on the zone and his plodding style of offense. It's a nice formula, but when lesser teams are beating you out of your zone, it's time to mix it up. I'd love to see a Syracuse/VCU match-up in the regional final, just for the clash of philosophies. What do you think of the Rams chances out of the South? The Hokies sure gave them all their 3rd string could handle back in December.

JC: Smarmy Boehiem is still my favorite, but I have all the plush dolls. VCU got a really tough draw and a lot of people are picking Stephen F. Austin to pull the 12-5 upset. The Lumberjacks (are there trees in Texas?) haven't lost since November, but I think VCU can handle them. Of course if they do, Shaka Smart and company are looking at a likely match up with a UCLA team that just knocked off Arizona to win the PAC-12. VCU really makes everyone work for it though so anythings possible.

Flyers13: I think Boeheim might be exceeded only by Indiana's Tom "I'm Too Good For The CBI" Crean. People always love the 12/5 upset do they not? I'd be wary of Stephen F Austin, they did go 31-2, but one-man team Lamar stayed within 10. That dude is a beast, Lamar. If SFAU has decent guards, then maybe they can challenge Shaka "Mr. Loverman" Smart (i know it's Shabba folks), but Havoc reigns most times in these one-off tourney match-ups. UCLA is one of those teams that can beat anyone, but will probably fall to someone less talented than they should. Besides, Steve Alford has one of those Catalina Wine Mixer faces does he not....I don't know what it is, I just wanna deliver one of these (balling fist) right into his face.

JC: It's worth noting that most recent loss by the Lumberjacks came at the hands of East Tennessee State, though the other loss was a respectable showing against Texas. Steve Alford certainly has something about him. I kind of feel like he'd sell you a practical mid-sized sedan with no muffler and then fail to return your calls. Tom Crean made a silly choice in my view. His team can clearly use the extra practice. You think he's cutting his losses on the way out of town?

Flyers13: And Alford would put the true-coat on the invoice for an extra $500 despite being told repeatedly that you had declined that option.

It might just be a giant middle finger to those boosters from Crean at Indiana. His body language is a huge negative, and though he's probably a decent guy behind closed doors, too many can interpret him the wrong way. I was reading that Indiana might replace him with Mike Woodson of the Knicks. I'm beginning to think that Jerry Jones is the booster at Indiana here. Was Isiah Thomas unavailable?

JC: I liked when the Pistons were rumored to be considering Isiah Thomas to be their next general manager because it's clear the City of Detroit hasn't suffered enough in recent years. Indiana fans seem impossible to please. "What have you done for us Tom Crean? Oh sure, back-to-back Sweet Sixteen's were okay but we demand excellence!" Good thing he doesn't read his Twitter comments.

Flyers13: Just so long as the Pistons don't hire Rodney Stuckey to be the GM in 2025. Detroit has a habit of voting for whoever they remember fondly. Dave Bing won the election for mayor. And as we digressed into discussion of a guy who's technically not even fit for the CBI, let's give our predictions on the South. I'm going to hate myself for choosing Syracuse to get it done aren't I? But I think that zone frustrates the athletic, need space to operate Jayhawks in the Sweet 16. In the other half, I like Florida and VCU to play. I think it will be supremely interesting. But in the end, the Orangefolx will be repping the ACC.

JC: Even though Embiid is definitely out for the opening weekend, I still really like Kansas. I could see 'Cuse making a run but I think this is one of those years they fall flat and all of upstate New York plunges into a deep depression until spring comes which looks like it won't be until early June this year.

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