March Madness South 1st Round Preview

March Madness South 1st Round Preview

by March 19, 2021 0 comments

The South Region of the NCAA Tournament bracket doesn’t have as much firepower as the others but still looks to have some very interesting battles. The top seed in the region is the Baylor Bears, with the Ohio State Buckeyes as the number two seed. One team that could be on upset alert is the fifth-seeded Villanova Wildcats facing off against the 12th-seeded Winthrop Eagles.

The closest matchup will likely be seventh-seed Florida against 10th-seed Virginia Tech. Colgate gets the toughest draw after winning the Patriot League, as they have to face three-seed Arkansas.

All times are eastern standard time.

Florida (7) vs. Virginia Tech (10)

Date: Friday, March 18

Time: 12:15 p.m

How to Watch: CBS

The Gators are 14-9 on the season and come off their SEC quarterfinal loss to Tennessee. This will be their fourth straight tournament appearance. In their last two chances, they lost in the second round but went all the way to the Elite Eight in 2017. Overall, they have made 22 tournaments while making five final fours and winning two championships (2006, 2007). The Hokies are 15-6 on the year and also come on off a loss in their conference, the ACC, quarterfinals to North Carolina. Their loss was a tough one, but they gave the Tar Heels are they could handle. they have much less March pedigree, as they have made just 11 tournaments overall and haven’t made a final four. They had a semi-run in 2019, as they reached the Sweet 16 where they ultimately lost to Duke.

One player to watch in this one is sophomore guard Tre Mann of Florida, who is averaging 16 points per game and 5.7 rebounds per game while shooting at 39.8 percent from behind the arc. The Hokies are led by junior forward Keve Aluma who has averaged 15.6 PPG and 8 RPG.

Betting Odds Sponsored by Jazz Sportsbook

Point Spread: FLA PK (-110) | VT PK (-110)
Moneyline: EVEN
Over/Under: O 135 (-110) | U 135 (-110)

These two teams don’t exactly push the pace. Florida ranks 165th in the country in pace with 68.7 possessions per 40 minutes. They also don’t rebound well (135th), while Virginia Tech does do that well, so the Hokies can control the pace of the game. Every game since January 12 when they won the rebounding battle the game hit the under. This is an even matchup with it being a Pick ‘Em game, so take the under with the slow pace it should bring.

Cap’n Kielar’s Best Bet: U 135

Arkansas (3) vs. Colgate (14)

Date: Friday, March 18

Time: 12:45 p.m

How to Watch: truTV

Arkansas comes into this one off of a loss to LSU in the SEC semifinals. The Razorbacks were 22-6 on the season and finished second behind Alabama for the regular-season conference championship. They have 32 tournaments all-time with their most recent appearances being in 2018, 2017, and 2015. They have made six final fours and won a championship in 1994, but haven’t made it past the Round of 32 since 1996. Colgate defeated Loyola Maryland in the Patriot League Championship and they were 11-1 on the season. Their lack of games and facing better competition is a tough draw for them. They have only made three tournaments in their history and lost in the first round in all three.

Arkansas has some high-powered shooters in junior JD Notae and seniors Justin Smith and Jalen Tate. The trio has combined to score 42 percent of the team’s points on the season and 50 percent of all their scoring the last five games. Senior Jordan Burns has been on fire from behind the arc, making 7 of 15 threes over the last three games, and has shot 41.5 percent on 65 three-pointers on the season. Colgate is actually ranked second in the country with 86.3 PPG, while Arkansas is seventh at 82.4 PPG.

Betting Odds Sponsored by Jazz Sportsbook

Point Spread: ARK -8.5 (-110) | COLG +8.5 (-110)
Moneyline: ARK -435 | COLG +315
Over/Under: O 161 (-110) | U 161 (-110)

Let’s not sugarcoat this. Colgate has only played 15 games this season against lower-level competition in the Patriot League. Arkansas plays in the much more competitive SEC and went 22-6 and 13-4 in the conference. The Razorbacks also get back freshman forward Jaylin Williams who has been out since February 27 because of COVID-19 protocol. He has played 15.5 minutes a game and recorded 4.6 rebounds per game while blocking almost one shot every game he’s played. Ride with the Razorbacks for a win and a cover.

Cap’n Kielar’s Best Bet: Arkansas (-8.5)

Texas Tech (6) vs. Utah State (11)

Date: Friday, March 18

Time: 1:45 p.m

How to Watch: TNT

This one looks to be an intriguing matchup, with Utah State being a potential sleeper team in this tournament. They made the Mountain West Championship where they lost to Midwest six-seed San Diego State. Overall, the Big Blue went 20-8 on the season and 15-4 in the conference. This is their 22nd tournament appearance, their most recent being in 2019 when they lost in the first round to Washington. Texas Tech went 17-10 on the season and lost to Texas in the Big 12 quarterfinals. The Red Raiders have been to 17 NCAA tournaments while they have been to one Final Four. That year, 2019, they made the National Championship but ultimately lost to Virginia. The year prior, in 2018, they made the Elite Eight and lost to Villanova.

The Red Raiders are led by junior guard Mac McClung who leads the team with 15.7 PPG while shooting at 33.3 percent from behind the arc, and 80.3 percent from the foul line. Senior forward Marcus Santos-Silva crashes the boards with 6.5 rebounds per game and has averaged over a block per game. Junior center Neemias Queta has been a force for the Aggies this season. leading the team in points (15.1 PPG), rebounds (10 PPG), and blocks (3.2 blocks per game). He has shot an outstanding 55.7 percent from the field.

Betting Odds Sponsored by Jazz Sportsbook

Point Spread: TTU -4 (-110) | USU +4 (-110)
Moneyline: TTU -185 | USU +155
Over/Under: O 131 (-110) | U 131 (-110)

Cap’n Kielar’s Best Bet: Texas Tech -4

Ohio State (2) vs. Oral Roberts (15)

Date: Friday, March 18

Time: 3:00 p.m

How to Watch: CBS

Ohio State gets to this point after an excruciatingly heartbreaking loss to Illinois in the Big Ten Championship. Their two losses in their last five games were both to Illinois. The championship loss was their second overtime game in the conference tournament, the first one being against Purdue in the quarterfinals. The Buckeyes have made 33 tournaments, 11 Final Fours, and won a championship in 1960. They lost in the second round in their last two appearances, 2019 and 2018, and their last Final Four appearance was in 2012. Oral Roberts won the Summit League Championship over North Dakota State and has won five games in a row. The Golden Eagles have been to five tournaments, most recently in 2008. They have lost in the first round in all but once, making the Elite Eight in their first appearance in 1974.

Junior guard Duane Washington Jr. is the player to watch for Ohio State, with 16.3 PPG and a 38.1 percent three-point percentage. Oral Roberts is led by sophomore guard Max Abmas who has scored 24.2 PPG and has shot 43.3 percent from behind the arc. Junior forward Kevin Obanor crashing the boards for 9.5 RPG while also shooting a 50.3 percent field goal percentage.

Betting Odds Sponsored by Jazz Sportsbook

Point Spread: OSU -16 (-110) | ORU +16 (-110)
Moneyline: OSU -2670 | ORU +1110
Over/Under: O 157 (-110) | U 157 (-110)

Cap’n Kielar’s Best Bet: Ohio State -16

Baylor (1) vs. Hartford (16)

Date: Friday, March 18

Time: 3:30 p.m

How to Watch: truTV

Baylor comes in off a Big 12 semifinal loss to Oklahoma State. They are 22-2 on the season while going on a three-week COVID-19 pause. They struggled out of their hiatus but should be ready to go in this one. The Bears have made 12 tournaments and two Final Fours. They lost to Gonzaga in the second round in 2019 and made the Sweet 16 in 2017. Hartford won the America East Conference Championship by defeating UMass Lowell and are 15-8 on the season. This is their first NCAA Tournament appearance and it won’t be easy.

Junior guard Jared Butler leads Baylor with 17.1 PPG, two steals per game, and one block per game. He has done this while shooting at a 42.9 percent clip from behind the arc. Senior guard Austin Williams has led Hartford with 13.7 PPG, 6.2 RPG, while senior guard Traci Carter leads them with 3.4 assists per game and 2.6 steals per game.

Betting Odds Sponsored by Jazz Sportsbook

Point Spread: BAY -25.5 (-110) | HART +25.5 (-110)
Moneyline: —
Over/Under: O 140.5 (-110) | U 140.5 (-110)

Cap’n Kielar’s Best Bet: Hartford +25.5

North Carolina (8) vs. Wisconsin (9)

Date: Friday, March 18

Time: 7:10 p.m

How to Watch: CBS

This should be another close one. The Tar Heels come in off a closely contested semifinal loss to Florida State in the ACC Tournament, while the Badgers lost to Iowa in the Big Ten quarterfinals. North Carolina has made 50 tournaments, 20 Final Fours, and won six championships (1957, 1982, 1993, 2005, 2009, 2017). They defeated powerhouse Gonzaga in the 2017 Championship. This is their tenth straight Tournament bid, most recently making the Sweet 16 in 2019. Wisconsin has made 24 tournaments, four Final Fours, and won a championship in 1941. Their most recent appearance was 2019 when they lost in the first round, but they made the Championship in 2015, losing to Duke.

Sophomore forward Armando Bacot is a player to watch for North Carolina, with 12.2 PPG, 8 RPG, and a 62.7 percent field goal percentage. Freshman RJ Davis is also a player to watch as he has scored 38 percent of the Tar Heels’ points. The seniors for the Badgers have led the squad, with seniors D’Mitrik Trice, Micah Potter, Brad Davison, Aleem Ford, and Nate Reuvers accounting for a majority of the scoring. Trice has connected on 38 percent of his 150 three-point attempts. The Badgers are careful with the ball, turning the ball over just 13.6 percent of the time which is second-best in Division I. North Carolina, meanwhile has turned it over 20.7 percent of the time.

Betting Odds Sponsored by Jazz Sportsbook

Point Spread: UNC -1.5 (-110) | WISC +1.5 (-110)
Moneyline: UNC -120 | WISC -120
Over/Under: O 137.5 (-110) | U 137.5 (-110)

Cap’n Kielar’s Best Bet: O 137.5

Purdue (4) vs. North Texas (13)

Date: Friday, March 18

Time: 7:25 p.m

How to Watch: TNT

Purdue lost to Ohio State in the Big Ten quarterfinals. while North Texas won the Conference USA Championship by beating Western Kentucky. The Boilermakers are 18-9 on the season while the Mean Green are 17-9. Purdue has 31 tournament appearances, most recently advancing to the Elite Eight in 2019. They have made two final fours. North Texas has three appearances, in 1988, 2007, and 2010. Junior forward Trevion Williams leads the Boilermakers with 15.6 PPG and nine RPG. Over their four-game winning streak, the Mean Green have allowed just 54 points per game while their 61.2 allowed points per game on the season is the 10th-lowest mark in Division I. They could be sneaky in this one with senior guard Javion Hamlet leading the way with 15 PPG and 4.5 APG while shooting at 36.2 percent from three-point range.

Betting Odds Sponsored by Jazz Sportsbook

Point Spread: PUR -7.5 (-110) | UNT +7.5 (-110)
Moneyline: PUR -320 | UNT +260
Over/Under: O 161 (-110) | U 161 (-110)

Cap’n Kielar’s Best Bet: North Texas +7.5

Villanova (5) vs. Winthrop (12)

Date: Friday, March 18

Time: 12:15 p.m

How to Watch: CBS

This has been a popular upset pick, with Villanova losing two straight including to Georgetown in the Big East quarterfinals. The Wildcats are 16-6 on the season and this is their 40th tournament appearance. They have made six Final Fours and won three championships in 1985, 2016, and 2018. In 2019 and 2017, they lost in the second round. Winthrop has made 10 tournaments but hasn’t had much luck as they have only gotten out of the first round once. Their most recent appearance was in 2017 when they lost to Butler in the first round.

Sophomore forward Jeremiah Robinson-Earl has led Villanova in points (15.7 PPG), rebounds (8.3 RPG), steals (1.0 SPG), and blocks (0.5 BPG). Senior Chandler Vaudrin has led the Eagles in almost every category with 12.2 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 6.9 APG, and 1.3 SPG.

Betting Odds Sponsored by Jazz Sportsbook

Point Spread: VILL -6.5 (-110) | WIN +6.5 (-110)
Moneyline: VILL -285 | WIN +225
Over/Under: O 143 (-110) | U 143 (-110)

Cap’n Kielar’s Best Bet: Winthrop +6.5


Check us out on our socials:
Twitter: @PTSTNews and @TalkPrimeTime
Facebook Page: Prime Time Sports Talk
Join our Facebook Group: Prime Time Sports Talk 
Instagram: @ptsportstalk

Follow Alex Kielar on Twitter @AlexKielar

Main Image Credit: From Google Images

No Comments so far

Jump into a conversation

No Comments Yet!

You can be the one to start a conversation.

Leave a Reply