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2023 NCAA Tournament: South Region preview, schedule, best bets, more

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Arizona is one of the top seeds in the NCAA tournament South Region
Arizona guard Courtney Ramey, center, celebrates alongside teammates after their win over UCLA in an NCAA college basketball game for the championship of the men’s Pac-12 Tournament, Saturday, March 11, 2023, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Chase Stevens)

March Madness is here and the 2023 NCAA Tournament first-round action is just days away. We’ll walk you through every region, the biggest names, the best matchups, and our best bets. 

We started with the East Region, then headed West, so now we’ll look to the South region of the NCAA tournament. 

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South Region Schedule

First Four 

Texas A&M-CC (23-10) vs. SE Missouri State (19-16)

  • Date: Tuesday, March 14, 2023
  • Time: 6:40 p.m. ET
  • Location: UD Arena in Dayton, Ohio
  • Channel: truTV

First Round

Date Time Teams Channel
Thu, March 16 12:15 p.m. ET

No. 8 Maryland (21-12) vs. No. 9 West Virginia (19-14)

CBS
Thu, March 16 12:40 p.m. ET No. 4 Virginia (25-7) vs. No. 13 Furman (27-7) TruTV
Thu, March 16 1:40 p.m. ET No. 7 Missouri (24-9) vs. No. 10 Utah State (26-8) CBS
Thu, March 16 2:45 p.m. ET Play-in Winner vs. No. 1 Alabama (29-5) CBS
Thu, March 16 3:10 p.m. ET

No. 5 San Diego State (27-6) vs. No. 12 Charleston (31-3)

TruTV
Thu, March 16 4:00 p.m. ET No. 2 Arizona (28-6) vs. No. 15 Princeton (21-8) TNT
Fri, March 17 1:30 p.m. ET No. 3 Baylor (22-10) vs. No. 14 UC Santa Barbara (27-7) TNT
Fri, March 17 4:00 p.m. ET No. 6 Creighton (21-12) vs. No. 11 NC State (23-10) TNT
 
Furman is an upset pick in the South region of the NCAA tournament
Furman guard Mike Bothwell (3) revs up fans as he celebrates after his team’s win over Chattanooga in an NCAA men’s college basketball championship game for the Southern Conference tournament, Monday, March 6, 2023, in Asheville, N.C. (AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek)

South Region Best Matchups

No. 7 Missouri vs No. 10 Utah State: 

One of the most popular upset picks in the region, this game should be exciting and fast-paced. Missouri ranks 51st in KenPom ratings with an adjusted tempo of 92nd, while Utah State ranks 18th in KenPom with a 102 adjusted tempo. The Tigers are the more athletic team, but Utah State is a far better three-point shooting team. Utah State is a really well-balanced team and they boast KenPom’s 13th-ranked offense. Just for fun, Utah State coach Ryan Odom was the coach at UMBC when it pulled the historic 16-over-1 upset of Virginia in 2018.

 

No. 4 Virginia vs No. 13 Furman

It wasn’t long ago that Virginia was a national title contender, so this may seem crazy, but this is a bit of an overrated team. The Cavaliers still play a slow tempo (360th in the nation) and rely on their defense (25th in KenPom), but they also don’t really have any offensive threats and scored just 67.8 points per game this season, which was 253rd in the country. Meanwhile, Furman has KenPom’s 33rd-ranked offense in the country and averaged over 80 points and 16.4 assists per game, which were both top-15 in the country. If the Paladins are hitting their shots, I just don’t think Virginia can score with them. 

 

South Region Best Players

Brandon Miller – Forward, Alabama

Obviously, everybody knows Millers because of his role in the murder committed by a former teammate in which Miller is now being interviewed as a witness. While we wait for more details to come out in regard to that case, we do know that Miller is one of the most talented freshman players in the country. He has eight double-doubles and has performed in big spots this year, like putting up 36 points against Gonzaga, so he won’t be fazed by the pressure of the NCAA tournament. 

 

Azuolas Tubelis – Forward, Arizona

Tubelis is a semifinalist for the Naismith Player of the Year, which is no surprise since he averages 19.8 points and 9.1 rebounds a game while shooting 58.6% from the field and 33.3% from beyond the arc. He’s a matchup nightmare given his size (6’11” 245 pounds) and can absolutely take over a game. 

 

Ryan Kalkbrenner – Center, Creighton

Kalkbrenner is huge at 7’1″ and 235 pounds and he led the entire nation in field goal percentage at 71.4%. So, you can tell he’s not really spacing the floor that much. Still, opponents have to game plan for him and he can erase offense at the other end as the Big East Defensive Player of the Year for the second straight season after posting 65 blocks this year.

Brandon Miller and Alabama are one of the best bets to win the South Region in the NCAA tournament
Alabama forward Brandon Miller (24) reacts as Texas A&M guard Dexter Dennis (0) looks on in the final minutes of an NCAA college basketball game in the finals of the Southeastern Conference Tournament, Sunday, March 12, 2023, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/John Amis)

South Region Pick to Advance

Alabama

For all of the off-court concerns, they are KenPoms third-ranked team in the country and led the nation in rebounds per game. They went 16-2 in the SEC and won every conference tournament game by double digits. They can glean the glass and score the rock and are going to be tough to stop in the NCAA tournament. 

For more NCAA tournament coverage, visit amNY Sports