Road to the Final Four | South

Georgetown the class of bracket with pedigree

Georgetown’s Otto Porter Jr.
Getty Images/File
Georgetown’s Otto Porter Jr. (16.3 ppg, 7.4 rpg) was the Big East player of the year and should be on the short list for national honors.

A look at the 16 teams that make up the South bracket of the NCAA tournament:

Upset specials: Northwestern State over Florida, South Dakota State over Michigan

Sweet 16 picks: North Carolina, VCU, UCLA, Georgetown


Regional champion: Georgetown

1. Kansas (29-5)

Get Breaking Sports Alerts in your inbox:
Be the first to know the latest sports news as it happens.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

The Jayhawks tied Kansas State for the regular-season Big 12 title, then beat the Wildcats in the tournament final. Keep an eye on Ben McLemore: He leads Kansas in scoring as a freshman (16.4 ppg), but this is a senior-dominated team. Talented 7-footer Jeff Withey (13.6 ppg, 8.4 rpg), Travis Releford (11.5 ppg), and Elijah Johnson (10.1 ppg) give KU tournament experience.

2. Georgetown (25-6)

The Hoyas were rewarded for a solid season featuring one of the country’s best players. Otto Porter Jr. (16.3 ppg, 7.4 rpg) was the Big East player of the year and should be on the short list for national honors.

3. Florida (26-7)

St. Mark’s graduate Erik Murphy is one of three seniors who score from 12.1 to 12.7 ppg, giving the Gators a level of on-court productive experience few teams can match. Their wins are by an average of 24 points.

4. Michigan (26-7)

Once ranked No. 1 in the country, the Wolverines stumbled, going 6-6 over their last 12 games. Michigan has one of the best guards in the country in Trey Burke (19.2 ppg).

5. Virginia Commonwealth (26-8)


“Havoc” is what Shaka Smart calls his full-court press, and it’s aptly named as the Rams average nearly 12 steals per game and force nearly 20 turnovers. VCU averages 78.2 ppg.

6. UCLA (25-9)

Shabazz Muhammad has mostly lived up to the hype as a freshman, leading the Bruins in scoring (17.8). But how far UCLA goes will likely depend on its complementary parts.

7. San Diego State (22-10)

The Aztecs lost five of their last nine, and were beaten soundly by New Mexico in the Mountain West semis. They’ll look to regain the magic that helped them win 14 of their first 16.

8. North Carolina (24-10)

The Tar Heels haven’t done a whole lot to impress, and not a whole lot to be dismissed. They will need strong play on the perimeter from P.J. Hairston, Dexter Strickland, and Marcus Paige to advance.

9. Villanova (20-13)

The Wildcats beat Syracuse, Louisville, and Georgetown, when those teams were ranked in the top five nationally. Villanova also lost to Columbia at home by 18.

10. Oklahoma (20-11)


The Sooners are back in the tournament for the first time since 2009. Forward Romero Osby led the team in scoring (15.8) and rebounding (7.0).

11. Minnesota (20-12)

Hard to believe, but the Gophers haven’t won a game in the NCAA Tournament since 1997. Minnesota opened 15-1 and looked like a team that could be in the mix for a high seed. Instead, it stumbled to a 5-11 finish.

12. Akron (26-6)

The Zips’ Keith Dambrot, who coached Le­Bron James in high school, guided his team to a 19-game winning streak before dominating the MAC tournament. The Zips have a big-time center in 7-footer Zeke Marshall (13.0 ppg, 65 percent shooting, 7.1 rpg, 3.7 bpg).

13. South Dakota State (25-9)

The reason the Jackrabbits are in the NCAAs for the second straight season is Nate Wolters (22.7 ppg), a 6-4 senior guard and NBA prospect.

14. Northwestern State (23-8)

The Demons from Natchitoches, La., are the highest-scoring team in the country at 81.5 points per game. Coach Mike McConathy goes 10 deep and presses full court for 40 minutes.

15. Florida Gulf Coast (24-10)

Perhaps a rooting interest for Boston fans since this school is located in Fort Myers. The Atlantic Sun champion beat Miami in November.

16. Western Kentucky (20-15)

For the second straight season, the Hilltoppers were surprise winners of the Sun Belt Conference tournament. Their best player is 6-4 guard T.J. Price (15.3 ppg).