NCAA Tournament 2010: South Regional Prediction

March 18, 2010

The South Regional features an overrated #1 Seed in Duke, a senior-dominated sleeper in Cal, and a battle-tested Wildcats team.

Here is our South Regional prediction:

16. Arkansas-Pine Bluff (18-5)

When your leading scorer, Terrance Calvin, averages only 10.3 points per game, it is virtually impossible for you to upset a #1 seed. One and done.

15. Robert Morris (23-11)

Head coach Mike Rice used to be an assistant at Pittsburgh and will use that experience to assure his team they have a chance against Big East power Villanova. If ‘Nova tries to sleepwalk through this game the Colonials could give them a little scare. But just a scare: one and done.

14. Sam Houston State (25-7)

6-6 Jr. Forward Gilberto Clavell is the Bearkats leading scorer (16.9) and rebounder (6.3) while shooting an impressive 57.5% from the field. The Bearkats will need a big game from their backcourt if they expect to survive in the tournament, especially from 6-1 Sr. Corey Allmond. But will it be enough against Baylor? I predict a close loss – one and done.

13. Siena (27-6)

With four capable scorers averaging between 13.6 and 16.3 points per game (although guard Clarence Jackson is hobbled with an ankle injury), the Saints might be able to pull off the upset against the injury riddled Purdue Boilermakers. Is Purdue as bad as their last Big Ten Tournament game? Probably not, and despite a game attempt, the Siena should be one and done.

12. Utah State (27-7)

Many experts are high on the Aggies and they have good reason to be. Despite losing the WAC Conference Tournament Final, this team won the WAC regular season by three games. While it is too easy to presume that they will pull off the upset against Texas A&M, this time has proven themselves during the year. This talented “underdog” should win their 1st round matchup and then defeat Purdue in the second round to make it to the Sweet 16.

11. Old Dominion (26-8)

The Colonial Athletic regular season champs are a dangerous team with toughness and character (as our most teams who have won their full regular season conference title.) The “upset” against an overrated Notre Dame team is possible if they slow the game down and turn it into a defensive battle. The prediction is that they will do just that but fall in the 2nd round to Baylor.

10. St. Mary’s (26-5)

The Gaels have five players who average in double-figures and have the kind of balanced attack that can lead them far in the tournament. They are led by star 6-11 Sr. Center Omar Samhan who averages 20.9 points and 11.0 rebounds per game. The ability to play inside and out lead me to believe the Gaels will make a serious tourney run – through to the Sweet 16 before they lose.

9. Louisville (20-12)

The Cardinal have been an enigma all season. Playing poorly against some bad teams, but beating Syracuse twice. Samardo Samuels has been (15.3ppg and 7.0 reb) will need help from senior guard Edgar Sosa for Louisville to go far in this tournament. Though most are picking them to win their 1st Round matchup with Cal, their inconsistent play leaves me unconvinced – one and done.

8. California (23-10)

The Pac-10 regular season conference champs have had their own consistency problems this year. However, their lineup is ideal for a tournament run. They start 4 seniors, and have excellent perimeter players who love to shoot 3s, led by Pac-10 player of the year and 5'10" point guard Jerome Randle. Unless a team can exploit their defensive weakness inside, Cal can go far. I expect them to upset Duke in the 2nd, and defeat upstart Utah State in the 3rd round before falling in the Elite 8.

7. Richmond (26-8)

The Spiders can no longer play the underdog card. 5'11" point guard Kevin Anderson is capable of making a name for himself in the tournament if they can get through the first round. Unfortunately, I don’t see that happening against an underrated St. Mary’s team – one and done.

6. Notre Dame (23-11)

The Irish are in the NCAA tournament for 3 reasons: (1) Reputation; (2) Big East Conference membership; and (3) Luke Harangody. The first factor should not be considered, the second factor is relevant (but finishing 7th limits that reward), and the third is legitimate. Harangody (22.4 ppg and 9.4 reb) is the Irish’s only hope of moving on this tournament. Too much will be required from him and I expect the Irish to bow out in the opener – one and done.

5. Texas A&M (23-9)

On the surface the Aggies appear to be possible victims of the dreaded “5 v. 12” upset scenario when they face a tough Utah State team. In what should be a close game, senior backcourt leader Donald Sloan (18.2 ppg) must play at a high level and the game must be low-scoring. The loss of senior leader Derrick Roland to a stress fracture during the season has hurt the Aggies all year long. In a close call, I think A&M falls in the opener – one and done.

4. Purdue (27-5)

The loss of Robbie Hummel (15.7 ppg) has many wondering if the Boilermakers are vulnerable. They certainly looked terrible in their last game, a 69-42 loss to Minnesota. However, the Boilermakers still have leading scorer E’Twaun Moore (16.6 ppg) is recovered from injury and the Big 10 regular season champs are tough enough to get through the first round. However, I seen them falling in the second round to Utah State.

3. Baylor (25-7)

LaceDarius Dunn (19.4 ppg) and Tweety Carter (15.7 ppg) provide the talented and experienced backcourt necessary to succeed in the NCAA tournament. 6'10" Forward/Center Ekpe Udoh gives the Bears enough inside muscle to get all the way to the Sweet 16 before falling to Villanova.

2. Villanova (24-7)

The Wildcats are quite ready to take advantage of a relatively weak bracket despite the struggles they suffered at the end of the season. Guards Scottie Reynolds and Corey Fisher will make the big plays needed and Jay Wright’s team should beat all teams to get to the Final Four before losing.

1. Duke (29-5)

The ACC regular season and tournament champs have played extremely well recently. Many consider them to have an easy path to the Final Four. I don’t see it. The 3-headed monster of Jon Scheyer (18.6 ppg), Kyle Singler (17.6 ppg), and Nolan Smith (17.3 ppg) are capable of carrying the Blue Devils in this bracket. They all can shoot the 3 and are solid on the perimeter. However, I see the Blue Devils being shocked in the second round to the winner of the Cal/Louisville game.

Eventual Regional Champion: VILLANOVA

By Manish Pandya
Staff Editor for

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