March Madness 2023: Previewing the South Region

My spring break just so happened to fall on one of the busiest weeks in all of sports. March Madness and NFL free agency are starting up, the MLB is in the midst of Spring Training, and the Celtics and Bruins are chasing the top seeds in their respective playoff brackets. I’ll be putting out a lot of content this week, starting with the multi-part breakdown of my March Madness bracket.

In this article, I’ll be previewing the South region. After all four parts, I will be revealing my bracket in full.

Round of 64 Matchups


#1 Alabama vs. #16 Texas A&M-CC/Missouri State

It would be foolish to pick a 16 seed over a 1; UMBC is a special circumstance that may not happen again for a long time. I do think Alabama is a little overrated as a 1 seed, as they’ve had some ugly losses and lack concrete depth behind freshman standout Brandon Miller. However, their exit will not come in this around.

Pick: Alabama

#8 Maryland vs. #9 West Virginia

I’d say both of these teams exceeded our expectations this season. Charlotte transfer Jahmir Young stepped up to lead Maryland to some quality wins first at the Hall of Fame Tip-off and later across the B1G. Meanwhile, West Virginia has faced some bumps in the road in a difficult Big 12, but the committee accounted for three success in spite of a difficult schedule and has them as the 7th Big 12 team on the bracket. These teams have pretty similar track records, but West Virginia did it in a tougher conference.

Pick: West Virginia


#5 San Diego State vs. #12 Charleston

The Mountain West has never won a tournament game, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to pick against every Mountain West team. This is too tempting of an upset to ignore though. This year’s 12 seeds are dangerous and will capitalize on any weakness in their 5-seeded opponents. SDSU may have the best player on the court in Matt Bradley, but Charleston is way deeper and should pull ahead later in the game as Bradley tires out.

Pick: UPSET ALERT: Charleston

#4 Virginia vs. #13 Furman

As expected, the Cavs were one of the ACC’s better teams this season. They may be without Ben Vander Plaas, but they still have most of their core with Armaan Franklin, Jayden Gardner, and Kihei Clark all ready to go. Furman has definitely had their moments, but they haven’t gotten it done against a team like Virginia (unlike some previous March Madness teams from the SoCon). I don’t see that changing in this one.

Pick: Virginia


#6 Creighton vs. #11 NC State

Many have Creighton as a sleeper as they quietly rebounded late in the season in spite of a January rough patch. However, I’m skeptical after Xavier knocked them out of the Big East tournament with ease. Arthur Kaluma has not quite been the superstar the Bluejays we’re expecting, while NC State has seen some elite production from both Terquavion Smith and Ole Miss transfer Jarkel Joiner. The Wolfpack had a pretty quiet year, but I think they match up well with this Creighton team.


#3 Baylor vs. #14 UC Santa Barbara

Baylor fell to a 3 seed after Iowa State had their number the entire season. However, this is a team I give a pass for playing in a brutal Big 12. The team is still stacked on both sides of the ball, led by a big three of Adam Flagler, L.J. Cryer, and freshman Keyonte George. UCSB has received majority of their scoring from their top two options, and that won’t be enough depth to keep up with this Baylor team.

Pick: Baylor


#7 Missouri vs. #10 Utah State

I think this a bit of an under-seeding for the Tigers after they competed with some of the SEC’s best teams like Tennessee. However, being in this spot caused them to draw a tough matchup in Utah State. The Aggies have seen a step up this year from every single one of their starters, and they’ve had some low lows, they developed enough of a resume to make it to this point. With Isiaih Mosley’s status in question, give me Utah State.

Pick: UPSET ALERT: Utah State

#2 Arizona vs. #15 Princeton

It would be fun to see the Ivy League champs pull off a first round upset, but I don’t see Arizona going down that easy. Arizona has at least split with every Pac-12 opponent, led by standout star Azuolas Tubelis and 4 other 10+ PPG scorers. They could be on upset watch in later rounds considering their lack of a bench, but I see them hanging on here.

Pick: Arizona

Potential Round of 32 Matchups

#1 Alabama vs. #9 West Virginia

#4 Virginia vs. #12 Charleston

#3 Baylor vs. #11 NC State

#2 Arizona vs. #10 Utah State

Watch out for West Virginia as an upset candidate; Alabama already lost to Big 12 bottom feeder Oklahoma and the Mountaineers played even better than the Sooners in that tough conference. I think the runs of the double digit seeds end here though. Tony Bennett’s defense should be able to shut down Charleston. I don’t trust NC State against Baylor; I really only have them winning as a result of Creighton’s inconsistency. Utah State may be able to get past a banged up Missouri team but they haven’t beaten anyone near the level of the fully staffed Arizona Wildcats.

And the winner is…

#3 Baylor

Baylor has one of the most stacked offenses in the entire bracket. Their defense has been lackluster, but I think that’s partially as a result of a tough Big 12 and Scott Drew should have their defense up to par with opponents in this region of the bracket. They will simply overpower their defensive minded opponents.

Check back for my previews of the other regions over the next couple days.

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