This article is part of our NCAA Tournament Preview series.
The South region seems to lack true firepower at the top. Virginia was arguably the most dominant team in the country not named Duke this season, but the Hoos still have their doubters from past NCAA Tournament failures, including the infamous loss to UMBC last year. Tennessee was the No. 1 team in the country for some time during the regular season, but the Vols failed to secure both the regular season or tournament championship in the SEC. I suppose the argument can be made that if they don't have to face Auburn, they'll be fine. The Vols lost twice in four games to the Tigers down the stretch, including a walloping in the SEC Title Game. Purdue at No. 3 is largely a one-man band with Carsen Edwards, and if he isn't healthy, the Boilermakers could be in trouble. Rounding out the top-4 in this region is a Kansas State squad that tied for the regular season championship in the Big 12, knocking off rival Kansas to break its record 14-straight titles, but is rather thin and arguably hasn't had a big win since beating the Jayhawks nearly six weeks ago.
On the flip side, there are sleepers-a-plenty in this region. An overachieving Villanova squad should be on upset alert versus Saint Mary's, while the classic 12-5 trap game could leave a sour taste in the mouth of the Wisconsin Badger faithful (more on this game below). Even the Old