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NCAA Tournament South Region Preview Predictions & Futures

Written by: Richard Janvrin
Published March 16, 2023
8 min read

The second round for the 2023 south region is set to go, kicking off Saturday at 12:10 pm EST, with the surviving San Diego State facing off against one of the two clutch upsetters, Furman. Princeton was able to etch its name into the history books by beating the No. 2 seed Arizona as a No. 15 seed, becoming just the 11th team in NCAA history to do so. Arizona’s crushing loss marks the third straight NCAA tournament in which a No.15 seed has taken down a powerhouse No. 2 seed.

The Furman Paladins were also cooking up against the Cavaliers as they took down the No. 4 seed Virginia as a No. 13 seed. The Paladins were able to squeeze past Virginia in a 2-point upset led by senior Jalen Slawson, with 19 points and 10 rebounds to go along with it. 

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NCAA Tournament South Region Preview Predictions & Futures

Predictions for Upsets and Cinderella Teams

#15 Princeton Tigers: 22-8 (10-4, 1st in Ivy League)

  • Head Coach: Mitch Henderson 

  • Leading Scorer: Tosan Evbuomwan (15 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 4.8 apg)

Heartbroken supporters of the Arizona Wildcats across the nation chalk that loss up to nothing but pure luck, they would say that it just wasn’t their day and that their Wildcats would stomp Princeton any other day. Those people would be completely wrong. The Princeton Tigers are as serious as any other team in the south region as they are led by senior Tosan Evbuomwan.

He is the definition of a Swiss Army Knife on the court, Evbuomwan puts up a near 15-5-5 stat line every night. He averages 15 points per game with 6.2 rebounds and 4.8 assists to go along with it. Senior Ryan Langborg chips in 12 points and 3 rebounds per game while shooting 81% from the free-throw line. 

The Must-Watch Game of the 2nd Round

#3 Baylor vs. #6 Creighton 

The Baylor Bears blew past the University of California, Santa Barbara, in the Round of 64 with an 18-point win to send the Gauchos out the door early. In the Round of 32, the Bears will be going toe-to-toe with the Creighton Bluejays, who escaped defeat from NC State, and the electric performance of Terquavion Smith with ease in a 72-63 win over the WolfPack. 

The Creighton Bluejays have ended up packing their bags and heading home in their last four appearances in the Round of 32, but things look different this time around with shining big-man Ryan Kalkbrenner dominating both sides of the ball. I think the Bluejays will pose a serious threat to the Bears in the next round and to the remainder of the southern region due to the play of Kalkbrenner. The big man has averaged 19.3 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 4.3 assists over his last three outings while knocking down 52% of his shots from the field. 

The Baylor Bears blew past their first-round matchup with flying colors, they’re also a squad that is led by NBA-ready talents, but I still don’t think the Bears have the tools to contain center for the BlueJays, Ryan Kalkbrenner. With Trey Alexander knocking down shots from deep at 44% and Kalkbrenner dictating the paint, I believe the BlueJays will be a tough out for any squad. 

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Team In Threat of Leaving the Party Early in the Round of 32

This one falls on the Baylor Bears, as I touched on previously. Alabama exploding out of the first round with a 21-point win over Texas A&M-CC with their star freshman Brandon Miller sitting on the bench gives me confidence that the Crimson Tide will be comfortable facing off against No. 8 Maryland in the Round of 32. 

The Baylor Bears will have to lean into their high-scoring backcourt duo of freshman Keyonte George and senior Adam Flagler if they want to stay above water on the offensive end against the BlueJays. The Bears’ big three of George, Flagler, and junior guard LJ Cryer put up a combined average of 45.8 points per game, compared to the BlueJays big three trios of Kalkbrenner, Alexander, and senior Baylor Scheierman, who post a combined average of 41.8 points per contest. 

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Top Five Players Left in the South Region To Keep An Eye On

  • Ryan Kalkbrenner - Creighton: 15.4 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 2.2 bpg (71.4 FG%)

Ryan Kalkbrenner dominated in the BlueJays’ initial match-up of the tournament against NC State. KalkBrenner was able to put up 31 points and a win against the WolfPack with an extremely efficient effort. Kalkbrenner is one of the best rim protectors in the NCAA and will force the Baylor Bears to do their damage from the outside with his interior defensive presence. 

  • Arthur Kaluma - Creighton: 11.9 ppg, 5.9 rpg (41.7 FG%)

Against NC State, sophomore Author Kaluma posted a near double-double with 10 points, nine rebounds, and four assists in their victory. Kaluma is an impressive athlete  with incredible tools. The forward is 6-foot-7 with great power and strength. The sophomore can do it all on the court and will be a threat to opposing offenses and defenses in the tournament going forward. 

  • Keyonte George - Baylor: 15.8 ppg, 4.2 rpg (38.7 FG%)

George, listed at 6 foot 4, is a broad-shouldered guard with a solid, reliable frame. He operates with a unique game and displays good athleticism and quickness with the ball. His measurables fit the next level to perfection and make him a tough cover for opposing guards. George is an elite shot creator and tough shot maker that can get a bucket for the Bears whenever they may need it. 

  • D’Moi Hodge - Missouri: 14.8 ppg, 3.8 rpg (47.9 FG%)

Hodge posted 23 points and four rebounds, along with four steals, in their 11-point win over Utah State. Hodge displayed two-way play by knocking down 5 three-pointers and forcing four turnovers as he led the Tigers to a win. The fifth-year senior is a quick, agile guard that can shoot the ball at an elite clip as well as score the ball at will. Hodge is having a much improved season from his time at Cleveland State. The vetted combo guard is a skilled offensive player with microwave-scoring abilities.

  • Brandon Miller - Alabama: 19.6 ppg, 8.3 rpg (45 FG%)

Miller missed out on the 21-point blow-out win over Texas A&M-CC, but the Crimson Tide were able to take care of things without him. Alabama head coach Nate Oats stated on Friday that he believes the talented forward will play in the Round of 32, but it is not guaranteed due to an ongoing groin injury. The reigning SEC player of the year, Brandon Miller, is an extremely skilled, 6-foot-9 forward who can do a bit of everything on the court. He has a wide, lanky frame to pair with his great length, to power his NBA-level toolbox. Miller can knock down deep shots right over defenders' heads with his height and length. He can also find and create good looks at the basket from the mid-range area. Miller handles the ball like a guard and can be dominant on all three levels of scoring.

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Current Prediction for the South Region Winner

#1 Alabama Crimson Tide: 29-5 (16-2, 1st in SEC)

  • Head Coach: Nate Oats

  • Leading Scorer: Brandon Miller (19.6 ppg, 8.3 rpg)

The Alabama Crimson Tide remains my favorite to win the region. The 21-point win, while missing their leading scorer, goes without saying the Crimson Tide are the best team remaining in the south. With star freshman Brandon Miller optimistic to play in the Round of 32, I don’t see Alabama being slowed down by anyone else in the region with a healthy roster. 

Alabama did not finish the regular season as they would have hoped while dealing with the drama around the star-studded freshman Brandon Miller. They were still able to shine some hope on the postseason by winning the SEC tournament with ease and taking three double-digit wins while doing so. The Crimson Tide is equipped with the most skilled player in college basketball with a load of depth behind him. 

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Predictions for the Round of 32 South Region Bracket

  • #1 Alabama vs. #8 Maryland: 9:40 pm EST on TBS

Prediction: Alabama wins

  • #5 San Diego State vs. #13 Furman: 12:10 pm EST on CBS

Prediction: San Diego State wins

  • #6 Creighton vs. #3 Baylor: 7:10 pm EST on TBS

Prediction: Creighton wins 

  • #7 Missouri vs. #15 Princeton

Prediction: Princeton wins

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DraftKings Sportsbook Odds To Win The South Region

  • #1 Alabama odds are at +120

  • #3 Baylor odds are at +400

  • #5 San Diego State odds are at +600

  • #6 Creighton odds are at +400

  • #7 Missouri odds are at +1600

  • #8 Maryland odds are at +1600

  • #13 Furman odds are at +4500

  • #15 Princeton odds are at +6000

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Richard Janvrin

Sports Betting Analyst & Content Specialist

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After graduating from the University of New Hampshire with a BA in Journalism, Richard Janvrin has been covering iGaming and sports betting since December 2018. Richard has covered betting at Bleacher Report, Gambling.com, The Game Day, Forbes, and more.
Nationality: American
Education: Bachelor of English/ Journalism
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Experience:
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