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The Dirty South: A look at Villanova’s region

A year ago, I wrote that no team got helped more by the selection committee than Villanova. While that was mainly because of the sites that Villanova was placed in, I echo those sentiments today.

Villanova played a month of bad basketball and still got the most favorable draw of any two-seed. However, that doesn’t mean a trip back to the Final Four is a lock. Here is a look at the other top seeds in what should be a tumultuous South region.

1) Duke – The Blue Devils won the regular season title and the conference tournament in the ACC. They are more talented than the team that Villanova beat a year ago. Jon Scheyer has become one of the best point guards in the country, something that Duke did not have last season. What they lack in athleticism, they make up for in fundamentals. Duke has a pretty easy path to the Elite Eight, and it should take advantage.

3) Baylor – One of the most underrated teams in the country, the Bears are ready for their national coming out party. With LaceDarius Dunn, Tweety Carter and Empe Udoh, Baylor has a trio that is as talented as any other in the country. Add in that the Bears could be playing the second weekend in Houston, and they become even more dangerous. This would be Villanova’s toughest matchup personnel wise in the region.

4) Purdue – The Boilermakers are a four-seed in name only. After losing by 27 to Minnesota in the Big Ten tournament, it’s clear that Purdue is no longer a threat for a deep run in March. With just two players averaging above 6.6 points per game, Purdue is ripe for an upset by the experienced Siena Saints.

5) Texas A&M – Since losing senior guard Derrick Roland to injury in December, the Aggies have transformed into a grind-it-out, defensive-minded team. The results have been stellar as they went 11-5 in the Big 12 while holding opponents to 64.9 ppg. However, with Donald Sloan as the only Aggie to average in double-figures in scoring, Texas A&M might struggle to score enough to go far in March. One thing that helps is the potential trip to Houston.

6) Notre Dame – In the course of a month, Notre Dame went from NIT bound to a six-seed in the NCAA tournament. With Luke Harangody getting another week to heal, Notre Dame’s best basketball might be ahead of itself. Since he went down with an injury, the Fighting Irish have turned themselves into a ball-control, slow-paced team. It has been a tremendous success, and if they can overcome their depth issues, they could survive the first weekend.

7) Richmond – The Spiders were one of the biggest surprises in college basketball this season as they even made a brief appearance in the top-25. Richmond relies heavily on its backcourt, particularly lightning-quick guard Kevin Anderson, the Atlantic 10 Player of the Year. They prefer to slow down the temple of the game and let Anderson try to make plays.

8 ) California – Despite being the PAC-10 regular season champion, a lot more was expected from the Golden Bears this season. They did nothing in their non-conference and lost the conference title game to Washington. Still, they are a dangerous team that can score with anyone. Jerome Randle is one of the most underrated point guards in the country.

-David Cassilo

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  1. HHSforScottie
    March 17, 2010 at 6:18 am

    Of course everything written above flies in the face of all the chatter including on Mike and Mike this morning, stating that this portion of the bracket was formed to give Duke a straight path to the Final Four.

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