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March Madness Recap Ahead of the Final Four- South Region

South Region

Round of 64

1 Alabama 96

16 Texas A&M-CC 75

Nate Oats and Alabama entered the tournament with high hype and controversy. The de-facto favorites going into their first game, are also dealing with the looming murder charges against former player Darius Miles. These chargers also originally implicated star player Brandon Miller, who was reported to have brought the murder weapon to the scene for Miles without knowing why he was delivering it. Although Miller has now been cleared of all criminal charges, the potential NBA lottery pick was still affected by the recent events, as he put up zero points in the opener. Alabama still won relatively quickly, but that storyline was one to watch in the games to follow.

8 Maryland 67

9 West Virginia 65

The eight vs. nine seed games have not disappointed me in this tournament. This one opened the round of 64 and gave us our first one-possession game. West Virginia Coach Bob Huggins, or Huggy Bear as WVU fans affectionately call him, gave his team every chance to win, and the Mountaineers outshot Maryland from the foul line and beyond the arc in the game. However, the Terrapins out-paced their opponent on the night by staying out of foul trouble and hitting shots when needed. Maryland showed a balanced attack, with four players scoring in the double digits when it was all said and done. Next will be a tough test against Alabama in the round of 32.

5 San Diego St 63

12 Charleston 57

The Mountain West Conference has had horrible luck in the tournament as of late. Last year, every Mountain West representative was eliminated from the game in the first 10 hours of play, so San Diego State has to represent their league this time. Ultimately, the Aztecs did as they were expected to, taking out the College of Charleston by outrebounding and outshooting them. Basketball is a simple game; it usually depends on which team does those two things better. San Diego State guard Matt Bradley put up a game-high 17 points in his team's win and will look to take that momentum into the round of 32.

4 Virginia 67

13 Furman 68

Virginia is a school that must be hard to be a fan of. One year they're getting beat in the first ever one vs. 16 upset in tournament history, and the following year they're winning the whole thing. Unfortunately, this year resembles the former. The Furman Paladins did have a great game plan throughout; utilizing their knowledge that they were outmatched in both size and skill, they played small ball and forced Virginia to play the 3-point game. Unfortunately, the Cavaliers couldn't keep up. The Paladins drained 10 3's in the game to the Cavalier's 2, which was the difference. Let the tournament of upsets continue. Cav's fans have to hope that history repeats itself and they follow the early exit up with a title next year.

6 Creighton 72

11 NC State 63

Creighton and NC State entered the tournament with an identical record in the year, 23-12. Yet the committee did their homework and got the seeding right because this game wasn't close. The Blue Jays seemingly could do what they wanted under the basket, and the Wolfpack just had to take it and try to keep up on the other end. Once they strung together a few stops, Creighton had it in the bag. Big man Ryan Kalkbrenner put up one of the performances of the tournament, putting up 31 points, mainly from the post. They face Baylor, the defending champs, in the next round; maybe someone on the Bears can stop him.

3 Baylor 74

14 UCSB 56

UC Santa Barbara might have one of the most excellent logos in sports, but that's the only good thing they brought into this matchup against the defending champs. The Baylor Bears looked good in their first tournament game, but they still have a long way to go to reach the heights they reached two years ago. This win is the first step in a long journey to get it done. Bears Guard Adam Flagler put up a game-high 18 points in the success and will look to keep his strong play against Creighton.

7 Missouri 76

10 Utah State 65

The Missouri Tigers had an excellent opening performance, taking down the Aggies relatively quickly. The story in this one was the 3-ball, as the Tigers shot for over 40% on the game, knocking down ten before the final buzzer sounded. Missouri also played a very disciplined game, only sending the Aggies to the line 8 times through 40 minutes of play. Missouri will need this type of performance consistently if they hope to make any run in a stacked South Region.

2 Arizona 55

15 Princeton 59

Down goes number 2. We all should've seen this coming because every year, the team representing the Ivy League pulls off a first-round upset. We'll all have to take note of that for next year. But it wasn't just history repeating itself for the Tigers. They are a legitimately good basketball team. Princeton Forward Tosan Evbuomwan put up a game-high 15 points to go along with seven rebounds and four assists in a well-rounded effort that put his squad over the top. They will take on another team of Tigers in the round of 32, this one out of Missouri.

Round of 32

1 Alabama 73

8 Maryland 51

Nate Oats and his Crimson Tide are a three-and-D team through and through, which won them this matchup. They held Maryland to just 35% shooting from the floor and drained six threes to the Terrapin's 1 in the game. Brandon Miller performed much better in his second tournament game, putting up 19 points, only to be bested by his teammate Jahvon Quinerly, who put up 22. So far, so good for the tournament favorites, but heavy lay the crown, especially if that crown doesn't belong to you yet.

5 San Diego St 75

13 Furman 52

This game was an absolute route. The Aztecs were just plain better in all aspects of the game, rebounding, field goals, 3-pointers, free throws, and passing. Strangely enough, the only negative stat was the one more turnover they had than the Paladins, but you have to have the ball to give it away. And the Aztecs had it for most of the game. Micah Parrish scored a game-high 16 points off the bench for the Aztecs, who were able to showcase their depth due to the lopsided score. However, the next game will be more of a test as they look to take down the tournament favorite Alabama Crimson Tide in the Sweet 16.

6 Creighton 85

3 Baylor 76

The Baylor Bears just got straight-up outplayed in this one. There is no sugarcoating it. The Creighton Blue Jays squad went 22 for 22 from the free throw line, moved the ball to 14 assists, and shot 45 percent from beyond the arc. So if you're a Baylor fan, take comfort in knowing you just got straight upbeat, and think back to memories of your title two years ago because this year is over. Ryan Kalkbrenner followed up his standout performance in the first round with a pretty tame outing, but his teammate Ryan Nembhard took up the mantle and drained 30 points, showing that Creighton is far from a one-horse team.

7 Missouri 63

15 Princeton 78

We all knew the Tigers would win this one. Princeton showed why it's a smart bet on the Ivy League team in this tournament. Nerds run the world now, and we all have to deal with it. All jokes aside, Princeton sent a message in this one, proving that they were not just a fluke 15 seed but a legitimately talented ball club. Princeton's Caden Pierce put up a ferocious performance under the basket, snatching 16 rebounds and contributing to a team total of 44. Second-chance opportunities were also critical to the Princeton win, as 16 of those 44 rebounds were on the offensive end. We have a 15 seed in the Sweet 16, and they belong there by the way they have been playing.

Sweet 16

1 Alabama 64

5 San Diego St 71

San Diego State is working its hardest to redeem the reputation of the Mountain West Conference. After the shockingly disappointing performance by the conference in the 2022 tournament, the non-power five leagues now have a representative moving on to the Elite 8 and knocking off a one-seed on their way there. This tournament truly had lived up to the madness moniker, as there are now no one seeds left in the entire bracket. Unfortunately, Nate Oats and the Crimson Tide were off their game in this one as the typically excellent 3-point shooting squad went 3 for 27 from beyond the arc. In addition, Brandon Miller was ice-cold again and may have damaged his NBA Draft value more than it already was.

6 Creighton 86

15 Princeton 75

Creighton was too much for the Ivy Leaguers in this one, who were absolutely on fire shooting the basketball. The Blue Jays shot 58% from the field, including 9 3's, and Princeton couldn't keep up. Tiger's tournament standouts Tosab Evbuomwan and Ryan Langborg did their best to hold pace, combining for 50 of Princeton’s 75 points, but it ultimately wasn’t enough. Creighton’s big man Ryan Kalkbrenner was back in force here, dropping a team-high 22 points and helping the Blue Jays advance to the program's first Elite 8 since 1941.

Elite 8

5 San Diego St 57

6 Creighton 56

What a way to finish an Elite 8 matchup. The game had been back and forth throughout. Lead change after the lead change is precisely what we watch March Madness for. That is until the last play of the game, where the refs called a questionable foul on Creighton's Ryan Nembhard and gifted the Aztec's guard Darrion Trammell two free throws to win the game. Only one went in, but that was enough. This game deserved overtime, and we, as fans, were stripped of that. San Diego State is the first team from the Mountain West Conference to reach a Final Four. They will travel to Houston to take on the Cinderella story of the tournament, the nine-seed Florida Atlantic Owls. However, one team will make history and bring their program to the National Championship game for the first time. We will find out who that is on April 1st at 6:09 pm EST.

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