This article is part of our NCAA Tournament Preview series.
The South is littered with legitimate title contenders with North Carolina, Kentucky, and UCLA comprising the top three seeds. To call this region top-heavy would be a misnomer, however, as teams like Minnesota (No. 5 seed), Cincinnati (No.6), Wichita State (No.10), and Middle Tennessee (No. 12) all rank in the top 35, according to RPI. The opening round in the South figures to be competitive as any we've seen in recent years, with several higher-seeded teams on upset watch. Buckle up, because some of the most entertaining basketball of the entire tournament is going to be coming out of this region.
Let's take a more in-depth look at the players, coaches and matchups that could impact the outcome of the South region
No. 1 North Carolina
Last year's national runners up have their sights set on another deep run this March thanks to coach Roy Williams and an experienced core. The Heels won the ACC's regular season title with a 14-4 record against conference foes, but were felled by Duke in the semifinals of the tournament. Offense is North Carolina's calling card as they rank fourth in the nation in KenPom's offensive efficiency at 122.1. Not only do the Heels feature stellar guard play from Joel Berry (14.8 ppg, 3.7 apg), but they can bully teams down low with the combination of Isaiah Hicks (5.7 rpg, 0.7 bpg) and Kennedy Meeks (9.1 rpg, 1.0 bpg). The biggest star on the