SOUTH REGION BREAKDOWN


FIRST-ROUND GAMES

Thursday at Providence, R.I.

2. Villanova vs. 15. Robert Morris

7. Richmond vs. 10. Saint Mary's

Thursday at New Orleans

3. Baylor vs. 14. Sam Houston State

6. Notre Dame vs. 11. Old Dominion

Friday at Jacksonville, Fla.

1. Duke vs. 16. Arkansas-Pine Bluff/Winthrop play-in winner

8. California vs. 9. Louisville

Friday at Spokane, Wash.

4. Purdue vs. 13. Siena

5. Texas A&M vs. 12. Utah State

THE PARTICULARS

MOST OVERSEEDED: Notre Dame. The Irish closed with a flourish, but this is a team that still lost 11 games. The Irish, whose RPI is 49th, struggled away from home and have three losses to teams ranked lower than 100th in the RPI. Their hot close -- they have five top-50 wins, and four came in the final three weeks of the season -- got them a No. 6 seed. They should've been a spot or two lower.

MOST UNDERSEEDED: Richmond. The Spiders, whose RPI is 25th, also have five top-50 wins. They also enjoyed neutral-court wins over Florida and Mississippi State. They had no "bad" losses. Richmond was 12-7 away from home. They got a No. 7 seed, but should've been a No. 6.

BEST PLAYER: Villanova guard Scottie Reynolds. Reynolds was a national player of the year candidate until the Wildcats slumped down the stretch. No matter: Reynolds is a big-timer. He is quick, has good range and is fearless going to the basket.

FIVE OTHERS TO WATCH: Notre Dame forward Luke Harangody, California guard Jerome Randle, Louisville forward Samardo Samuels, Duke guard Jon Scheyer, Duke forward Kyle Singler.

BEST PLAYER YOU'VE NEVER HEARD OF: Richmond guard Kevin Anderson. Richmond has one of the nation's most productive backcourts, and Anderson is the major reason. He is the Spiders' leading scorer and is deadly from the line. He has good range, plays solid defense and also is a good passer.

FIVE OTHERS TO WATCH: Sam Houston State guard Corey Allmond, Siena forward Alex Franklin, Richmond guard David Gonzalvez, Old Dominion forward Gerald Lee, Saint Mary's center Omar Samhan.

NUMBERS GAME: There are eight conference tournament champions in the region -- Arkansas-Pine Bluff (SWAC), Duke (ACC), Old Dominion (Colonial), Robert Morris (Northeast), Saint Mary's (West Coast), Sam Houston State (Southland), Siena (Metro Atlantic Athletic) and Winthrop (Big South).

BEST FIRST-ROUND MATCHUPS: The 7-10 matchup is a good one. Saint Mary's has center Omar Samhan, but Richmond has a big-time backcourt. The 4-13 and 5-12 matchups are good, too. Siena has won in the first round in each of the past two seasons, including as a 13 seed in 2008. The veteran-laden Saints meet a Purdue team still wobbling from the injury loss of Robbie Hummel. No. 5 seed Texas A&M is a defense-minded team, but that won't bother Utah State. Utah State has trouble with athletic teams that want to run, but that's not A&M. Utah State is tremendous from 3-point range (41.9 percent). If its shots are falling, so will A&M.

THE BUZZ: There are 347 teams in Division I and Winthrop is No. 337 in field-goal percentage, at 38.3 percent. They are last – as in 347th – in 3-point field-goal percentage at 25.5 percent. … This is the 11th No. 1 seed for Duke, second-most all-time to North Carolina's 13. Kentucky is third with 10 and Kansas fourth with nine. … This is Richmond's first appearance since 2004, when Jerry Wainwright was coach. The Spiders have made seven appearances and won six games. … Siena's Ronald Moore leads the nation in assists at 7.8 per game. … Cal's Jerome Randle is 130 of 139 from the line and second in the nation in free-throw percentage at 93.5. … Sam Houston State's leading scorer is junior forward Gilberto Clavell, a junior college transfer who is a former member of the Puerto Rican National Team. .. Saint Mary's guard Mickey McConnell leads the nation in 3-point field-goal percentage at 51.1 (67 of 131). … Texas A&M senior forward Bryan Davis has been called for four technical fouls, most in the nation. … This is the 15th anniversary season of Old Dominion's last NCAA Tournament win. The 14th-seeded Monarchs, behind a huge game from Petey Sessoms, shocked No. 3 seed Villanova 89-81 in three overtimes. … This is the second NCAA appearance in three seasons and just the sixth ever for Baylor.

MIKE HUGUENIN/RIVALS.COM

 

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