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NCAA tournament South Regional: 'Hawks eyed

Kansas draws the top seeding but heavyweights Georgetown, Florida and Michigan have set their sights high. Here's an overview of the region.

March 17, 2013|By Diane Pucin
  • Kansas guard Ben McLemore (23) backs down Texas Tech's Josh Gray during the quarterfinal game of the 2013 Men's Big 12 Championships.
Kansas guard Ben McLemore (23) backs down Texas Tech's Josh Gray during… (Jamie Squire / Getty Images )

Seeded teams

1 KANSAS: An embarrassing loss to Texas Christian was part of a three-game early February skid, but the Jayhawks righted their ship and finished by winning nine of 10.

2 GEORGETOWN: The Hoyas win with defense, but are also shooting an unusually-high-for-them 48% — 35% from three-point range.

3 FLORIDA: If the brackets play out as planned, the Gators could meet Georgetown in a regional final. The teams had their season opener canceled because of a wet playing surface on an aircraft carrier.

4 MICHIGAN: The Wolverines looked great early but stumbled late. Glenn Robinson II and Tim Hardaway Jr., sons of former NBA stars, are among the top performers.

Cinderella search

Oklahoma has a smart, veteran coach in Lon Kruger, who has taken Kansas State to a regional final and Florida to the Final Four in his career.

Top players

Trey Burke, guard, Michigan

he sophomore is second in the nation in assist (215) to turnover (63) ratio and was the Big Ten Conference player of the year, averaging 20.2 points and 6.4 assists in conference regular-season games.

Otto Porter, forward, Georgetown

The sophomore averages team bests of 16.3 points and 7.4 rebounds.

Nate Wolters, guard, South Dakota State

The 6-4 senior is among the nation’s leading scorers, averaging 22.7 points. He had 53 in a February win over Indiana Purdue Fort Wayne. He also averages 5.6 rebounds and 5.8 assists.

Rim shots

Interesting second-round match brewing: Florida knocked off two of Coach Ben Howland’s three UCLA Final Four teams, once in a final, the other in a semifinal.

Western Kentucky won the Sun Belt Conference with an unlikely run that included a three-point win in a quarterfinal and two-point wins in the semifinals and finals. This is the second straight NCAA appearance for the Hilltoppers under Coach Ray Harper, who took over in January of last year when the team had a record of 5-11.

Kansas has one of the nation’s top shot-blockers in 7-foot center Jeff Withey, who averages nearly four blocks per game. And he’s a terror altering shots when he doesn’t block them. He’s a big reason why Kansas opponents shoot just 36% — worst in the nation.

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