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NCAA Tournament South region preview: One favorite, one sleeper, one dark horse

We run down through the full list of odds for each team in the South region and pick our favorite, sleeper, and dark horse to make the Final Four.

NCAA Basketball: Big 12 Conference Tournament-Kansas State vs Baylor Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

The South region of the NCAA Tournament is a gauntlet for of solid teams, so a Cinderella story coming out of this spot appears less likely.

Still we’ve got a favorite, a sleeper and a dark horse team to look out for here, even though the favorite will probably still run away with it in the end.

Favorite: Baylor Bears

Baylor was the No. 2 team in the nation for the vast majority of the season and only lost one regular-season game this year. It came as a bit of a shock to everybody that they didn’t claim the Big 12 Tournament title, bowing out in the second round to Cade Cunningham and Oklahoma State. Still that one slip-up isn’t indicative of the way this team will play in the NCAA Tournament.

The Bears come into the Round of 64 ranked as KenPom’s fourth-best team in the nation, with the third-best offensive efficiency. Jared Butler and MaCio Teague are both scoring over 16 points per contest. The bracket is favorable to them as well. If all things fall as they should, their biggest test to reach the Final Four will be Ohio State. This is the safest bet coming out of the South.

Sleeper: Arkansas

The third-seeded Arkansas Razorbacks come into the NCAA Tournament as KenPom’s 18th best team in the nation, but don’t be shocked if they go on a bit of a run. Their odds currently sit at +600 to make the Final Four, so you definitely won’t be tossing money away if you decide to rock with them.

They finished the season ranked in the top-10 and have the 14th-best defense in the nation, according to KenPom. That stingy defense will help them in big-matchup games against the likes of Texas Tech or Ohio State if they reach the Sweet 16.

Dark Horse: Florida

The Florida Gators have shown the ability to knock off big teams this season, but they’ve also shown that they can lose to just about anybody too. Surprising losses to teams like South Carolina are a big reason why this UF team is sitting at +1800 to make the Final Four.

It will no doubt be tough for them to make it out of the south unscathed, but they have reason to be optimistic. KenPom has them in the top-40 offense and defense in terms of efficiency, which is impressive. With Keyontae Johnson out after a horrifying collapse early in the season, Tre Mann has stepped up and is averaging 16 points per game for the Gators.

But this is clearly Baylor’s region to lose.

Odds to reach 2021 Elite Eight, Final Four — South region

Team Make Elite 8 Miss Elite 8 Make Final 4
Team Make Elite 8 Miss Elite 8 Make Final 4
Baylor -157 +125 -134
Ohio State +130 -162 +400
Texas Tech +400 -560 +600
Arkansas +425 -625 +800
Wisconsin +750 -1430 +1000
North Carolina +1200 -5000 +1150
Villanova +675 -1115 +1150
Purdue +550 -910 +1400
Florida +1100 -3335 +1800
Utah State +1450 -5000 +1800
Virginia Tech +1200 -5000 +3000
Colgate +2000 -10000 +6000
North Texas +5000 -10000 +8000
Oral Roberts +5000 -10000 +10000
Winthrop +3000 -10000 +10000
Hartford +5000 -10000 +15000

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