Whichever team reaches the Final Four out of this group should be extremely pleased with themselves because the South Region is loaded at the top. Three of the top seven teams with the best chance to win the national title come from this part of the bracket according to the most recent odds from DraftKings Sportsbook.
Thursday night’s South Region games will get started at 7:29 p.m. ET when the No. 2 Villanova Wildcats take on the No. 11 Michigan Wolverines. That is followed by the No. 1 Arizona Wildcats playing the No. 5 Houston Cougars at approximately 9:59 p.m. ET. Both games will be played from the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas and will air on TBS.
Point spread: Arizona -1.5
Moneyline: Arizona -125, Houston +105
Arizona (33-3) is very fortunate to be in this spot after needing overtime to beat the No. 9 seed TCU Horned Frogs 85-80 in the second round. The Wildcats did not have the same issues with the No. 16 seed Wright State Raiders in Round 1 with an 87-70 win. Tommy Lloyd has done an incredible job in Year 1 with Arizona and has his team in position to make a run at a championship. Point guard Kerr Kriisa returned from an ankle injury against TCU, but he was ineffective off the bench. A few more days to heal could be beneficial for this offense.
Houston (31-5) knocked off the No. 12 seed UAB Blazers in Round 1 with a score of 82-68 and pulled away from the No. 4 seed Illinois Fighting Illini 68-53 in the second round to get back to the Sweet 16. The Cougars played most of the season without two of their top players Tramon Mark and Marcus Sasser, but head coach Kelvin Sampson has done an incredible job keeping his team operating at a high level. The metrics love Houston as KenPom has this team rated as the second best team in the country.
Point spread: Villanova -5
Moneyline: Villanova -210, Michigan +175
Villanova (28-7) crushed the No. 15 seed Delaware Fightin’ Blue Hens 80-60 in Round 1, and the Wildcats advanced to the Sweet 16 after pulling away from the No. 7 seed Ohio State Buckeyes in the final minutes for a 71-61 second round victory. Villanova has not lost in March, and their biggest strength comes on the offensive end where they’re rated No. 8 in KenPom’s adjusted efficiency. The Wildcats play among the slowest offenses in the country as they check in at No. 345 nationally in adjusted tempo.
Michigan (19-14) is the only team outside of the top five seeds in action on Thursday night as they upset the No. 3 seed Tennessee Volunteers 76-68. That victory came after eliminating the No. 6 seed Colorado State Rams 75-63, erasing a 15-point deficit. The Wolverines came close to missing the NCAA Tournament but increased their streak to five straight Sweet 16 appearances behind an offense rated inside the top 20 in adjusted efficiency. DeVante’ Jones returned from injury but sat out the second half against Tennessee, so check injury reports prior to game time.
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