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Who are the dark horses and sleepers in South Region of 2023 March Madness?

We take a look at who might emerge from the lower part of the bracket in the South Region on the way to the Final Four.

Creighton v Seton Hall Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

The 2023 NCAA Tournament First Round begins on Thursday, March 16 with a buffet of college basketball action starting at noon ET and lasting through the night. Before the games start, we’ll take a look at one darkhorse and sleeper option from the South Region.

March Madness 2023: South Region

Sleeper: Creighton Bluejays

Creighton was a trendy pick to make the Final Four before the season started. However, the Bluejays got off to a rough start after a difficult schedule, injuries, and inconsistent play overwhelmed them. However, Creighton put it together in the back half of the season, winning 12 of its last 15 games.

You could argue that the Bluejays aren’t your average 6-seed, as they are starting to live up to those preseason expectations. Center Ryan Kalkbrenner leads the team with 15.4 points per game, but Creighton owns a balanced offensive attack while also ranking No. 15 in adjusted defensive efficiency this season.

Darkhorse: West Virginia

West Virginia checks in as the No. 9 seed in the South Region, and it will face No. 8 Maryland in the first round. The winner of the game will go up against No. 1 overall seed Alabama. That’s a difficult road, but West Virginia won’t be phased by the step up in competition. After all, the Mountaineers had the fifth toughest schedule (according to this season while beating notable teams like Pittsburgh, Kansas State, Iowa State, and TCU. They nearly knocked off Kansas on the road too, losing by only a bucket.

Coach Bob Huggins knows what it takes to survive and advance in the Big Dance. Led by All-Big 12 Third Team member, Erik Stevenson, this is a battle-tested West Virginia team that won’t be afraid of the moment while bringing its physical brand of basketball to the NCAA Tournament.