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South Region Bracket Predictions

2009 NCAA Tournament

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The fortunes of the top teams in the South region rose and fell with a couple of key body parts. North Carolina made an early exit from the ACC Tournament when point guard and ACC Player of the Year Ty Lawson hurt his toe. Oklahoma dropped from the top spot in the Big 12 when Blake Griffin missed time due to a concussion. For the purposes of this analysis, we're assuming that Lawson's toe and Griffin's head are at 100 percent.

Most Intriguing First-Round Matchup

The Clemson/Michigan matchup in the 7/10 game should make for an interesting clash of styles. Clemson likes to get out and run; the Wolverines play a disciplined 1-3-1 zone and, when they're hitting from outside, can be very tough to beat. As they say in boxing, "Styles make fights." Same goes for the NCAA Tournament.

Upset Potential

Western Kentucky over Illinois would be an upset because of the seeds -- but probably wouldn't surprise too many college basketball fans. The Hilltoppers were a Sweet Sixteen team just last season -- and one of Illinois' key players, guard Chester Frazier -- missed the Big 10 Tournament with a hand injury that required surgery.

The Regional Final

Oklahoma vs. North Carolina could be one for the ages. Blake Griffin, with his athleticism, would have a big advantage over Tyler Hansbrough, but Carolina -- with Lawson and Wayne Ellington -- would have a similar edge in the backcourt. The 'Heels haven't been as good this year as I expected -- they've really missed the defensive presence of Marcus Ginyard -- but I think their depth gets them past the Sooners.

More NCAA Tournament Predictions

South Region Predictions

Round 1Round 2Sweet 16Elite Eight
1UNC
16RadfordUNC
8LSUButler
9ButlerUNC
5IllinoisGonzaga
12Western KentuckyWestern Kentucky
4GonzagaGonzaga
13AkronUNC
6Arizona StateOklahoma
11TempleArizona State
3SyracuseSyracuse
14Stephen F. AustinSyracuse
7ClemsonOklahoma
10MichiganMichigan
2OklahomaOklahoma
15Morgan State
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