NCAA Basketball Tournament Predictions 2012: Picking the South Region

NEW ORLEANS, LA - MARCH 11: Anthony Davis #23 of the Kentucky Wildcats dunks on the Vanderbilt Commodores in the first half during the championship game of the 2012 SEC Men's Basketball Tournament at New Orleans Arena on March 11, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

It's time to start filling out your brackets. Here are the picks for the South Region, featuring the number one team in the land: the Kentucky Wildcats.

The NCAA Tournament committee has met in their secret room where they've got RPI statistics and unreleased copies of Star Wars on Bluray in it's original format (I assume,) and the brackets are set. You've printed them out, tried to sort through all the play-in games (how many teams are there now? 75?) and now it's time to make your picks. You don't want to lose to Margie in accounting again, do you?

Let's keep on truckin' with the South Region:

Play-in Game

Mississippi Valley State v. Western Kentucky: The Hilltoppers of W. Kentucky won 9 of their first 27 games and then six in a row to win the automatic berth for Sun Belt Conference. The Delta Devils of Mississippi Valley State started 1-11 and then went 17-1 in conference. Always pick the Devil. Miss Vall St.

The Round of 64

1. Kentucky v 16. Mississippi Valley State: Jerry Rice was a Delta Devil. That's pretty cool. Kentucky wins.

2. Duke v 15. Lehigh: The Mountain Hawks of Lehigh only lost by nine to Michigan State. They'll lose by more to Duke.

3. Baylor v 14. South Dakota State: The Baylor Bears started the season 17-0 before losing a few games in the middle of the year to Kansas and Missouri and finished 27-7. South Dakota State beat Washington by 19. They won't do the same to the Bears. Baylor.

4. Indiana v 13. New Mexico State: Tom Crean won eight conference games during his first three years at Indiana and then eleven this year. New Mexico State only had one win over an RPI top 130 team, but it was a good one over #26 New Mexico. The Hoosiers will be too much to handle.

5. Wichita State v 12. Virginia Commonwealth: The Shockers got a pretty favorable seed at five, and all they have to do is beat a team that made the Final Four last season. VCU might not be as strong as they were last year, but remember when everyone said the same thing about Butler in 2011? The Commonwealth weren't that bad this season. Kenpom has Wichita State at 10 and VCU at 46. I'll go with that and say Wichita State.

6. UNLV v 11. Colorado: The Buffs have almost no business here. They weren't strong during the regular season and then they won a Pac-12 tournament that only had one good team. I want to pick an upset soon, but this is too easy for UNLV, a team that had five top 60 wins. Runnin' Rebels.

7. Notre Dame v 10. Xavier: These teams are fairly evenly matched and I can't just go chalk on every game. Tu Holloway and Xavier.

8. Iowa State v 9. Connecticut: Iowa State beat two RPI top 10 teams and UCONN finished with a losing record in conference. Cyclones.

The Thoughtful 32

1. Kentucky v 8. Iowa State: The Cyclones beat Kansas and Baylor and twice beat Kansas State. I could see it, I could see it. I could see Iowa State giving the Wildcats a run for their money. I could see it. But no matter how many times I say "I could see it," it still wouldn't change the fact that Kentucky wins this game.

2. Duke v 10. Xavier: The Musketeers had a good season and beat some good teams. But the run ends against Duke.

3. Baylor v 6. UNLV: The Bears lost by 15 to Missouri in the Big 12 tournament, right after beating Kansas by nine. Which team shows up in the second round of the NCAA Tournament? The Rebels were very rebellious when they beat North Carolina by 10 on a "neutral" court way back in November. UNLV is 5-5 since Feb. 1 though. Da Bears.

4. Indiana v 5. Wichita State: Indiana hasn't made the Sweet 16 since 2002 when they lost in the final to Maryland. Wichita State has only made the tourney once since 1988, but they made the Sweet 16 in 2006. Since 1994, Indiana and Wichita State have the same amount of Sweet 16 appearances. And now Wichita State will have one more.

Sweet 16

1. Kentucky v 5. Wichita State: How many shockers can the Shockers pull off? Yeah, I went there. Kentucky is the number one team in college basketball. #1 in the tourney. #1 in RPI. #1 in Kenpom. And their only loss during the regular season was to Indiana, which is a re-match I just robbed you of. The Shockers push Kentucky to the very brink of elimination, but the Wildcats survive.

2. Duke v 3. Baylor: In non-conference play, the Blue Devils beat Michigan State, Michigan, Kansas, Washington, and Colorado State. The best non-conference run in the nation. The Bears last made the Elite Eight in 2010, only the third time in their history that they have advanced that far. The team they lost to? Duke. Sometimes you just gotta B-lieve. Bears.

Elite Eight

1. Kentucky v 3. Baylor: In his first season at Kentucky, John Calipari made the Elite Eight. In his second, he made the Final Four. The Wildcats have won seven national championships but this years team could compete with the teams of 1996-1998 that nearly won three straight titles. Sorry Bears.

South Winner:

Kentucky

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