NCAA South Region capsules

San Francisco Chronicle - 1. Kansas 

The headliner: G Ben McLemore, first-team All-Big 12

The story: The Jayhawks rank first in the nation in field-goal percentage defense, and having Jeff Withey corrects a lot of mistakes. They have plenty of talent, especially McLemore, but a loss to TCU and a 23-point loss to Baylor are inexplicable.

2. Georgetown 

The headliner: F Otto Porter Jr., All-America caliber

The story: The Hoyas were outstanding late in the season, and they may be the best defensive team in the nation. They don't score a lot of points, though, and that kind of team typically does not fare well in the postseason. 

3. Florida 

The headliner: F Erik Murphy, first-team All-SEC

The story: The Gators, who rely on defense, won the regular-season Southeastern Conference title, but they are not playing as well as they did earlier in the season, when they started 18-2 and were ranked No. 2. They lost four of their last nine games and were 0-3 on the road in that stretch.

4. Michigan 

The headliner: G Trey Burke, Big Ten Player of the Year

The story: An excellent array of versatile guards and shooters make the Wolverines a contender, especially with Burke capable of winning a game by himself. The frontcourt is a question. 

5. Virginia Commonwealth 

The headliner: Coach Shaka Smart, Final Four in 2011

The story: The Rams, who finished their first season in the Atlantic-10, are nearly as good as their 2011 version. They have no stars but boast a bunch of good players, with four averaging in double figures in scoring. 

6. UCLA 

The headliner: G Shabazz Muhammad, outstanding freshman scorer

The story: The erratic Bruins can beat anyone or lose to anyone, but with their offensive firepower and a capable point guard in Larry Drew II, no one wants to face them. The loss of Jordan Adams hurts a team that already had depth issues. 

7. San Diego State 

The headliner: G Jamaal Franklin, 2012 conference Player of the Year

The story: The Aztecs are not as strong as they were last season. But Franklin is still capable of taking over games, and they still play excellent defense, which makes them a concern for any opponent. 

8. North Carolina 

The headliner: F James Michael McAdoo, athletic big man

The story: The Tar Heels have played much better since Roy Williams went to a smaller lineup. They certainly have enough talent to beat virtually anyone, and they score plenty of points. But their defense has been spotty. 

9. Villanova 

The headliner: F JayVaughn Pinkston, team's top scorer

The story: The Wildcats have wins over Georgetown, Louisville, Marquette and Syracuse, but have losses to Columbia and Seton Hall (3-15 in the Big East). They rely on defense and balanced scoring, but their shooting percentage is poor, and they commit a lot of turnovers. 

10. Oklahoma 

The headliner: F Romero Osby, team's top scorer, rebounder

The story: This is the fifth school coach Lon Kruger has taken to the NCAA Tournament, and he got Florida to the Final Four. Osby is a tough, consistent player, and the Sooners have wins over Kansas and Oklahoma State, albeit at home.

11. Minnesota 

The headliner: G Andre Hollins, team's leading scorer

The story: The 15-1 start and the late-season upset of Indiana were impressive, but the Gophers looked ordinary in between. Having two starting guards with similar numbers named Hollins (Austin is the other) adds to opponents' confusion for Minnesota, which is a good rebounding team. 

12. Akron 

The headliner: C Zeke Marshall, first-team all-MAC

The story: The Zips' promising season seemed doomed a week ago when starting point guard Alex Abreu was suspended following a drug arrest. But they rebounded to win the Mid-American Conference tournament. The 7-foot Marshall is one of the nation's best shot-blockers.

13. South Dakota State 

The headliner: G Nate Wolters, Summit Conference Player of the Year

The story: Wolters is fourth in the nation in scoring (22.7 points per game) and has carried the Jackrabbits, who are in the tournament for the second straight season. They beat New Mexico in Albuquerque this season, which is hard to do.

14. Northwestern State 

The headliner: G DeQuan Hicks, second-team all-Southland

The story: Northwestern State, which is located in Natchitoches, La., is the No. 1 scoring team in the country. The Southland tournament champs try to overwhelm you with numbers, with 10 players averaging more than 15 minutes a game. The Demons stunned No. 3 seed Iowa in 2006.

15. Florida Gulf Coast 

The headliner: G Sherwood Brown, Atlantic Sun Player of the Year

The story: The Eagles' early season 12-point win over Miami was an eye-opener. They are making their first NCAA Tournament appearance in just their second year of Division I postseason eligibility and sixth year as a Division I program.

16. Western Kentucky 

The headliner: G T.J. Price, second-team all-conference

The story: The Hilltoppers finished 10-10 in Sun Belt Conference play, but won seven of their last eight games and have won at least one game in each of their past three NCAA appearances (2008, 2009, 2012). 

(Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service, shns.com.)

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