Upset Alert: Teams to Fade from South Region (2022 March Madness)

Mar 16, 2022 - 3:58 PM

March Madness is back with the NCAA Tournament tipping-off Thursday. If you are reading this, you are probably in an office, family, or betting pool for this year’s festivities and are actively trying to avoid some of the early-exit bracket busters.

Below, I walk through two teams to fade in the South region to help you gain an edge in your pool.

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Villanova (2 seed)

Villanova will be on upset watch during the first weekend as they have a tough draw on their side of the bracket. Assuming they beat 15-seed Delaware, Villanova will have to face the Ohio State/Loyola Chicago winner.

I think that Loyola Chicago will take care of business against Ohio State and create a tough matchup for Villanova due to their incredible defense. This season, Loyola Chicago ranks 22nd in the nation in adjusted defensive efficiency.

However, even if Villanova gets past the Second Round, I think that their ceiling is the Sweet Sixteen as they will most likely go up against the under-seeded Tennessee Volunteers.

The committee messed up the Tennessee seed as they should have easily been a 2-seed. This season, Tennessee boasts one of the best defenses in all of college basketball as they rank third in the country in adjusted defensive efficiency.

Outside of Murray State, there may not be a hotter team in this tournament than Tennessee. The Volunteers have won 12 of their last 13 games in a tough SEC. Tennessee has beaten Kentucky twice in that stretch, and Auburn, two teams that most agree, are better than Villanova this year.

Illinois (4 seed)

Illinois features one of the best big men in the country in Kofi Cockburn and will look to rebound after last year’s early exit. However, I do not see how they will succeed better as they do not have guard Ayo Dosunmu, who now plays for the Chicago Bulls.

After last season’s early exit, Illinois needed an easy draw to gain some confidence in the post-season. However, that is not what they got in the South region. Assuming they beat Chattanooga in the first round, they will most likely match up against Houston in the second round and see their tournament end once again before the Sweet Sixteen.

Houston is easily the best non-top four seed in the tournament and should take care of business against Illinois. This season, Houston has one of the best two-way teams in the nation as they rank 10th in adjusted offensive efficiency and 11th in adjusted defensive efficiency.

Houston ranks higher in both metrics than Illinois, ranking 23rd and 31st in those categories. These teams are also trending in opposite directions as Illinois is just 4-4 over their last eight games while Houston is 9-1 over their last 10.

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Tony Sartori is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Tony, check out his archive and follow him @tony_sartori.

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