3 Teams That Could Give Kansas Trouble in South Region of NCAA Tournament

Andrew DoughtyCorrespondent IIMarch 17, 2013

3 Teams That Could Give Kansas Trouble in South Region of NCAA Tournament

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    The 2013 NCAA Tournament's South region is chucked full of curious storylines and plenty of tricky matchups for Kansas as they look for a return trip to the Final Four.

    The Jayhawks' path is blocked by the powers of North Carolina, Georgetown and Florida, but it might be a couple overlooked matchups that may give Bill Self's team trouble.

Villanova Wildcats

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    As everyone salivates over a potential Roy Williams vs. Kansas matchup in Kansas City, it would be foolish to overlook Villanova in a potential third-round game against the Jayhawks.

    The relatively inexperienced Wildcats tallied wins over Marquette, Georgetown, Syracuse and Louisville in building their tournament resume.

    If Villanova can generate reasonable offense, one that is ranked 262nd in the nation in field-goal percentage and scored 70-plus points only six times in conference play, they can exploit their relentless full-court defense.

    Elijah Johnson, Naadir Tharpe and the other KU guards have been inconsistent in breaking the press, maneuvering double-teams and anticipating cuts from their frontcourt.

    Bill Self's defense must defend Ryan Arcidiacano, James Bell and Darrun Hillard along the perimeter if they expect to avoid early on-ball pressure.

Michigan Wolverines

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    The Jayhawks struggled mightily last week against one of the nation's best point guards in Baylor's Pierre Jackson. The diminutive floor leader kept KU off balance, forced their bigs to drift away from the bucket and burned them on the perimeter with his arsenal of weapons.

    Michigan's Trey Burke can do all that, and more, with a greater arsenal of weapons.

    The Wolverines' sophomore point guard leads one of the nation's most dynamic offenses, one that ranks in the top 30 in scoring, field-goal percentage and three-point percentage.

    While Travis Releford leads the No. 1 defense in the nation, they do not match up particularly well with Michigan, a team that boasts a trio of lethal guards alongside one of the most versatile forwards in the country in Glenn Robinson III.

    Releford and KU must halt that reliable pick-and-roll, but remain careful in not allowing Burke and others to live untouched outside the arc.

VCU Rams

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    Kansas fans still have nightmares of VCU's Jamie Skeen and Brandon Rozzell burning them from deep in the 2011 Elite Eight.

    The good news? Both Skeen and Rozzell are gone. The bad news? Senior point guard Darius Theus leads an even better VCU team into the South region.

    He records 2.5 steals per game and an impressive 2.8 assist-to-turnover ratio while leading the nation's 11th-ranked scoring offense.

    The Rams also lead the nation in turnover margin at plus-8.0, something unnerving for the turnover-prone Jayhawks.

    If Shaka Smart's squad is able to hold off an upstart Akron team and upset Michigan, Elijah Johnson and Kansas could be facing a tricky Sweet 16 matchup in Dallas.

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