A few of college basketball's blue bloods are set to compete in the South Region of the 2013 NCAA tournament, with Kansas, North Carolina and UCLA all landing in the same corner of the bracket.
Kansas has the No. 1 seed after sharing the Big 12 regular season title and winning the conference tournament. Georgetown is the second-seeded team and will be looking forward to a potential meeting with the Jayhawks in the Elite Eight.
The rest of the seeds have no intention of going down without a fight, and there are potential Cinderallas in this region. Here is a complete guide to all the action in the South.
Opening Round Schedule
Thursday, March 21
No. 5 VCU vs. No. 12 Akron
No. 4 Michigan vs. No. 13 South Dakota State
Friday, March 22
No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 16 Western Kentucky
No. 8 North Carolina vs. No. 9 Villanova
No. 6 UCLA vs. No. 11 Minnesota
No. 3 Florida vs. No. 14 Northwestern State
No. 7 San Diego State vs. No. 10 Oklahoma
No. 2 Georgetown vs. No. 15 Florida Gulf Coast
Best Matchup in Round of 64
It is a tough choice with a few tasty matchups, but the can't-miss contest in the opening round will be UCLA vs. Minnesota.
The Bruins brought in a monster recruiting class, but will be without one of their star freshmen after Jordan Adams broke his foot in the Pac-12 Tournament, according to Jason King of ESPN.com. This makes Ben Howland's team vulnerable.
UCLA will be looking to find a way to replace Adams' offensive talents, but its bigger worry may be Minnesota senior forward Trevor Mbakwe. He is an exceptional athlete and a monster on the boards, averaging 8.7 rebounds per game.
If Mbakwe controls the paint, the Golden Gophers will have an excellent chance to pull off an upset in what should be a wildly entertaining game.
Four Stars to Watch
Ben McLemore, Kansas
There is a ridiculous amount of star power in the South, but there is no player with more potential than McLemore.
The freshman guard is currently on top of ESPN draft guru Chad Ford's big board (membership required) and he is averaging 16.4 points per game this season. But stats from the regular season don't matter, and he will have to step up in the tournament.
Relying heavily on a freshman is not ideal for teams in the NCAA Tournament. Although this is a slight worry for Kansas, it has the luxury of counting on the best freshman in the country.
McLemore has infinite talent, and he is about to be on the biggest stage of his career.
Otto Porter, Georgetown
Porter has done it all for the Hoyas this season.
He has been a beast on the low block and a nightmare for opposing teams due to his midrange game. He also plays on both ends of the court and is a quality defender.
The 6'8" sophomore forward is putting up 16.3 points and 7.4 rebounds per game while shooting 48.9 percent from the field and 42.7 percent from three-point range.
Georgetown's lofty tournament hopes rest squarely on his shoulders.
Trey Burke, Michigan
When the Michigan offense gets going, it is truly enjoyable to watch.
The fast-paced Wolverines are capable of producing eye-popping highlights, and that all starts with Burke. He has an excellent shot to win the Wooden Award this year after averaging 19.2 points and 6.7 assists.
He is the perfect player for John Beilein's offense, and the Wolverines will be counting on an incredible performance from him in the tournament.
Michigan did not end the season on a high note, and Burke will be looking to turn things around right away. Watch out, South Dakota State.
Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA
McLemore isn't the only uber-talented freshman in this region.
Muhammad is another player projected to be picked early in the upcoming NBA draft, and he will shoulder a massive amount of responsibility in UCLA's tournament run.
The Bruins will sorely miss Adams, and Muhammad will have to make up most of the points the team is losing with him on the sidelines.
But the freshman forward is an incredible offensive talent, and he is certainly capable of huge scoring nights.
Favorites on Upset Alert
UCLA's worries have already been mentioned, and this team is certainly in danger of going down to Minnesota.
The other favorite that needs to take its first-round matchup extremely seriously is No. 4 Michigan. South Dakota State senior guard Nate Wolters is an incredible scorer, and the Wolverines cannot afford to sleep on this matchup.
Wolters is averaging 22.7 points per game, and if he gets in rhythm early, Michigan may end up going home after the round of 64 for the second year in a row.
Cinderella Story Waiting to Happen
South Dakota State certainly has the ability to surprise plenty of people this year, but the other team capable of going on a Cinderella run is Villanova.
Jay Wright's team was frustratingly inconsistent this season, but when it showed up, the team was extremely impressive.
The team had a mediocre 10-8 record in the Big East, but four of those wins came against Louisville, Syracuse, Marquette and Georgetown. If the Wildcats get past North Carolina in the round of 64, Kansas needs to be careful.
Dark-Horse Teams Ready to Make a Run
Both South Dakota State and Villanova fall into this category, and the last team that could be easily overlooked but has the ability to make a run is San Diego State.
A star scorer is a huge asset in the tournament, and the Aztecs have one in Jamaal Franklin. The 6'5" junior guard is averaging 16.7 points per game and 9.5 rebounds.
If he gets hot, San Diego State is a dangerous team.
Teams That Will Crack the Sweet 16
No. 1 Kansas
The Jayhawks have star power and get it done on both ends of the floor. No one is stopping them before the Sweet 16.
No. 5 VCU
The VCU vs. Michigan game will be an incredible contest to watch that will feature plenty of points. But in the end, Shaka Smart will have something up his sleeve to get through to the Sweet 16.
No. 3 Florida
Even after losing to Ole Miss in the SEC title game, this team has experience and an extremely good coach in Billy Donovan. Do not count them out.
No. 2 Georgetown
This team is too talented to lose after getting a favorable draw. Sometimes, it's as simple as that.
Dream Elite Eight Matchup We'd Love to See
A matchup between Florida and Kansas would feature a chess match between two of the best basketball minds in college basketball. Donovan and Bill Self are incredibly accomplished, and this would be a fantastic game.
Florida is extremely balanced, but Kansas has the advantage in star power. Put these two teams on the court with a trip to the Final Four on the line, and they will produce a fantastic game.
Who Will Earn Berth to Final Four?
Picking upsets is always fun, but it simply wouldn't be smart to go against the Jayhawks. Jeff Withey is the premier defensive force in college basketball, and McLemore is an incredible player. Kansas will not fall victim to an upset against any of the teams in the South Region.
Projected National Champion
The one team from the South that has looked like a national champion at times during the regular season is Kansas. There was one terrible stretch that produced a three-game losing streak, but the Jayhawks are back on track and ready to compete for a title.