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2019 NCAA Tournament South region breakdown: Virginia, Villanova vying for Final Four spot

A team-by-team analysis of the South region.

Virginia's De'Andre Hunter is a Friends' Central alum.
Virginia's De'Andre Hunter is a Friends' Central alum.Read moreGerry Broome / AP

To make a return to the Final Four, 6 seed Villanova will, barring an upset, need to get past No. 1 Virginia (although, as we saw last year, that upset is very much possible).

But to make it to the second weekend of NCAA Tournament play, the Wildcats need to beat St. Mary’s then either Purdue or Old Dominion. After that, it’s on to Louisville for the Sweet 16.

Check out the team-by-team breakdown of the South region.

BREAKDOWNS: East region | West region | Midwest region

Get a printable bracket here.

1. Virginia Cavaliers

Record: 29-3, 16-2 ACC, tied for 1st. NET: 2.

Coach: Tony Bennett (13th season, 316-121; 247-88 in 10 seasons at Virginia, 10-8 NCAA).

Best win: 69-61 vs. North Carolina, Feb. 11

Worst loss: 72-70 vs. Duke, Jan. 19

Three-pointers: 41.5 percent. Free throws: 74.6 percent.

TOP THREE: G Kyle Guy, 6-2, Jr.: 15.3 ppg.; G De’Andre Hunter, 6-7, R-So.: 15.2 ppg.; G Ty Jerome, 6-5, Jr.: 13.5 ppg., 5.3 apg.


The Cavaliers are seeking redemption after last year, when they became the first No. 1 seed to lose to a 16 (UMBC) since the field was expanded to 64 teams in 1985. … They led the nation in points allowed, a 54.6 average, and limited opponents to 37.4 percent shooting. … Hunter, a graduate of Friends’ Central, is third in the ACC in field-goal percentage at 53.3.

16. Gardner-Webb Bulldogs

Record: 23-11, 11-6 Big South, T-3rd place. NET: 185

Coach: Tim Craft (6th season, 111-89, 0-0 NCAA)

Best win: 76-65 vs. Radford, March 10

Worst loss: 87-59 vs. Virginia Tech, Nov. 9

Three-pointers: 39.1 percent. Free throws: 71.1 percent.

TOP THREE: G David Efianayi, 6-2, RSr.: 18.3 ppg., 2.9 apg.; G/F Jose Perez, 6-5, Fr.: 15.0 ppg., 5.8 rpg.; F DJ Laster, 6-6, Sr.: 13.7 ppg., 5.5 rpg.


Laster scored a career-high 32 points to beat Radford in the Big South Tournament championship, giving the Runnin’ Bulldogs their first NCAA Tournament appearance. Gardner-Webb defeated top-seeded Campbell, 79-74, in the semifinal.

8. Mississippi Rebels

Record: 20-12, 10-8 Southeastern Conference, tied for 4th. NET: 35.

Coach: Kermit Davis (21 years, 423-249, 20-11 in one year at Mississippi, 2-5 NCAA).

Best win: 81-77 vs. Mississippi State, Jan. 12.

Worst loss: 79-64 vs. South Carolina, Feb. 19.

Three-pointers: 36.1 percent. Free throws: 78.5 percent.

TOP THREE: G Breein Tyree, 6-2, Jr.: 18.5 ppg., 3.0 rpg.; G Terence Davis, 6-4, Sr.: 15.5 ppg., 5.8 rpg.; G Devontae Shuler, 6-2, So.: 10.1 ppg., 4.1 rpg.


The Rebels are led by Tyree, who ranks second the conference in points per game with 18.5. He has scored in double figures in all but three games this season.

9. Oklahoma Sooners

Record: 19-13, 7-11 Big 12, tied for seventh. NET: 40.

Coach: Lon Kruger (33rd season, 638-407, 159-103 in eight seasons at Oklahoma, 20-18 NCAA).

Best win: 81-68 vs. Kansas, March 5.

Worst loss: 77-47 vs. Baylor, Jan. 28.

Three-pointers: 34.2 percent. Free throws: 68.8 percent.

TOP THREE: F Kristian Doolittle, 6-7, Jr.: 11.0 ppg., 6.9 rpg.; G Christian James, 6-4, Sr.: 14.5 ppg., 6.4 rpg.; F Brady Manek, 6-9, So.: 11.7 ppg., 6.1 rpg.


Doolittle and James were third-team all-Big 12 selections. … The Sooners began 3-9 in the Big 12 but rebounded to go 4-2 in their final six conference games. … Oklahoma is the only school in the country with a win over a team from every major conference (Power Five and Big East). … The Sooners were last in the Big 12 during the regular season in assists, averaging 12.7 per game.

5. Wisconsin Badgers

Record: 23-10, 14-6 Big Ten, 4th. NET: 15.

Coach: Greg Gard (Fourth season, 79-45, all at Wisconsin, 4-2 NCAA).

Best win: 64-54 vs. Michigan, Jan. 19.

Worst loss: 83-76 vs. Western Kentucky, Dec. 29.

Three-pointers: 37.4 percent. Free throws: 64.6 percent.

TOP THREE: F Ethan Happ, 6-10, R-Sr.: 17.8 ppg., 10.4 rpg., 4.7 apg.; G Mitrik Trice, 6-0, R-So.: 11.9 ppg.; G Brad Davison, 6-3, So., 10.9 ppg.


The Badgers lock down opponents at the defensive end as their 61.0 average in points allowed (seventh in the nation) and 39.2 percent field-goal defense (10th in the nation) would indicate. … Happ is tied for third in Division I with 21 double-doubles but his Achilles’ heel is free-throw shooting, where he hits just 46.8 of his attempts.

12. Oregon Ducks

Record: 23-12, 8-10 Pacific-12 Conference, tied for fourth place. NET: 51

Coach: Dana Altman (30th season, 643-338; 233-95 in nine seasons at Oregon, 13-13 NCAA)

Best win: 80-65 vs. Syracuse, Nov. 16

Worst loss: 89-84 vs. Texas Southern, Nov. 26

Three-pointers: 34.3 percent. Free throws: 71.9 percent

TOP THREE: F Louis King, 6-9, Fr.: 13.1 ppg, 5.7 rpg; G Payton Pritchard, 6-2, Jr.: 12.7 ppg, 4.5 apg; F Paul White, 6-9, Sr.: 10.6 ppg, 3.9 rpg


The Ducks’ defense turned it up a notch in the Pac-12 tournament, allowing 57 ppg and just 48 points to Washington in the title game, setting a tournament record.

4. Kansas State Wildcats

Record: 25-8, 14-4 Big 12, tied for first. NET: 24.

Coach: Bruce Weber (21st season, 462-242; 149-87 in seven seasons at Kansas State, 15-12 NCAA).

Best win: 58-45 vs. Texas Tech, Jan. 22.

Worst loss: 47-46 at Tulsa, Dec. 8.

Three-pointers: 33.8 percent. Free throws: 66.2 percent.

TOP THREE: G Barry Brown Jr., 6-3, Sr.: 15.1 ppg., 4.1 rpg., 2.0 spg.; F Dean Wade, 6-10, Sr.: 12.9 ppg., 6.2 rpg.; F Xavier Sneed, 6-5, Jr.: 10.3 ppg., 5.4 rpg.


Brown was named the Big 12 defensive player of the year and a first-team all-Big 12 selection. … Wade is the only repeat first-team all-conference performer. … The Wildcats won a share of the title despite being last in free-throw shooting percentage and ninth in three-point percentage. .. KSU was second in scoring defense, allowing 59.1 ppg. … Senior guard Kamu Stokes averaged 10.8 points.

13. UC-Irvine Anteaters

Record: 30-5, 15-1 Big West, 1st. NET: 73.

Coach: Russell Turner (Ninth season, 184-127, all at UC-Irvine, 0-1 NCAA).

Best win: 80-75 vs. Saint Mary’s, Nov. 18.

Worst loss: 80-70 vs. Long Beach State, Jan. 16.

Three-pointers: 35.6 percent. Free throws: 68.8 percent.

TOP THREE: G Max Hazzard, 6-0, R-Jr.: 12.2 ppg.; G Evan Leonard, 6-1, Jr.: 11.0 ppg.; F Jonathan Galloway, 6-10, Gr.: 6.9 ppg., 8.2 rpg.


The Anteaters, who returned all five of their starters from last year’s team, enter the NCAA Tournament on a 16-game winning streak. … They are ninth in the nation in rebound margin with an average of 7.4 more than the opposition. … Hazzard is the grandson of the late Walt Hazzard, the legendary former Overbrook High and UCLA star.

Record: 25-9, 13-5 Big East, 1st, NET: 25.

Coach: Jay Wright (25th season, 566-259; 444-174 in 18 seasons at Villanova, 27-13 NCAA).

» How Jay Wright’s teams have fared in the tournament

Best win: 67-61 vs. Marquette, Feb. 27.

Worst loss: 78-75 vs. Penn, Dec. 11.

Three-pointers: 35.5 percent. Free throws: 72.7 percent.

TOP THREE: G Phil Booth, 6-3, R-Sr.: 18.6 ppg., 3.9 apg.; F Eric Paschall, 6-8, R-Sr.: 16.5 ppg., 6.1 rpg.; G Collin Gillespie, 6-3, So.: 11.3 ppg.

» BOB FORD: Jay Wright promises Villanova fans ‘a special year’ in NCAA Tournament, with St. Mary’s up first


The Wildcats lost four players and 70 percent of their scoring from the 2018 national championship team and still won the Big East regular-season and conference titles. … Their strength came from three-point shooting, averaging 10.7 threes (11th in the nation) with Booth, Paschall and Gillespie combining for 209. … They led the Big East in points allowed (67.1 per game).

» TV schedule, game times and announcers

11. St. Mary’s Gaels

Record: 22-11, 11-5, tied for second in WCC, won conference tournament. NET: 34.

Coach: Randy Bennett (18th season, 414-173, 4-6 NCAA).

Best win: 60-47 vs. Gonzaga in the WCC final, March 12.

Worst loss: 74-68 vs. Harvard, Nov. 24.

Three-pointers: 37.8 percent. Free throws: 74.5 percent.

TOP THREE: G Jordan Ford, 6-1, Jr.: 21.3 ppg., 2.5 apg.; F Malik Fitts, 6-8, R-So.: 15.3 ppg., 7.6 rpg.; G Tanner Krebs, 6-6, R-Jr.: 8.9 ppg., 3.7 rpg.


Jordan Hunter, a 6-10 senior, had 14 points and 15 rebounds in the championship win over Gonzaga. … The WCC title win avenged two regular-season losses to Gonzaga, including a 94-46 road defeat on Feb. 9. … Since that loss, the Gaels are 7-1, with the only defeat to Gonzaga, 69-55 on March 2. … Ford was a first-team all-WCC choice and is the leading scorer in the WCC.

3. Purdue Boilermakers

Record: 23-9, 15-4 Big Ten, tied for 1st. NET: 12.

Coach: Matt Painter (15th season, 343-162; 318-157 in 14 seasons at Purdue, 12-11 NCAA).

Best win: 73-63 vs. Michigan State, Jan. 27.

Worst loss: 88-80 vs. Notre Dame, Dec. 15.

Three-pointers: 36.7 percent. Free throws: 72.9 percent.

TOP THREE: G Carsen Edwards, 6-1, Jr.: 23.4 ppg.; G Ryan Kline, 6-6. Sr.: 11.8 ppg.; C Matt Haarms, 7-3, So.: 8.8. ppg., 5.4 rpg.


The Boilermakers lost four senior starters from last season but still tied for the conference championship. … Edwards, tied for 11th nationally in scoring, knocked down 106 three-point shots, and averaged 3.4 per game, 16th in Division I. … Kline added 93 threes and shot 41.9 percent from beyond the arc.

14. Old Dominion Monarchs

Record: 26-8, 13-5 Conference USA, 1st place. NET: 99.

Coach: Jeff Jones (27th season, 494-353; 137-66 in 6 seasons at Old Dominion, 6-7 NCAA)

Best win: 68-62 vs. Syracuse, Dec. 15

Worst loss: 79-64 vs. St. Joseph’s, Nov. 9

Three-pointers: 35.6 percent. Free throws: 65.0 percent.

TOP THREE: G B.J. Stith, 6-5, RSr.: 17.3 ppg., 7.4 rpg.; G Ahmad Caver, 6-2, Sr.: 16.9 ppg., 5.4 apg.; G Xavier Green, 6-6, RSo.: 9.1 ppg.


Stith and Caver have led the Monarchs to their first Conference USA first-place finish since joining in the 2013-14 season.

7. Cincinnati Bearcats

Record: 28-6, 14-4 AAC, second place. NET: 27.

Coach: Mick Cronin (16th season, 362-170, 293-146 in 13 seasons at Cincinnati, 6-10 NCAA).

Best win: 60-55 vs. UCF, Feb. 21.

Worst loss: 73-71 at East Carolina, Jan. 5.

Three-pointers: 34.5 percent. Free throws: 71.2 percent.

TOP THREE: G Jarron Cumberland, 6-5, Jr.: 18.4 ppg., 4.4 rpg., 3.5 apg.; G Keith Williams, 6-5, So.: 10.6 ppg., 3.2 rpg.; F Tre Scott, 6-8, R-Jr.: 8.9 ppg., 6.6 rpg.


This mentally tough team can grind with the best of them. … The Bearcats will be making their ninth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance. … Cumberland was named AAC player of the year. … The Bearcats led the AAC in the regular season in blocked shots, 4.4 per game. … Cincinnati was second in turnover margin (+3.35). … The Bearcats were in contention for the conference title until dropping their final two regular-season games at UCF and home against Houston.

10. Iowa Hawkeyes

Record: 21-10, 10-10 Big Ten, 6th. NET: 42.

Coach: Fran McCaffery (23rd season, 423-307; 172-130 in nine seasons at Iowa; 4-8 NCAA).

Best win: 74-59 vs. Michigan, Feb. 1.

Worst loss: 86-72 vs. Rutgers, March 2.

Three-pointers: 36.3 percent. Free throws: 74.5 percent.

TOP THREE: F Tyler Cook, 6-9, Jr., 15.0 ppg, 8.1 rpg.; F Luke Garza, 6-11, So., 13.0 ppg. 4.6 rpg.; G Jordan Bohannon, 6-1, Jr., 11.8 ppg.


The Hawkeyes staggered to the finish of the regular season, losing their last four. … They excel in getting to the free-throw line; their 574 made shots from there (18.5 per game) rank third in the nation. Bohannon shoots 87.7 percent from the stripe. … McCaffery is a graduate of La Salle College High School and Penn.

2. Tennessee Volunteers

Record: 27-4, 15-3 Southeastern Conference, tied for 2nd. NET: 6.

Coach: Rick Barnes (32nd season, 688-362; 84-48 in four seasons at Tennessee; 22-23 NCAA).

Best win: 76-73 vs. Gonzaga, Dec. 9.

Worst loss: 84-80 vs. Auburn March 9.

Three-pointers: 35.2 percent. Free throws: 76.3 percent

TOP THREE: F Grant Williams, 6-7, Jr., 19.3 ppg., 7.7 rpg.; G Admiral Schofield, 6-6, Sr., 16.3 ppg, 6.3 rpg.; G Jordan Bone, 6-3, Jr., 13.4 ppg., 3.2 rpg.


The Volunteers are led by junior forward Grant Williams, the Associated Press’ Southeastern Conference player of the year. Senior guard Admiral Schofield and junior guard Jordan Bone were named to the second team.

15. Colgate Raiders

Record: 24-10, 13-5 Patriot League, tied for first regular season, won conference tournament. NET: 135.

Coach: Matt Langel (eighth season, 114-141, NCAA 0-0).

Best win: 94-80 vs. Bucknell in the Patriot League championship, March 13.

Worst loss: 72-66 at Navy, Jan. 3.

Three-pointers: 38.8 percent. Free throws: 74.1 percent.

TOP THREE: F Rapolas Ivanauskas, 6-10, Jr.: 16.4 ppg., 7.9 rpg.; G Jordan Burns, 6-0, So.: 15.8 ppg., 5.8 apg.; F Will Rayman, 6-8, Jr.: 13.1 ppg., 6.5 rpg.


Colgate is in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1996. … Jordan Burns earned tournament championship MVP honors after breaking the Patriot League championship game by scoring record with 35 points in the title game. … Langel, the former standout at Penn and Moorestown High, was named the Patriot League coach of the year for the second straight season.

See more NCAA Tournament coverage here.