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2014 NCAA Tournament South Region: Instant Analysis

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It should come as no surprise that Billy Donovan’s Florida Gators are the top seed in the South Region, as they challenged themselves in non-conference play and went undefeated in 21 games (18-0 regular season) against conference opponents. Their efforts landed the Gators the top overall seed in the 2014 NCAA tournament, and they’ll begin their quest for a third national title in school history in Orlando.

Awaiting Florida in their second game will be the winner of eight-seed Colorado and nine-seed Pittsburgh. As for the rest of this region, there’s a lot of intrigue beginning with two-seed Kansas, which may be without Joel Embiid for the first weekend. Rounding out the top four seeds are three-seed Syracuse and four-seed UCLA, with the latter coming off of a win over No. 4 Arizona.

MORERead through all of our bracket analysis here

Looking for a possible Cinderella? That could be 12-seed Stephen F. Austin, which has won 28 straight games. But Brad Underwood’s half-court style will meet the ultimate test in the form of five-seed VCU, whose “Havoc” system has forced more than 19 turnovers per game. Ohio State will take on Dayton in the 6/11 matchup, and Mountain West tournament champion New Mexico is the seven-seed.

There are some very good match ups in this region, but the possible games moving forward are even more enticing. Aaron Craft vs. Tyler Ennis, Kyle Anderson and Jordan Adams against VCU’s pressure and possible rematches (Kansas vs. New Mexico and Kansas vs. Florida) will be fun to watch if they come to fruition.


Texas lands commitment from top 100 center

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James Banks announced on Thursday that he has committed to Texas, joining Jacob Young in Shaka Smart’s first recruiting class as the head coach of the Longhorns.

Banks is an interesting prospect. A 6-foot-10 center from Georgia, Banks is a still-developing prospect that was recruited more on his potential than his immediate ability.

“James Banks emerged as a good low post prospect this spring and summer,” NBC Recruiting Analyst Scott Phillips said. “With a good set of hands, some offensive potential and a frame that can add weight, Banks is a nice upside grab for Texas.”

He’s probably a few years away from having a major impact in the Big 12, but he may not have that much time to develop. Cameron Ridley, Prince Ibeh and Conner Lamert all graduate after this season, meaning that Banks is going to have to contribute immediately when he sets foot on the Austin campus for the 2016-17 season.

Texas has three commitments in the Class of 2015. Smart convinced Kerwin Roach and Eric Davis to remain committed to the program when he took over for Rick Barnes while he landed a commitment from Tevin Mack, who pledged to Smart when he was at VCU.

Memphis guard could miss season with shoulder injury

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Memphis just cannot catch a break.


It’s to the point where I almost feel bad for Josh Pastner.

Today, reported that Kedren Johnson, a 6-foot-4 point guard that was on track towards being an all-SEC point guard at Vanderbilt, could end up missing the season due to a shoulder injury. If he can handle the pain he can avoid surgery and play with the injury, but at the very least, Johnson is going to be less than his best.

Johnson averaged 6.7 points and 2.7 assists last season for the Tigers. He sat out 2013-14 after leaving Vanderbilt and entered last season incredibly out of shape. There was hope that he would be able to make a bigger impact this season and help fill the void at the point guard spot.

This news comes on the heels of Memphis finding out that Jaylen Fisher is heading to UNLV. Who’s Jaylen Fisher? Well, he’s a point guard and top 40 recruit from Memphis that was Pastner’s No. 1 recruiting target that opted to leave the city for his college hoops instead of play for the Tigers.

That’s a bad sign, but not quite as bad as Memphis losing star center Austin Nichols — another local kid — to a transfer over the summer. Nichols transferred to Virginia.