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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.

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Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament chances take a major blow in loss to No. 16 SMU

SMU guard Nic Moore (11) shoots over Gonzaga forward Kyle Wiltjer (33) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
(AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
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Nic Moore scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half and added 11 assists as No. 16 SMU knocked off Gonzaga in Moody Coliseum on Saturday night, 69-60.

The Zags got 20 points and 16 boards from Domantas Sabonis, but Kyle Wiltjer scored just four points and shot 2-for-17 from the floor.

It wasn’t pretty.

And it may have been the end of Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament hopes.

Entering Saturday, the Zags had an RPI in the mid-60s, enough to keep them in the bubble conversation but not enough to make them anything more than a team that will be projected to end up on the cut-line.

The issue is a complete lack of quality wins on their résumé. Gonzaga beat UConn in the Bahamas. That’s a borderline top 50 win. They beat Washington, another borderline top 50 win. Beyond that? They swept Pepperdine, beat Tennessee and own a win over Montana. None of those are top 100 wins, and that’s why the SMU game was such a big deal. The Mustangs are a top 25 team. This was a road game. This win was the kind of thing that the Zags could pin at the top of their profile.

But Wiltjer didn’t show up, the Zags had no answer for Moore and they’ll head back to Spokane needing, in all likelihood, to win the WCC’s automatic bid if they want to dance.

POSTERIZED: Cal’s Jaylen Brown has his dunk contest entry

California's Jaylen Brown lays up a shot against Oregon State in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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Cal picked up a big win over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion on Saturday night, and the exclamation point was this emphatic dunk from Jaylen Brown: