The Upsets Arrive Early in the NCAA Tournament: Analyzing the South Region
Sometimes you need a few hours before the upsets arrive in the NCAA tournament. Sometimes, the action doesn’t even really begin on the first Thursday. We’d barely finished lunch when a late 4-seed Virginia turnover became an improbable, game-winning 3-pointer by JP Pegues to help 13-seed Furman advance. And that wasn’t even the most memorable moment. Before dinner, 2-seed Arizona blew a 10-point lead in a loss to 15-seed Princeton.
Now, we have questions. Because the South Region of the 2023 men’s March Madness bracket, and Alabama’s sheer control of it, has changed. ESPN‘s panel of experts analyze what just happened and what the South Region looks like with two big upsets on the books. Find live coverage of the first round of the men’s NCAA tournament here.
ESPN’s Myron Medcalf thinks that Arizona played with arrogance and lacked effort in the last 10 minutes of their game against Princeton. Medcalf also commends Furman’s determination and response to playing without top scorer Mike Bothwell, who fouled out in the second half.
Jeff Borzello emphasizes Arizona’s poor shooting and inability of their guards to perform. Virginia’s slow tempo wasn’t enough to bury opponents under a barrage of points, and the Cavs continue to struggle shooting the ball.
John Gasaway points out Arizona’s difficulties on their 3-point shots and how Princeton was able to keep them from getting second chances. Gasaway believes that Princeton will draw inspiration from Saint Peter’s last year and have a better chance than oddsmakers will give them against 5-seed San Diego State.
Furman on the Rise
Borzello predicts that Furman will triumph over San Diego State in the second round, taking advantage of the Paladins’ unique matchup at that size. He admits that his prediction track record isn’t the best since he had the Tigers losing to Arizona in their previous game. Medcalf also agrees that Furman may pose a significant threat to San Diego State.
When asked which team will benefit from the upsets, all three analysts agree that Alabama has a better shot to reach the Final Four since Arizona was their toughest competition in the region. Medcalf also notes that Tony Bennett’s defensive adjustments for Virginia were problematic for most teams, but Alabama’s path is much easier now without them.