NCAA tournament update: South region

This week, The Chronicle will look at the opening weekend in each of the four regions of the NCAA tournament in advance of the Sweet Sixteen. Today, we start with the South region.

Sweet 16 teams:

No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 4 Michigan; No. 3 Florida vs. No. 15 Florida Gulf Coast

How those teams advanced:

Kansas—The Jayhawks were never in complete control in either of their first two Tournament games. In fact, they trailed both Western Kentucky and North Carolina at halftime before turning the tides in the second 20 minutes. Kansas is being propelled by seniors Travis Releford and Jeff Withey, while freshman guard Ben McLemore struggles to find his bearings in the Tournament.

Michigan—After stifling electric scorer Nate Wolters in the Round of 64 against South Dakota State, the Wolverines cruised past trendy Final Four pick Virginia Commonwealth, winning by 25 points. The Rams' "Havoc" defense forced seven Trey Burke turnovers, but the rest of the Michigan team coughed up the ball only five additional times. The Wolverines have had so much success this Tournament season due to its balanced offensive output. Burke, Tim Hardaway Jr., Glenn Robinson III, and Mitch McGary all had the shooting touch last weekend.

Flordia—The Gators embarrassed Northwestern State in the second round of the Tournament before defeating Minnesota to advance to the Sweet 16. Florida has gotten a lot of offense from a variety of sources in its first two games, but the most consistent performer has been Erik Murphy—brother of Duke's own Alex Murphy. Though Murphy has been the most consistent, Florida owes a great deal of its victory over the Golden Gophers to guard Mike Rosario, who scored 25 points—including six 3-pointers—to help the Gators earn the win.

Florida Gulf Coast—It's not clear whether even the Eagles know how they got here. The Atlantic Sun tournament champions were thought to be an easy opponent for No. 2 seed Georgetown, but the Hoyas are watching the rest of the Tournament from their couches while Florida Gulf Coast becomes the first ever No. 15 seed to reach the Sweet 16. Winning each of their games by 10 points, it's time to admit the Eagles are a talented team. Sherwood Brown and Bernard Thompson are bona fide scorers while Brett Comer is making a case to be the best point guard in the Tournament—a field that includes surefire lottery picks Burke and Marcus Smart.

Biggest disappointment:

The Georgetown Hoyas laid an egg in the second round. Georgetown's defense was nowhere to be found against Florida Gulf Coast. The team that allowed only 58 points to Syracuse in an overtime, losing effort was torched for 78 against a team that didn't even with the Atlantic Sun conference regular season. Otto Porter Jr., the Big East Player of the Year, made just five of his 17 field goal attempts after shooting 48 percent from the floor during the season. Markel Starks matched a season-high with 23 points, but he couldn't carry Georgetown all on his own.

Region MVP to date:

There are a couple of worthy candidates, but in the end the honor belongs to Florida Gulf Coast's Sherwood Brown. The senior guard from Orlando, Florida beats out Jeff Withey, Mitch McGary, and teammate Bernard Thompson because of the many things he has brought to the table this Tournament season. Despite standing at just 6-foot-4, Brown is averaging 8.5 rebounds per game thus far this post season to go along with his 20.5 points on 57.1 percent shooting—55.6 percent from long-range. To top it all off, he's been the catalyst of arguably the most darling Cinderella team the NCAA tournament has ever seen.


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