Breaking down the NCAA Tournament: South Regional

Kansas center Jeff Withey blocks a shot by

Kansas center Jeff Withey blocks a shot by Kansas State guard Shane Southwell during the first half of the Big 12 men's tournament championship. (March 16, 2013) (Credit: AP)

BEST TEAM: KANSAS

The Jayhawks beat rival Kansas State in the Big 12 Tournament, which made people realize that they have the best record against top-50 opponents in the country. Plus, Kansas is a defending national finalist that has added redshirt freshman Ben (Air) McLemore, whom former Kansas coach Larry Brown called one of the best first-year players he had seen when he saw the young man in practice last year.

BEST BIG MAN: JEFF WITHEY, KANSAS

Having committed to Louisville, enrolling at Arizona and transferring, he is at home in Lawrence, Kan. During the team's run to the NCAA final last year, he set a tournament record with 31 blocks. He is projected as a late first-round NBA draft pick.

BEST GUARD/PLAYMAKER: TREY BURKE, MICHIGAN

Many people believe Burke is the best player this year, period. He was voted the player of the year in the Big Ten, by coaches and media and in an informal poll of fellow players by the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Rival Derrick Nix of Michigan State said, "He's my favorite player in the Big Ten. He's humble and I think he's a pretty cool guy."

BEST GO-TO GUY: OTTO PORTER JR., GEORGETOWN

Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said after the game Friday that Porter is the best all-around player he has ever seen in the Big East. Boeheim's later comments suggested he meant the best all-around small forward, but the point he was making is that the Big East Player of the Year is formidable on offense and defense.

 

BEST PLAYER YOU'VE NEVER HEARD OF: JAMAAL FRANKLIN, SAN DIEGO STATE

He is unheralded if you don't count

YouTube viewers who have seen his dunk of the year -- flipping the ball off the backboard from beyond the arc, soaring and jamming against Fresno State. Franklin led his team in scoring, rebounds, assists and steals. He also gets to the foul line about six times a game.

BEST BET TO SPRING AN UPSET: MINNESOTA

Maybe it is only a matter of bookkeeping that would consider a win by the 11th-seeded Gophers over sixth-seeded UCLA an upset. With the Bruins playing without Jordan Adams, one of their top players, who was injured during the Pac-12 Tournament, Minnesota might be the better squad. Minnesota knows about upsets. Led by 24-year-old power forward Trevor Mbakwe, it knocked off then-No. 1 Indiana.

BEST MATCHUP SOUTH DAKOTA ST. VS. MICHIGAN

If you love guard play -- and college basketball these days revolves around guard play -- you've got to love this matchup. On the college scene, few players are more high profile than Michigan's Trey Burke. But South Dakota State senior point guard Nate Wolters is a cult figure in the Far West, having scored 53 points in a game this season.

BEST COACHING MATCHUP: NORTH CAROLINA'S ROY WILLIAMS VS. VILLANOVA'S JAY WRIGHT

Williams, a national title coach, has led the Tar Heels to nine consecutive 20-win seasons. He proved flexible and creative this season, going to a smaller lineup that changed the trajectory of their season. Speaking of changing trajectory, Wright got the Wildcats to shake off a loss to Columbia. The former Hofstra coach had one of his best seasons, directing wins over Louisville, Syracuse and Georgetown.

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