2023 NCAA Tournament South Region preview: Alabama favored, but don’t sleep on Virginia

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Alabama players pose with the trophy after an NCAA college basketball game against Texas A&M in the finals of the Southeastern Conference Tournament, Sunday, March 12, 2023, in Nashville, Tenn. Alabama won 82-63. (AP Photo/John Amis)

The 2023 NCAA men’s basketball tournament will begin with the South Region, which is headlined by No. 1 overall seed Alabama.

Alabama has put together their best men’s basketball season in recent memory as they look to secure their first national championship, and while they clearly have the talent to make a run, this region has plenty of contenders that could give them trouble.

No. 4 Virginia and No. 5 San Diego State appear to be the toughest teams on Alabama’s side of the bracket, whose first round matchups won’t be easy against quality 12 and 13 seeds Charleston and Furman.

Assuming at least one or both higher seeds get past the first round, they appear capable of getting past Alabama, who will have to face either a Big 12 opponent in No. 9 West Virginia or a Big Ten opponent in No. 8 Maryland in the second round.

No. 2 Arizona and No. 3 Baylor headline the other side of the region, and while both programs are typically blue bloods in March, they could also be vulnerable to upsets with a dangerous No. 6 seed on their side.

That No. 6 seed is Big East stalwart Creighton, who can hang with almost anyone when their shots are falling, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them get past at least one if not both of the higher seeds on their side.

Creighton doesn’t appear to offer much value though from a futures odds perspective at +700, as Virginia appears to be the play at +1500 since they’d have a clear path to the Final Four if they can take down Alabama.

Baylor could offer value at +650 having been through the Big 12 gauntlet, and No. 7 Missouri could be sneaky as a 50-to-1 long shot since they’re capable of scoring at an elite clip and have faced plenty of tough competition throughout the season in the SEC.

Best regional values: (3) Baylor +650 (+2500 to win national title), (4) Virginia +1500 (+5000)

Biggest first round upset: (12) Charleston over (5) San Diego State

Regional final: (4) Virginia vs. (6) Creighton

Headed to Houston: Virginia

SOUTH REGION FUTURES ODDS

(1) Alabama +160 to win region (+700 to win national title)

(2) Arizona +400 (+1200)

(3) Baylor +650 (+2500)

(5) San Diego State +700 (+6500)

(6) Creighton +700 (+4000)

(4) Virginia +1500 (+5000)

(9) West Virginia +2000 (+10000)

(8) Maryland +2500 (+7500)

(10) Utah State +3000 (+20000)

(11) NC State +4500 (+25000)

(7) Missouri +5000 (+15000)

(12) Charleston +7500 (+30000)

(13) Furman +12500 (+50000)

(14) UC-Santa Barbara +15000 (+100000)

(15) Princeton +20000 (+150000)

(16) Texas A&M Corpus Christi +50000 (+250000)

(16) Southeast Missouri State +75000 (+300000)

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