Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Bracket talk: The South

Antonya English, Times staff writer

Must see TV

If — and that's a big if — North Carolina can get past Villanova in the first round, it almost certainly sets up a game against No. 1 seed Kansas. Okay, really a matchup between current North Carolina coach Roy Williams and his former team. Jayhawks fans still haven't forgiven Williams for jumping ship (after he declined to do so a few years earlier). He'd most likely love to stay away from Kansas. But TV could make this matchup a ratings bonanza. First, Carolina should focus on Villanova. Even as a middle-of-the-road Big East team, it beat Marquette, Syracuse and Louisville.

Settle the score

Florida and Georgetown met in a highly anticipated game on an amphibious Naval ship at Mayport in November. But the game was called off at halftime because of extreme condensation on the ship's makeshift playing floor. The Gators tried to reschedule the game, but the schools couldn't agree on a time and place. If Florida and Georgetown advance to the Sweet 16, they finally will get to settle things on the court.

Best nickname

What can top the Jackrabbits? You know the guys doing the highlight shows are hoping for some highlight-reel plays from South Dakota State in its opening game against Michigan just so they can keep shouting the word "jackrabbits."

Upset special

No. 11 seed Minnesota might have been one of the most inconsistent teams in the nation all season; from a win over then-No. 1 Indiana to a loss to Northwestern. But when the Gophers, coached by Tubby Smith (left) are on, they are tough to beat. That's because they have athletic big men. Meanwhile, No. 6-seeded UCLA must play without Jordan Adams, its second-leading scorer. He broke his right foot on the final play of the Pac-12 semifinals on Friday. The Gophers enter the tournament on a three-game losing streak. Adding more intrigue? Both Smith and UCLA coach Ben Howland are considered on the hot seat. Just a little pressure there.

Player to watch

Michigan's Trey Burke is the Big Ten player of the year and made a case for being the national player of the year. He's averaging 19.2 points, shooting 48.5 percent from the field and 40 percent from 3-point range and already has 1,000 points despite being only a sophomore.

Tough dance

Florida Gulf Coast is making its first trip to the Big Dance. But facing Georgetown, one of the best teams in the Big East, isn't necessarily how you'd like to hit the dance floor. FGCU is playing in just its second year of Division I and got its ticket to the tournament by winning the Atlantic Sun tournament. So while the opening game won't be easy, Georgetown might want to take this game a little more seriously than you might any other No. 15 opponent. FGCU enters on a hot streak, having won 12 of its past 14 games, and has scored 70 or more points in 23 games.

On a roll

A few years ago, Shaka Smart was the third assistant on Billy Donovan's Florida staff. Now he's taking VCU to its third straight tournament. The Rams like to play pressure defense and up-tempo offense. They have Smart's fire and intensity. And in tournament time, both can carry you a long way.

Bracket talk: The South 03/17/13 [Last modified: Sunday, March 17, 2013 11:04pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Cup-winning Lightning captain Dave Andreychuk makes Hockey Hall of Fame

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Hall of Fame coach Scotty Bowman said Dave Andreychuk's name has surfaced often the past eight years with the selection committee.

    30 Oct 2001:  Left wing Dave Andreychuk #25 of the Tampa Bay Lightning skates towards the blue line during the NHL game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Canada.  The Maple Leafs defeated the Lightning 3-2.  Mandatory Credit:  Dave Sanford /Allsport
  2. Rays acquire slick-fielding shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria from Marlins

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Chaim Bloom said the Rays weren't necessarily in the market for a shortstop. The team has a number of those. But when the Marlins recently began shopping Adeiny Hechavarria, well, that was too much to pass up.

    Adeiny Hechavarria has emerged as one of baseball’s top defensive shortstops in the past three seasons with the Marlins.
  3. Rays at Pirates, 7:05 p.m. Tuesday, Pittsburgh

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Pirates

    7:05, PNC Park

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Probable pitchers

    Rays: Alex Cobb (6-5, 4.05)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Alex Cobb #53 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
  4. Lightning journal: Forward Yanni Gourde agrees to two-year deal

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Just three years ago, Yanni Gourde was fighting to stay in pro hockey.

    Tampa Bay Lightning center Yanni Gourde celebrates after scoring against the Florida Panthers during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, March 11, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA108
  5. What they're saying about Dave Andreychuk making Hall of Fame

    Lightning Strikes

    "Dave helped me so much when I was just starting my career, a young kid that was looking to find his way as a hockey player, a person and a member of the Tampa Bay community. In addition to watching him compile such awe-inspiring statistics, I remember him as a big brother to me and many others, making sure all the …