The South Region might not have the overall No. 1 seed, but it has the tournament's overwhelming favorite, North Carolina. But that's if, and only if, point guard and ACC Player of the Year Ty Lawson is 100 percent healthy. If not, the Tar Heels will likely go back to the drawing board and Tyler Hansbrough's very decorated collegiate career is over.
Keep your eye on: Manny Harris, G, Michigan. While Rich Rodriguez's transition from West Virginia didn't go exactly to plan, John Beilein's has been. And that's thanks in part to the play of Harris. He's the Maize & Blue's go-to-guy, who basically did his one-man gang thang to knock off UCLA at Madison Square Garden ... and according to the goofy old guy broadcasting behind me at MSG, Harris scored every single point and dished out every assist in Michigan's loss to Duke the very next night.
Must see TV: No. 5 Illinois vs. No. 12 Western Kentucky. When I saw this pairing, I immediately jumped on the WKU bandwagon, knowing the Hilltoppers already beat Southern Illinois ... which runs the same system as the Fighting Illini. Then, Seth Davis and CBS jumped on board. And while WKU already has had upset bids before, SIU associate head coach Rodney Watson told me the Illini matches up well with the Hilltoppers. I trust Rodney Watson's basketball knowledge.
Upset Alert: North Carolina. As a Tar Heel enthusiast, I was shaken a bit to see Butler notch a No. 9 seed. And if the Bulldogs can knock off LSU, they could provide UNC -- and its fans that love its up-and-down fast-pace style -- fits.
'Chalk' it up to: Ooooooooklahoma has the tournament's best big man, Blake Griffin, and a pretty darn good coach in Jeff (or is it Jason?) Capel. If the Tar Heels get knocked out early, the Sooners have a pretty clear path to the Final Four.
Sleeping giant: Beware of Arizona State. Head coach Herb Sendek didn't get the love he deserved at NC State ... and I'm glad he's out of there because that Princeton offense gave my beloved Tar Heels fits. With James Harden and Jeff Pendegraph, the Sun Devils have the kind of backcourt that could carry a team. However, without much of a front court presence, ASU could easily turn into a jump shooting team ... a jump-shooting team destined for an early exit.