March Madness will look a bit different this year as instead of NCAA tournament games being played across the country, the tourney will be played in one central location. This will impact traditional NCAA tournament regions like the South Region bracket. Here are the sites in which games will be played in 2021:
- Lucas Oil Stadium: Indianapolis, Indiana
- Bankers Life Fieldhouse: Indianapolis, Indiana
- Hinkle Fieldhouse: Indianapolis, Indiana
- Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall: Bloomington, Indiana
- Mackey Arena: West Lafayette, Indiana
- Indiana Farmers Coliseum: Indianapolis, Indiana
NCAA regional semi-final and regional final basketball games will be played at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, home of the NBA’s Indiana Pacers, and Hinkle Fieldhouse, home of the NCAA’s Butler Bulldogs.
2021 NCAA Tournament: South Region Bracket odds
Here are South Region bracket odds for the 2021 NCAA tournament.
8. North Carolina
13. North Texas
6. Texas Tech
11. Utah State
10. Virginia Tech
2. Ohio State
15. Oral Roberts
South Region: What happened last time?
A college basketball National Champion hasn’t been crowned in two years as last year’s tourney was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. So technically, Virginia – the winner of the South Region in 2019 – is still the reigning NCAA men’s basketball champ.
The second weekend of games in the South Region in 2019 featured No. 1 seed Virginia, No. 2 seed Tennessee, No. 3 seed Purdue and No. 12 seed Oregon. The Cavaliers had some trouble with the Ducks in the Sweet 16 but escaped, 53-49. Virginia then toppled Purdue, 80-75, in an Elite 8 classic that went to overtime.
The 2019 Regional semi-finals and Regional Finals were played at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Kentucky.
South Region history: First Round upsets
The South Region has a rich history when it comes to upsets. In fact, the biggest upset in NCAA tournament history – and arguably sports history – occurred in the South Region three years ago. In 2018, UMBC (University of Maryland, Baltimore County) became the first and only No. 16 seed to ever upset a No. 1 seed as it destroyed Virginia, 74-54.
There were some big upsets in the South two years ago as well as No. 13 UC Irvine took down No. 4 Kansas State and No. 12 Oregon toppled No. 5 Wisconsin.
In the early 2010s there were also back-to-back years in which 15 seeds shocked 2 seeds. In 2012, No. 15 Lehigh beat No. 2 Duke and in 2013 No. 15 Florida Gulf Coast dumped No. 2 Georgetown.
At least in the past 20 years of March Madness, the South is the upset king among tournament regions. Here is a glance at the first round stunners in the South since 2000:
2019: No. 13 UC Irvine over No. 4 Kansas State, No. 12 Oregon over No. 5 Wisconsin, No. 10 Iowa over No. 7 Cincinnati, No. 9 Oklahoma over No. 8 Ole Miss
2018: No. 16 UMBC over No. 1 Virginia, No. 13 Buffalo over No. 4 Arizona, No. 11 Loyola-Chicago over No. 6 Miami, No. 9 Kansas State over No. 8 Creighton
2017: No. 12 Middle Tennessee over No. 5 Minnesota, No. 10 Wichita State over No. 7 Dayton
2016: No. 13 Hawaii over No. 4 California, No. 11 Wichita State over No. 6 Arizona, No. 9 UConn over No. 8 Colorado
2015: No. 14 UAB over No. 3 Iowa State, No. 11 UCLA over Southern Methodist
2014: No. 12 Stephen F. Austin over No. 5 VCU, No. 11 Dayton over No. 6 Ohio State, No. 10 Stanford over No. 7 New Mexico, No. 9 Pittsburgh over No. 8 Colorado
2013: No. 15 Florida Gulf Coast over No. 2 Georgetown, No. 11 Minnesota over No. 6 UCLA
2012: No. 15 Lehigh over No. 2 Duke, No. 12 VCU over No. 5 Wichita State, No. 11 Colorado over No. 6 UNLV, No. 10 Xavier over No. 7 Notre Dame
2011*: No. 13 Morehead State over No. 4 Louisville, No. 12 Richmond over No. 5 Vanderbilt, No. 11 VCU over No. 6 Georgetown, No. 11 Gonzaga over No. 6 St. John’s, No. 10 Florida State over No. 7 Texas A&M, No. 9 Illinois over No. 8 UNLV
2010: No. 11 Old Dominion over No. 6 Notre Dame, No. 10 Saint Mary’s over No. 7 Richmond
2009: No. 12 Western Kentucky over No. 5 Illinois, No. 10 Michigan over No. 7 Clemson
2007: No. 9 Xavier over No. 8 BYU
2006: No. 14 Northwestern State over No. 3 Iowa, No. 12 Texas A&M over No. 5 Syracuse, No. 10 North Carolina State over No. 7 California
2005: No. 13 Vermont over No. 4 Syracuse, No. 9 Mississippi State over No. 8 Stanford
2004: No. 12 Manhattan over No. 5 Florida
2003: No. 9 Purdue over No. 8 LSU
2002: No. 13 UNC-Wilmington over No. 4 USC, No. 10 Kent State over No. 7 Oklahoma State
2001: No. 13 Indiana State over No. 4 Oklahoma, No. 12 Gonzaga over No. 5 Virginia, No. 11 Temple over No. 6 Texas, No. 9 Fresno State over No. 8 California
*The 2011 NCAA tournament featured a “Southwest” and “Southeast” Region, along with a traditional East and West bracket. There was no “Midwest” Region this year. Upsets mentioned here involve both the Southwest and Southeast regions.
**In 2000 and in many years prior, the South Region went by the moniker, “Southeast.”
NCAA Champions from the South Region
There have been nine NCAA tournament winners from the South Region since 1990, more than any other March Madness region. This makes sense considering the South often features ACC and SEC powerhouses like Duke, North Carolina and Kentucky.
Teams emerging from the South have been particularly successful of late, as the March Madness National Champion has come from this region in four of the past five tournaments.
- 2019 Virginia
- 2017 North Carolina
- 2016 Villanova
- 2015 Duke
- 2012 Kentucky
- 2010 Duke
- 2009 North Carolina
- 1998 Kentucky
- 1997 Arizona
Here are NCAA champions by region and seed over the past 31 years:
|2020||*Tournament canceled due to COVID-19 pandemic||N/A||N/A|
How the South Region Bracket is selected
The NCAA Div. 1 men’s basketball “Selection Committee” meets on Selection Sunday each year to determine the March Madness field, choose each team’s seed and which region each team will be playing in. Kentucky athletic director Mitch Barnhart is the current chairman of the Div. 1 men’s basketball committee. Thirty-two teams receive automatic bids by virtue of winning their respective conference tournament. The committee chooses the teams who receive “at-large” bids.
At-large selection and seeding is based on:
- Strength of schedule
- Scoring margin
- Location of wins, losses
- Net offensive and defensive efficiency
- Quality of wins and losses
When it comes to placing teams in regions, the committee will look to give top teams preferential treatment when it comes to travel. The best teams in the field will typically play close to home, and the teams that just barely make it will often have to go on the road.
For instance, the top teams in the 2019 South Region were: Virginia, Tennessee, Purdue and Kansas State.
Villanova was a 6 seed in the South in 2019. Had the Wildcats had a slightly better record, they likely would have landed in their traditional region of the East.