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2016 NCAA Tournament South Region Preview: Kansas grabs top seed, Villanova and Miami set to challenge

The South region is loaded with a number of teams we thought were national title contenders in November.

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The first region to be released for the 2016 NCAA Tournament was the South region with the Kansas Jayhawks on the top line. But there is certainly a slew of teams that could challenge to come out of the South including Maryland, Cal, Miami, Arizona, and Villanova.

Can the Jayhawks navigate through the numerous landmines that the South region will bring to the table?

Favorite: Kansas Jayhawks

Kansas comes into the NCAA Tournament as the only team with 30 wins under their belts. The 30-4 Jayhawks polished off a Big 12 tournament title Saturday night with an 81-71 win over West Virginia. Bill Self's squad comes in to March with one of the nation's most experienced teams with Wayne Selden, Perry Ellis, and Frank Mason leading the charge. While the Jayhawks have a history of raising banners they also have a history of shocking upsets and there are plenty of upsets looming in the South Region with a number of teams that were considered among the nation's best this season.

Darkhorse: Maryland Terrapins

Maryland started the year as the nation's top team according to many pundits, but the Terps inaugural trip through the Big Ten beat them up a bit. If people thought Mark Turgeon's team was a contender in November then why is it so different now? Maryland is battle tested with their 25-8 mark they are battle tested. Every loss has been close except a late season loss to Indiana. Jake Layman and Rasheed Sulaimon are wildcards for the Terps, and Melo Trimble is the type of guard that can take you deep in March.

Best First Round Upset: Hawaii Warriors

Eran Ganot had an impressive first season at Hawaii leading the Warriors to a 27-5 mark this year.  The Warriors now get a talented but relatively inexperienced Cal squad. Stefan Jankovic is a special big man that should give the Golden Bears trouble while Roderick Bobbitt and Aaron Valdes are experienced players that will help the Warriors stretch the floor. Looking to roll the dice on a 13 seed? Hawaii is your squad.

Player to Watch: Fred Van Vleet, Ron Baker

I'm going to cheat here and pick two players. It's the last stand for Fred Van Vleet and Ron Baker as they head to the First Four to take on Vanderbilt.  These guys have given us plenty of magic over the past four years and hopefully we're in for me in a region that is ripe with opportunity because of how many high caliber teams are in it.  Guard play is arguably the most important thing in March and experience isn't far behind.  Guess what these two guys have?