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South poses toughest challenge

Every year, when the brackets come out on Selection Sunday, there is talk about the toughest region. The NCAA tournament selection committee does a good job. These people love the sport and show much passion. But I do feel a couple of the regions are tougher than the others.

There were a lot of people surprised to see the road for Wichita State in the Midwest. The Shockers could face Kentucky, Louisville and Michigan or Duke just to get to the Final Four. Wow, that is a rough path.

But the Midwest isn't even the toughest bracket. I vote that honor to the South region.

Top-seeded Florida may be the favorite, but this bracket has a lot of talent from top to bottom. Kansas was given consideration as a No. 1 seed but had to settle for No. 2 with Joel Embiid sidelined.

Syracuse was 25-0 before a late slide saw the Orange drop five of their last seven. Jim Boeheim is a Hall of Fame coach, and this is still a dangerous team at No. 3.

Fourth-seeded UCLA is playing as well as any time this season. The Bruins beat the No. 1 West seed, Arizona, in the Pac-12 final. Facing Kyle Anderson, Jordan Adams & Co. will not be easy.

VCU is a sleeper team as the fifth seed. Shaka Smart has an experienced group that made it to the Atlantic 10 final.

Ohio State won 25 games this season. Thad Matta's team is a solid sixth seed. Aaron Craft will have his teammates pumped up.

I thought New Mexico was better than a seventh seed. Cameron Bairstow, Alex Kirk & Co. are tough up front. The Lobos won the Mountain West tournament and have momentum. New Mexico would like to erase the bitter memory of an early upset by Harvard in last season's Big Dance.

Then there is one of the hottest teams in America, Stephen F. Austin. The Lumberjacks have a 28-game win streak and sit at 31-2. Jacob Parker averages 14 points and seven rebounds per game and shoots over 54 percent from the field.

This region is the most loaded one.