2012 NCAA Bracket Picks South Region

Kentucky is No. 1 overall seed in 2012 Men's NCAA Tournament2012 NCAA Bracket Picks South Region: In spite of their loss to Vanderbilt in the championship game of the Southeastern Conference Tournament final, the Kentucky Wildcats (32-2)  have been designated  overall No. 1 seed in the 2012 Men’s NCAA Basketball Tournament and assigned  top-seed in the South Regional.  The Wildcats will play the winner of the first-round game of Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils (21-12) and Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (15-18) on Thursday, March 15 in Louisville, Ky.

According to odds makers at sports book TopBet.com, Kentucky is listed as -200 College Basketball Odds favorites to win the South Region. For Tuesday’s first round game between MVS and WKU,  TopBet.com has installed the Hilltoppers as  4 1/2-chalk favorites.

The Duke Blue Devils, with a 27-6 overall record,  grabbed the No. 2 seed in the South Region and will face No. 15 seed and Patriot League Champion Lehigh in the second round on Friday, March 16, at 7:15 p.m. in Greensboro, N.C.  The South Region, looks especially tough featuring six teams in the RPI Top-20 including overall No. 1 seed Kentucky and No. 2 Duke, also has No. 3 seed Baylor, No. 4 seed Indiana, No. 5 seed Wichita State and No. 6 seed UNLV.

Baylor (27-7) will face No. 14 South Dakota State (27-7), automatic qualifier from The Summit League, on Thursday at The Pit in Albuquerque, N.M. Game time is scheduled for 7:27 p.m. ET. Should the Bears win, they will face the winner of No. 6 UNLV and No. 11 Colorado on Sat., March 17, at the same venue.

The No. 4 Indiana Hoosiers (25-8) will take on No. 13 seed New Mexico State in the second round  at the Rose Garden in Portland, Oregon on Thursday at approximately 9:45 p.m. ET. New Mexico State (26-9) earned an automatic bid into this year’s tournament after beating Louisiana Tech in the Western Athletics Conference final, 82-57.

The No. 5 Wichita State Shockers (27-5), regular-season champs of the Missouri Valley Conference and the top mid-major, according to rpi, in the tournament, plays No. 12 seed Virginia Commonwealth in the second round in Portland on Thursday at approximately 7:15 p.m. VCU (28-6) advanced to the NCAA Tournament Final Four last season.

The South Region  features six teams in the RPI Top-20 including overall No. 1 seed Kentucky and No. 2 Duke, also has No. 3 seed Baylor, No. 4 seed Indiana, No. 5 seed Wichita State and No. 6 seed UNLV.  No. 6 UNLV (24-8), of the Mountain West, will play No. 11 Colorado (23-11) of the Pac-12 in Albuquerque, N.M. on Thursday with an estimated start time of 9:57 p.m.  No. 7 Notre Dame (22-11) is headed to Greensboro, N.C., for a second-round NCAA Men’s Basketball Championships matchup at approximately 9:40 p.m. ET Friday against No. 10 Xavier (21-12).

NCAA Picks: There are no guarantees that Kentucky cuts down the nets in the South Region but the Wildcats are a good bet to do so. Forget about their loss to Vanderbilt in the SEC Tournament final. The Wildcats attention has always been the Big Dance. For Tuesday’s first-round game between the Delta Devils and Hilltoppers, I like the Hilltoppers to win easily. The Sun Belt is not on top of the mid-major food chain but is a much stronger league than the SWAC.

No more bubble talk and bracket guessing now, as the 68 schools are set to play in the  2012 Men’s NCAA  Basketball Tournament. Now that March Madness is officially here, college sports handicapper Reno Gold will be making College Basketball Odds picks and predictions for the Big Dance all the way to the championship game. The good news for college sports bettors – RENO’S PICKS ARE FREE. Check daily for Reno Gold’s opinion on all the top games each week for free. We also encourage you to sign up to get Free NCAA Basketball Picks now!