2022 NCAA Tournament South Region Bracket, Odds & Predictions

Eddie Griffin

South Region #1 seed Arizona entered the 2022 NCAA Tournament with high hopes of reaching the Final Four for the first time since 2001. But the Wildcats will instead have to wait until next year to try to end that drought.

Houston, the #5 seed in the South, faced a tall task to follow up last season’s Final Four run with another deep March Madness run after losing two of their best players in December. But the Cougars are a win away from a second straight Final Four appearance after taking out Arizona on Thursday night in the Sweet 16.

In Saturday’s regional final, they will have the chance to eliminate another group of Wildcats, as they will face #2 seed Villanova in the Elite Eight. Villanova comfortably saw off #11 seed Michigan’s upset bid to advance to the Elite Eight for the first time since 2018, when they won their second national championship in three seasons.

Interestingly, Houston is now the favorite (+350 at BetMGM, +360 at FanDuel Sportsbook, and +380 at Caesars Sportsbook) to win the national championship, coming out ahead of Kansas and Duke. Will that change if Kansas wins their Midwest Region semifinal against Providence and Purdue wins their East Region semifinal against Saint Peter’s?

Here’s how South Region odds look with only the regional final remaining.

Odds to Win the South Region of the South Region of the 2022 NCAA Tournament

Pre-tournament odds are via FanDuel Sportsbook as of Thursday, March 17, 2022. Teams in bold are still in the tournament after Saturday’s second round games.

  • #1 Arizona +145
  • #2 Villanova +490
  • #3 Tennessee +500
  • #5 Houston +550
  • #4 Illinois +1000
  • #11 Michigan +2500
  • #7 Ohio State +3000
  • #10 Loyola-Chicago +3200
  • #12 UAB +5500
  • #6 Colorado State +5500
  • #9 TCU +6500
  • #16 Wright State +20000
  • #13 Chattanooga +25000
  • #15 Delaware +25000
  • #14 Longwood +25000

#8 seed Seton Hall was +3000 at Caesars Sportsbook and +3300 at BetMGM.

Current Odds to Win the South Region (as of Friday, March 25)

  • #5 Houston -137
  • #2 Villanova +114
Hunter Dickinson Michigan 2022 NCAA Tournament South Region
Hunter Dickinson and Michigan, the #11 seed in the South Region, are into the Sweet Sixteen after eliminating #6 Colorado State and #3 Tennessee.

2022 NCAA Tournament South Region Venues & Locations

  • South Region First and Second Round Venues & Locations: Indianapolis, Indiana (Gainbridge Fieldhouse), Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (PPG Paints Arena), San Diego, California (Viejas Arena)
  • South Region Sweet Sixteen and Elite Elight Venue & Location: San Antonio, Texas (AT&T Center)

2022 NCAA Tournament South Region Bracket

South Region First Round

San Diego, California (Viejas Arena – Friday)

#1 Arizona 87, #16 Wright State 70
#9 TCU 69, #8 Seton Hall 42

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (PPG Paints Arena – Friday)

#5 Houston 82, #12 UAB 68
#4 Illinois 54, #13 Chattanooga 53

Indianapolis, Indiana (Gainbridge Fieldhouse – Thursday)

#11 Michigan 75, #6 Colorado State 63
#3 Tennessee 88, #14 Longwood 56

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (PPG Paints Arena – Friday)

#7 Ohio State 54, #10 Loyola-Chicago 41
#2 Villanova 80, #15 Delaware 60

South Region Second Round

San Diego, California (Viejas Arena – Sunday, March 20)

#9 TCU vs. #1 Arizona, 9:40 p.m. ET, TBS

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (PPG Paints Arena – Sunday, March 20)

#5 Houston 68, #4 Illinois 53

Indianapolis, Indiana (Gainbridge Fieldhouse – Saturday, March 19)

#11 Michigan 76, #3 Tennessee 68

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (PPG Paints Arena – Sunday, March 20)

#2 Villanova 71, #7 Ohio State 61

South Region Regional Semifinals (Sweet 16)

San Antonio, Texas (AT&T Center – Thursday, March 24)

#5 Houston vs. #1 Arizona, 7:29 p.m. ET, TBS – #5 Houston 72, #1 Arizona 60

#11 Michigan vs. #2 Villanova, 9:59 p.m. ET, TBS – #2 Villanova 63, #11 Michigan 55

South Region Final (Elite Eight)

San Antonio, Texas (AT&T Center – Saturday, March 26)

#5 Houston vs. #2 Villanova, 6:09 p.m. ET, TBS

2022 NCAA Tournament South Region Predictions: Who Will Win the Region?

Pre-Tournament Pick: Villanova (+490)

The South Region is an extremely interesting region, given the non-conference matchups that occurred between several teams earlier this season.

  • Arizona (lost) and Villanova (won) both played Tennessee this season
  • Arizona also played Michigan (won) and Illinois (won)
  • Seton Hall played Michigan (won)

Do any of those results tell us anything? Not as much as if the matchups occurred later in the season and not in November or December.

Speaking of non-conference results, Villanova could not have looked any worse when they were blown away by Baylor in a 57-36 loss in December. Then that loss was followed by a 20-point loss at Creighton in their Big East opener.

But little has gone wrong for the Wildcats since those two losses, as they have gone 19-3, with two losses to Marquette and a narrow loss at UConn. Since that loss to the Huskies, Villanova has won five straight ahead of the NCAA Tournament, including wins over St. John’s, UConn, and Creighton to win the Big East Tournament.

Jay Wright’s club has played–and more importantly, won–a lot of close games, going 9-3 in games decided by six or fewer points.

Villanova has also played a challenging schedule. In addition to their non-conference games against Tennessee and Baylor, the Wildcats played UCLA (lost in OT) and Purdue (lost by six). And though there were a few disappointing Big East teams this season, the conference received six NCAA Tournament bids.

Villanova’s overall strength of schedule ranked 12th, while their non-conference schedule ranked 16th. The latter number is third among teams in the NCAA Tournament field, behind Texas Southern (ninth) and Alabama (11th).

Speaking of rankings, here is how the Wildcats shape up in several notable categories:

Rankings and Ratings for Villanova in the 2021-22 Season

  • Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 8th
  • Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 30th
  • Free Throw Shooting Percentage: 1st
  • Steal Percentage: 14th

Villanova also carries a wealth of experience. Of their six main contributors, the only underclassman is sophomore forward Eric Dixon. And both Collin Gillespie, the team’s leading scorer, and Jermaine Samuels, the team’s third-leading scorer and second-leading rebounder, were a part of Villanova’s national championship-winning team in 2018.

It also doesn’t hurt to have a Hall of Fame coach in Jay Wright either.

Arizona, Tennessee, Illinois, and even Houston, who has overcome season-ending injuries to guards Marcus Sasser and Tramon Mark to continue its run of success in the AAC, all have an argument for why they could or should win the region. Even Michigan does, as the Wolverines have the talent to compete and win. And if Colorado State gets past Michigan, the Rams can’t be discounted either.

But in the end, it’s impossible to overlook all that Villanova brings to the table.

Pre-Sweet 16 Pick: Michigan (+850)

Well, seeing as how I picked Michigan to beat Villanova in the Sweet 16, I couldn’t possibly stick with Villanova to win the region, right? I like chaos, and I like the hot hand.

Last year, Michigan was on the receiving end of an Elite Eight upset by a #11 seed, as UCLA ended their season earlier than planned. This time around, the Wolverines will be on the giving end, as they will send Villanova packing and follow it up with a win in Saturday’s regional final.

Result: Oops.

2022 NCAA Tournament South Region Best Value Bet: Michigan (+360) or Colorado State (+520) to Reach the Sweet Sixteen

Tennessee enters the NCAA Tournament as hot as anyone out there. The Vols, who won the SEC Tournament (and crushed the bid hopes of surprise finalist Texas A&M as a result), are 15-2 in their past 17 games and enter the Big Dance with seven straight wins.

But when push comes to shove, this is still a Rick Barnes team. Barnes has led four schools–Providence, Clemson, Texas, and Tennessee–to a combined 25 NCAA Tournament appearances over the course of his career. And in those 25 appearances, his teams have made the second weekend only seven times.

This will be his fourth straight tournament appearance with Tennessee. Here’s how the previous three went:

  • 2018: #3 seed: lost to #11 seed Loyola-Chicago in the second round
  • 2019: #2 seed: lost to #3 seed Purdue in overtime in the Sweet Sixteen
  • 2021: #5 seed: lost to #12 seed Oregon State in the first round

After landing only a #3 seed despite their resume, Tennessee might come in with a little extra motivation. That can’t be discounted. But we have been fooled by Tennessee and by Rick Barnes before, and that history makes the winner of the Michigan-Colorado State matchup a low-risk, high-reward option worth backing to reach the second weekend.

Result: If Colorado State had advanced, they would have done the same thing to Tennessee that Michigan did. Do I have no faith in a Rick Barnes-coached team to fulfill lofty NCAA Tournament expectations? Well…

2022 NCAA Tournament South Region Early Upset Pick: Tennessee to be bounced in the second round

Chattanooga over Illinois is a popular March Madness upset pick, but I actually like the Fighting Illini to make it through that matchup. And other options like Loyola-Chicago over Ohio State or Michigan over Colorado State wouldn’t really register as upsets. UAB could certainly challenge Houston if Jordan “Jelly” Walker catches fire, but as with Illinois, I look for the Cougars to come out on top.

So, the focus is instead on the second round, where, as mentioned above, I love the value in backing the Michigan-Colorado State winner to reach the Sweet Sixteen.

Michigan has been pretty underwhelming and inconsistent after entering the season with Final Four hype. But the Wolverines are not short on talent, even if they have to be without point guard DeVante’ Jones (concussion).

If David Roddy and Colorado State advance, they will be a tough out as well. After having to deal with San Diego State and Boise State, two of the top defensive teams in college basketball, and others in the Mountain West, the Rams will be able to hold their own against Tennessee.

Result: I’m not always right (see South Dakota State-Providence and backing Iowa to make a deep tournament run), but I was right here.

Other 2022 NCAA Tournament Regions

Eddie Griffin
Eddie Griffin

Eddie Griffin has been writing about and Betting on sports for over a decade. For more of his thoughts on sports and sports betting, you can follow him on Twitter.

Eddie Griffin has been writing about and Betting on sports for over a decade. For more of his thoughts on sports and sports betting, you can follow him on Twitter.