The What-If Sweet 16 – East and South Regions


Yesterday, we introduced our What-If Sweet 16 and announced the West and Midwest Regions. If you haven’t read that yet, check it out and make sure to vote. Without further ado, here are the East and South regions:


#1 Memphis

Just two seasons removed from a championship run under John Calipari, the Tigers have lost a lot of talent to the NBA in recent years. This team would be even more dangerous had Calipari not left for Kentucky and taken most of the 2009 recruiting class with him.

Shawn Taggart* – Forward, 6 ft 10 in, 238 lbs.

Wesley Witherspoon – Forward, 6 ft 9 in, 210 lbs.

Elliot Williams – Guard, 6 ft 9 in, 180 lbs.

Tyreke Evans* – Guard, 6 ft 6 in, 219 lbs.

Derrick Rose* – Guard, 6 ft 3 in, 205 lbs. Invalidated SAT scores aside, Rose has been a heck of a player on every level. Hard to imagine him not contending for player of the year with the likes of John Wall and Evan Turner as a senior.

#4 Arizona

The Wildcats have lost 3 players to the draft the last 2 years. If they still had the services of Hill, Budinger, and Bayless, they would have been able to make a run at the Pac-10 title in a down year for the conference.

Jordan Hill* – Forward, 6 ft 10 in, 235 lbs.

Chase Budinger* – Forward, 6 ft 7 in, 218 lbs.

Derrick Williams – Forward, 6 ft 8 in, 235 lbs.

Jerryd Bayless* – Guard, 6 ft 3 in, 199 lbs.

Nic Wise – Guard, 5 ft 10 in, 180 lbs.

#2 Kentucky

This year’s team has only lost 2 games and is looking like the favorite to win it all. That alone makes them a strong contender here, even though the addition of Jodie Meeks doesn’t have quite as big an impact as the boost some of the other teams receive from having their underclassmen NBAers back.

DeMarcus Cousins – Forward, 6 ft, 11 in, 270 lbs.

Patrick Patterson – Forward, 6 ft 9 in, 235 lbs.

Eric Bledsoe – Guard, 6 ft 1 in, 190 lbs.

John Wall – Guard, 6 ft 4 in, 195 lbs.

Jodie Meeks* – Guard, 6 ft 4 in, 211 lbs. Excellent scorer to go alongside Wall. Had 30+ points 7 times his junior season before being drafted in the second round.

#3 Kansas

This year’s #1 ranked Jayhawk team got bounced in the second round. An experienced Arthur gets them to the Sweet 16 and maybe farther.

Cole Aldrich – Center, 6 ft 11 in, 245 lbs.

Marcus Morris – Forward, 6 ft 8 in, 225 lbs.

Darrell Arthur* – Forward, 6 ft 9 in, 240 lbs.

Sherron Collins – Guard, 5 ft 11 in, 205 lbs.

Xavier Henry – Guard, 6 ft 6 in, 220 lbs.


#1 Texas

This was a down year for the Longhorns, but if they still had Kevin Durant and D.J. Augustin, things would be a little different. Augustin has been solid after leaving before his junior season, and Durant is an MVP candidate who is averaging almost 30 points per game in Oklahoma City.

Dexter Pittman – Center, 6 ft 10 in, 290 lbs.

Damion James – Forward, 6 ft 7 in, 225 lbs.

Kevin Durant* – Forward, 6 ft 9 in, 230 lbs.

D.J. Augustin* – Guard, 6 ft, 180 lbs.

Avery Bradley – Guard, 6 ft 2 in, 180 lbs.

#4 Oklahoma

The only addition here is Blake Griffin, but it’s more than enough to get them in the Top 16.

Blake Griffin* – Forward, 6 ft 8 in, 251 lbs. 22.7 points 14.4 rebounds and more than a few spectacular plays per game his sophomore year as a Sooner.

Tiny Gallon – Forward, 6 ft 9 in, 300 lbs.

Tony Crocker – Guard, 6 ft 6 in, 199 lbs.

Cade Davis – Guard, 6 ft 5 in, 198 lbs.

Tommy Mason-Griffin – Guard, 5 ft 11 in, 203 lbs.

#2 Kansas State

The Wildcats will play Butler in an Elite 8 game this afternoon after outlasting Xavier in a double-overtime Gus Johnson Classic. Bill Walker and Michael Beasley would be juniors this season, and the team would be even stronger.

Michael Beasley* – Forward, 6 ft 10 in, 235 lbs. The number two pick in the 2008 draft has underachieved in Miami so far. Any headlines involving Beasley have been related to his apparent substance abuse issues. Still, had he stayed in school, he would have continued to be a star player, as he averaged 26-12 as a freshman.

Bill Walker* – Forward, 6 ft 6 in, 220 lbs. Walker’s NBA career has been less than astonishing, but he was a good college player who averaged 16-6 in the ’07-08 season alongside Beasley.

Curtis Kelly – Forward, 6 ft 8 in, 239 lbs.

Jacob Pullen – Guard, 6 ft, 200 lbs.

Denis Clemente – Guard, 6 ft 1 in, 180 lbs.

#3 North Carolina

It’s been a very rough year for Roy Williams and the Tar Heels. They always have talent, and they lost quite a few guys to the NBA who still had eligibility remaining. Wayne Ellington and Ty Lawson are obvious choices, but people forget about Brandan Wright, who left after his freshman season in 2007.

Wayne Ellington* – Guard, 6 ft 5 in, 202 lbs.

Ty Lawson* – Guard, 5 ft 11 in, 195 lbs.

Brandan Wright* – Forward, 6 ft 9 in, 205 lbs.

Deon Thompson – Forward, 6 ft 9 in, 245 lbs.

Ed Davis – Forward, 6 ft, 10 in, 225 lbs.

Be sure to cast your votes for the East and South regions as well as the West and Midwest, the polls will close Monday at midnight are closed, and we’ll post the Elite Eight match-ups Tuesday.

Alex Chalupka - Originally from the Baltimore-Washington area, Alex is a huge Baltimore Ravens and Maryland Terrapins fan who currently resides in Little Rock, Arkansas. He’s also an Orioles fan and follows the NBA and other sports as objectively as possible. He enjoys writing about all sports and is the founder/editor of - Follow him on Twitter here - Visit his personal website

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