NCAA Southeast Bracket Breakdown: How far can the Badgers go?

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So the Badgers still got a No. 4 seed. And despite getting shipped out to Tuscon, they were also put in the Southeast region, which appears to be the most favorable of the four.

Pittsburgh must be drooling right now. Look at it from the Panthers' perspective. If they can take care of business against Butler or Old Dominion, they get to play a Kansas State team that underperformed for the majority of the season or a Wisconsin team that just scored 33 points against Penn State. And if they make the Elite Eight, their opponents could be St. John's (which just lost D.J. Kennedy for the rest of the season), BYU (which is clearly not the same team without Brandon Davies) or Florida (who just got blown out by Kentucky in the SEC Championship Game).

I'm not saying none of these teams are capable of making a run, but if you're Pittsburgh, you have to be happy.

But the thing is, if you're any of those other teams I just mentioned -- and throw UCLA, Michigan State and even Gonzaga in there as well -- you have to be confident as well. This is a region with Pittsburgh as the clear favorite and a bunch of other teams capable of beating the Panthers on any given day. Good luck picking this one.

So can the Badgers make a run and win the Southeast? Here's a look at their possible opponents (note, we left out the 14, 15 and 16 seeds):

 

Second Round

No. 13 Belmont (30-4, Won Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament)

The Bruins have outscored its opponents by an average of 18.5 points per game this season and 11 players get at least 10 minutes a game so they can wear down their opponents. Belmont averages nine threes a game, but they also have two bigs who average 10 points per game.

Third Round

No. 5 Kansas State (22-10, at-large)

Like Belmont, the Wildcats have depth. Ten players average at least 12 minutes a game, which could explain why KSU is doing the opposite of wearing down. They won their last six regular season games before losing to Colorado in the Big 12 tournament.

No. 12 Utah State (30-3, Won WAC Tournament)

Two 30-win teams in Wisconsin's pod? Tough break. The Aggies are good enough to beat Kansas State with their balanced offense. At one point this season, Utah State won 17 games in a row.

Sweet 16

No. 1 Pittsburgh (27-5, at-large)

According to the RPI, Pitt is the weakest No. 1 seed, which makes you wonder why they got the easiest draw. But any team that won the Big East ouright is dead scary. Ashton Gibbs and Brad Wanamaker form a great backcourt, but the Panthers have lost three of their last six games.

No. 8 Butler (23-9, Won Horizon League Tournament)

They might not have Gordon Heyward anymore, but this is a veteran team with Final Four experience and that's more than any other team in this region can say.

No. 9 Old Dominion (27-6, Won Colonial Athletic Conference Tournament)

A fashionable upset pick, the Monarchs have won 13 of 14 games with their only loss coming against George Mason -- a No. 8 seed like Butler. Old Dominion beat Notre Dame in the first round of the tournament last year.

Elite Eight

No. 2 Florida (26-6, at-large)

The Gators are somewhat of a surprise team this year but are coming off an awful performance against Kentucky in the SEC Championship Game. They won their first regular season SEC title since 2007.

No. 6 St. John's (21-11, at-large)

Some would say this team is having success a year early and it's really remarkable what Steve Lavin has been able to do in his first season. Unfortunately senior starter D.J. Kennedy was lost for the season in the Big East Tournament with a knee injury.

No. 7 UCLA (22-10, at-large)

The Bruins come limping into the tournament after they dropped their Pac-10 opener to Oregon.

No. 10 Michigan State (19-14, at-large)

It's been a weird season for the Spartans and the Big Ten Tournament summed it up best. After blowing out Purdue by 18-points, MSU looked uninspired the next day and lost to Penn State. These players have the talent to make another Final Four run, but do they have the character?

No. 11 Gonzaga (24-9, Won WCC tournament)

The Zags started off 13-8, but reeled off nine straight wins to end the season and get into the tournament. They are peaking at the right time.

So there it is. How many of these teams scare you?

I think Jon Leuer said it best Sunday when said the Badgers are capable of beating all of these teams, but they are also capable of losing to all of them.

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