The stage is set. The NCAA has selected its field of 68 for this year’s tournament. Play has already begun as the opening round took place March 13th-14th at Dayton. This year, like every other year, has been another crazy year for NCAA Basketball. We have seen Kentucky own the SEC, sweeping the regular season with their only blemish being a loss in the SEC Championship game to Vanderbilt. The SEC is wrapped up by Florida, Vanderbilt, and Alabama. The Big East once again flexed its muscles sending 9 out of 16 teams to the tourney, with Syracuse leading the way as the Big East tournament champions. The others include Marquette, Georgetown, Louisville, Notre Dame, Connecticut, Cincinnati, West Virginia, and The University of South Florida. The Big Ten had another great year, sending 5 teams ranked in the top 15 in addition to unranked Purdue. They are highlighted by #1 seed MSU in the West region, who is coming off the Big Tournament win. The Big 12 also sent 6 teams, lead by the Big 12 tournament champion, Missouri, and runner-up, Baylor. The Pac 10 showed that country that they do not deserve to be the “Power 6” conferences by only sending Colorado and Cal, #11 and #12 seeds respectively. The ACC is represented by the typical powerhouses Duke and UNC, wrapped up by Florida State, Virginia, and NC State. This year, the Mid Majors made some pretty big noise; the biggest being Wichita State, Murray State, Creighton.
With this stage, I look forward to another crazy March Madness. Here are some of my thoughts and analysis that explain my bracket down below:
• The Big Ten to be represented well by all 6 team, with MSU and OSU in the Final Four. My biggest concern is Michigan, with inconsistency seen recently with Burke and Hardaway.
• The Big East will once again struggle like last year, sending only Marquette to the Elite Eight, and none to the Final Four.
• Bracket Busters will include #6 UNLV, #10 Harvard, and #6 SDSU.
• First round upsets will include #13 Davidson over #4 Louisville, #14 Belmont over #3 Georgetown, #14 St. Bonaventure over #3 Florida State.
• Kentucky will be the team to go 5-0 in the tournament and win the Championship.