Sunday was selection Sunday for the Men’s NCAA Championship Basketball Tournament. That means today starts the next two weeks of pure college basketball excitement on a continuous basis. That also means “Bracket Mania ” will overcome college basketball fans ranging from the novice to the simply emphatic
People of all types young and old, men and women will all try to fill out a basketball bracket in an attempt to try to win some type of pool and in most cases collect some extra cash. So called experts try to tell us which teams to pick as winners and which teams will pull off major upsets. I love this because there are no experts when it comes to trying to pick the winners of the college basketball tournament.
Think about it. There are 64 teams ( 68 if you count the “Play-in” Games ) playing for one National Championship.The eventual tournament winner will have to win six straight games to claim the national title.If any of the play in teams were to win the title that team would have to win seven games in a row. Once a team is in the tournament the objective is to pull off a winning streak against the best competition in the country. So, I think anyone can win, well almost anyone. There are those who I think are doomed from the start.
The number one overall seed in this year’s tournament is defending champion Villanova; the wildcats won last year’s championship game on a shot at the buzzer knocking off North Carolina. Speaking of the Tar Heels they are also a number one seed joining Kansa and Gonzaga to complete the “Top Four”.
That being said all of the excitement tips off Tuesday with the “Play-in” games. These games are for those teams that the selection committee saw fit to make prove they deserve to be in the tournament.
This year as in almost every year there are only two HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) involved in the “Big Dance”. North Carolina Central ( The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference champ) and Texas Southern ( The South Western Athletic Conference champ) are the two schools representing HBCU hoops this year. The Eagles of North Carolina Central who have 25 wins this season will have to participate in one of the “Play-In” games. Should they win their reward is to play top-seeded Kansas in the Midwest Region. The Tigers of Texas Southern who have 23 wins this season do not have to participate in a “Play-in” game, but they will not have it any easier as they will play North Carolina.
So let me set up the Brackets for you in the East Region you have Villanova, Duke, Baylor and Florida as the top four teams. Villanova has 31 wins against only 3 losses all season long and look to have a very good chance to win this region. The Wildcats could pull off the winning streak needed to win the title. Their last loss was the final game of the regular season, but they just wrapped up their conference tournament claiming the “Big East” Title. So they are already in the midst of a five-game winning streak.
The University of Kansas, Louisville, Oregon, and Purdue are the top four teams in the Mid-West Region. Kansas is a top four seed for the 13th straight time, but that does not guarantee the Jay hawks the national title. (Watch out for Michigan, Michigan State, and Miami).
The South Region has North Carolina, Kentucky, UCLA and Butler as the top four teams and I think that UNC is in trouble. Kentucky and UCLA are dangerous when they are playing well ( But then again who isn’t). Wichita State and Middle Tennessee State are also in this bracket and they are giant killers. Both the Shockers and the Blue Raiders have 30 wins a piece this season, do don’t overlook either team.
Out West the Bulldogs of Gonzaga are the top team joined by Arizona State, Florida State and West Virginia. The ‘Zags” have only lost one time in 33 games and that to me means if they can find their groove they could win the tournament.I would not bet all my money on them. This bracket also has giant killers in it ( Florida Gulf Coast, Xavier, Bucknell and VCU).
Trevin A Jones
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