This year’s NCAA men’s basketball tournament should be one of the best ever…. despite several mistakes by the committee on team choices.
The San Diego State Aztecs were the top-seed by far in the Mountain West Conference Tournament, but they fell in the tournament championship game to the Fresno State Bulldogs. The Aztecs went 25-9 overall and 16-2, while a team like Syracuse gets to dance. That’s just ACC biased and a complete joke.
The Valparaiso Crusaders should be dancing. The team only lost six games over the entire year and only lost two contests in the Horizon League. An upset the Green Bay Phoenix in that tournament led to the Valpo being sent to the NIT. Despite a loss, Valpo gave the number 1 seed Oregon Ducks all they could handle early in the season, losing by 6.
However, the biggest flub is the Monmouth Hawks, I already had them penciled in to the Sweet 16. Not only did they play against and have success against more quality non-conference opponents than virtually any other mid-major team as they beat the UCLA Bruins, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, and USC Trojans, but they then went on to dominate the MAAC in the regular season by going 17-3 in conference play. It’s a shame that an upset by Iona kept the Hawks from flying and busting a lot of brackets.
It upset me that my Georgia Dawgs failed to dance after playing their hearts out in Nashville. They played the third toughest schedule in the country and danced with Kentucky until late in the second half last weekend. However, this team gives me hope for the future. J.J. Frazier will come back as heart and soul of the team next year and will provide leadership that Kenny Gaines and Charles Mann failed to do this year.
Toss in Yante Maten returning and growing the Dawgs have a pretty good 1-2 combo. You cant forget how much Turtle Jackson grew over the later part of the year and Derek Oglebide really came on strong in the paint. It should be a good year for UGA next year.
Bad pairings? Kentucky looks like they will draw Indiana in the second round (if the Hoosers can get back a really good Chattonooga team). Make that a 12-5 game for the Hoosers if could really be upset city for the Mocs.
Same thing for Duke, who got a West bracket draw and a likely 2nd round game with Baylor.
Favorite pairings? I don’t know who Tom Izzo at Michigan State has in his pocket, but a 2 seed with Virginia at the top sets up nicely for the Spartans.
Either way, 6 teams (Kansas, UNC, Kentucky, Michigan State, Oklahoma, Nova) were ranked number 1 this year, with numerous turnovers throughout. My money says 4 of these teams (not North Carolina) will meet in Houston in a few weeks.
Let the madness begin.
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