Yes ladies and gentlemen it is that time again. It is time for the greatest televised sporting event in the world. The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament begins this week. As always there are some questionable teams in the tournament and some seemingly deserving teams left out.
It is hard to explain how Syracuse made the field and teams like South Carolina and Monmouth did not get a nod. The easy explanation for South Carolina is their weak non-conference schedule. However, by that logic Florida and Georgia have a complaint as one ranking shows the Gators with the 4th toughest non-conference schedule and the Bulldogs with the 6th most difficult. It is likely that either of those two teams would have been in with just one more win either in their conference schedule or their conference tournament. However, each lost to one of the top two teams in the SEC and played them down to the wire in the conference tournament. Perhaps, the committee has sent a message that playing a difficult non-conference schedule can hurt more than it helps. Monmouth won 27 games and somehow did not make it in.
Be that as it may, the field is set and this one promises to be a challenging bracket to pick. There is no truly dominant team. Nor are there many small school teams that look likely to be this year’s “Cinderella” making a deep run in the Big Dance. In a rare occurrence, the likely first pick in the NBA draft is not in the tournament as LSU and star Ben Simmons fell far short of making it.
If you are looking to me for insight to help you fill out your bracket, you are off track. I have changed my mind on who I pick to win the thing three times already since the brackets were announced. I think Kansas has the best overall body of work. I think North Carolina is playing the best basketball coming into the tournament. The young talent for the Kentucky Wildcats seems to be figuring it out and coming together at just the right time and nobody wants to face them in the tourney.
Michigan State, Texas A&M, Virginia, Villanova, Oregon and Arizona all have the potential to win it all. It is likely that most brackets will be in trouble by the end of week one but if everyone is in trouble you still have a chance. Of course, the always dangerous Louisville is not eligible for this tournament as the school tries to sort out the sordid mess surrounding the program.
All I can say is find somewhere to fill out a bracket and then sit back and watch the fun. There should be some great games in this tourney and I expect a lot of last second heroics. That is what makes this the greatest sporting event for television. Everyone can have a vested interest in the outcome of every game even if it’s just for bragging rights. That makes for three weeks of spectator fun and excitement. Good luck and may your bracket be a winner. Unless you are in the same pool I’m in that is.