March Madness is back again as always and is already in full swing. The season is almost over with most teams having just two regular season games left to play and then their conference tournaments. However, those two games and the tournament could either make or break their chance to make the NCAA Tournament.
Last year, the Wichita State Shockers entered the NCAA Tournament as the first undefeated team since UNLV did it in 1991. This year we have something similar: the Kentucky Wildcats have been virtually perfect in every sense of basketball. What is more amazing about Kentucky’s undefeated run is that they play in a Power 5 conference – the SEC – whereas the Shockers play in the Missouri Valley Conference.
The No. 1 ranked Wildcats have wins over some of the best teams in the country. These teams include Nos. 8 Kansas, 25 Providence, Texas, 15 North Carolina, UCLA, 17 Louisville, LSU, and 18 Arkansas.
Along with Kentucky, my current No. 1 seeds would be Virginia, Villanova and Duke.
Of course there is also the infamous “bubble.” CBS Sports currently has Illinois (18-11), Texas A&M (20-8), Boise State (22-7) and BYU (23-8) as the Last 4 In for the bracket and Pittsburgh (19-11), Temple (20-9), Texas (17-12) and UCLA (18-12) as the Last 4 Out to not make the big dance. USA Today has Tulsa (21-7), Boise State, Oregon (22-8), and Davidson (21-6) currently in and BYU, Texas, UCLA, and Stanford (18-10) all out.
The pressure on these teams is very high, it’s a win-and-you’re-in and a lose-and-you’re-out kind of thing. However, the teams currently not in the Last 4 In or the Last 4 Out can still play their way in or out of the tournament.
The First Four games of the tournament are held in Dayton, Ohio, and are considered play-in games. If a team wins, they advance to the field of 64, if they lose: You go home.
The games start on March 17-18 in Dayton followed by the round of 64 on March 19-21 in Jacksonville, Louisville, Pittsburgh, and Portland. The round of 32 will be March 20-22 in Charlotte, Seattle, Omaha, and Columbus. Cleveland and Los Angeles will host the Sweet 16 on March 26-28 and Houston and Syracuse will hold the Elite 8 on March 27-29. The Final Four will be held in Indianapolis on April 4-6.
Enjoy the “Madness” that is March.