The Sunday before students return from spring break the NCAA selection committee will pick 68 teams to represent their respective conferences in the NCAA tournament. This special tournament is often referred to as March Madness by fans, namely because anything that could happen in the college basketball world usually does.
In fact, the only upset that hasnt happened yet is a 16 seed beating a one seed (they are 0-204 so far). Everything else is up for grabs and most people consider themselves lucky if their brackets have not been destroyed in upsets by the time the sweet sixteen comes around.
There are multiple contenders and possible upsets to consider for this years tournament. Usually there is a surefire overall number 1 seed by this time of year, a team that only needs to put up a strong performance in their conference tournaments in order to claim their spot.
This is not the case this year. Kansas, Indiana, Gonzaga, Michigan State, Duke, Georgetown and Miami all can have a legitimate claim to the overall number 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. But they all have their weaknesses.
Kansas has a three loss stretch that still haunts them, especially a middle loss to TCU, one of the worst teams in America. They might have to win the conference tournament to even be considered as the number one seed.
Indiana has five losses, although all to quality teams. They might have to win the conference tournament to even be considered as the number one seed.
Gonzaga has the best overall record of any team in the country, but they dont play top teams in conference like the other teams vying for the top seed. This might hurt them if it comes down to a decision between them and another team.
Miami and Duke both look good, but one is going to knock out the other and Miami has two bad losses early in the season that might hurt them. Each of these teams will need to win their conference tournament in order to have a shot at claiming the top seed in the NCAA tournament. I expect Gonzaga, Indiana, Kansas and Miami to take the one seeds, with Kansas taking the overall one seed.
March Madness would not be the same without the prospect of some big upsets. And this year there are quite a few teams that have to ability to string together one or two wins and bust brackets.
Saint Louis is a team from a mid major conference that has a great shot at making it to the sweet sixteen depending on who they face in the tournament. They have wins against Virginia Commonwealth and Butler, two teams that are all but guaranteed to make the tournament, plus they rank in the top 50 in most defensive categories, something that tends to come in handy come tournament time.
Wisconsin is another team that could stir trouble for higher ranked teams. A strong defense and above average three point shooting gives them the chance to compete with everyone. Theyve proven they can beat the best teams plus college basketball fans know you can never underestimate a Bo Ryan coached team.
Minnesota is a team that might be peaking at the right time. They were 3-8 in their last 11 games before beating then number one Indiana and are currently on a three game winning streak. The backcourt of Trevor Mbakwe and Rodney Williams is one of the best in the country.
Every year there is the prospect that someone will come out of nowhere to make it far into the tournament. So who are the prospective teams that could surprise everyone? Creighton University is a team with a solid resume but due to some late season losses might need to perform well in the Missouri Valley Conference tournament to feel comfortable come selection Sunday. But Creighton still has Doug Mcdermitt on the team. Earlier in the year he was the hot choice for player of the year. Though he has cooled off in recent weeks he still has the potential to turn it on during the tournament.
The University of Detroit is another team that might sneak in a few wins depending on who they end up playing in the tournament. The hot choice to win the Horizon League has a player just as talented as any other point guard in the nation in Ray Mcallum Jr. Detroit will go as far as he goes and if he plays well, they will have a shot at pulling off what could be the upset of the tournament.
Selection Sunday is March 17 and the NCAA Tournament will begin on March 19 and conclude with a National Championship on April 8.