It’s spring somewhere, I just know it is! However, that somewhere is not here.
In Monday’s blog we talked about the Missouri Tigers and their chances or lack thereof in the NCAA basketball tournament. Today I want to spend a few minutes talking about the rest of the field in what I think is one of the most balanced tournaments in recent memory.
There are no great teams in college basketball this year in my opinion. There are a lot of good teams but this year’s tournament doesn’t appear to have any teams that appear to be able to just run off with the whole thing with nobody coming close to beating them. I do not expect a lot of blowouts in this tournament although I’m sure there will be a few the first couple of days but I don’t think there will be many. Louisville is the No. 1 seed overall but I think that’s mainly because someone has to be. Kansas is considered the No 2 seed overall although that is kind of subjective since there are four regions and each has a No. 1 seed. I will be very surprised if Kansas makes it to the final 4 and don’t see them going any further than the Sweet 16. I just don’t think they are that good of a team nor are they particularly talented. I think that most of the major conferences in college basketball were down this year and Kansas benefited from that. This is the first time in history that the two top seeds in the tournament have both lost three games in a row at some point during the regular season. The other two top regional seeds, Gonzaga and Indiana both had good years with Indiana appearing to peak earlier in the year and kind of limping into the tournament while Gonzaga surged late but also showed some inconsistency at various points during the year.
Every tournament seems to have a team that comes out of nowhere to make a great run which in the case of Butler a couple of years ago can carry them right to the finals. If I had to pick one team who could possibly do that this year it would be the St. Louis University Billikens. SLU plays in the Atlantic 10 and not all of their games are even televised. The ones that are tend to be on CBS Sports Network which is only available locally to those of us with Dish Network or DirecTV. Their victory over VCU on Sunday to win the Atlantic 10 tournament was shown on CBS but that’s the exception rather than the rule. This tournament will be far and away the biggest stage they have played on all year with more exposure than they have gotten all year. The team has had its share of adversity as their coach Rick Majerus died at the beginning of the season after battling heart issues. They have really turned up the intensity of late and may be playing better than any team in the country right now. If the pressure doesn’t get to them they could go a long way in the tournament. I really think they could be an Elite 8 team if things go their way. This would be a major accomplishment for a university that has had good teams in the past but has always been overshadowed by Missouri and Illinois.
Regardless of who winds up making it into the finals I think this tournament could be one of the best ones in recent memory with a lot of drama and close games throughout the next three weeks. This tournament has been in my mind anyway the hardest tournament to fill out brackets for and I did so knowing that many of the games even in the early rounds could go either way. I can’t wait for the madness to kick into high gear on Thursday.
We’ll be back on Friday with a look at Missouri’s first game in the NCAA tournament and hopefully talking about their next one as well as all the other happenings on the first day of March Madness. We are in the process of trying to set up a Facebook page for the blog as well so stay tuned for details on that. Thanks as always for supporting this blog and please do the same for all the other blogs on this site.
Have a wonderful Wednesday.