UNITED STATES—It has arrived: March Madness is officially upon us! The NCAA has chosen its teams to compete during the pinnacle of college basketball where its either you win or you head home; there is NO SECOND CHANCES! This is what I love about March Madness. For those, who haven’t started to fill out your bracket, what are you waiting for?
There were some fun matchups before the Selection Committee unveiled its placement of the 68 teams competing for the biggest prize in college basketball. For starters, Duke received the highest #1 overall seed and rightfully so. Duke has been stellar this season and they are a formidable foe. However, here is the thing that people keep failing to realize about the NCAA tournament: anyone can lose at any given time.
All it takes is to have one bad game and you’re out. Duke might be the team to beat, but that does not mean Mike Krzyzewski and his star athlete Zion Williamson can’t be knocked off their pedestal. Duke is the #1 seed in the East and it seems the game that everyone is looking forward to is Duke vs. Michigan State University. These two teams are likely to meet in the Elite 8 and I’m eager for the matchup.
Look, let’s be clear, which I think everyone including myself is in agreement with: the Spartans received the short-end of the stick. They defeated the Michigan Wolverines not once, not twice, but three times during the season. In addition to a stellar record, they won the Big Ten Championship game, yet they still get ranked a #2 seed, the same as there in state rival: the Wolverines.
I’ve always had issues with the Selection Committee and their decision to decide who receives a #1 seed and what teams get in and are close, but not close enough. There have to be some changes in the qualifications to land into the tournament. With that being said, I’m a Spartan and I will not discount their ability to take out Duke. Will it be hard, you better believe it, but impossible, not by a long shot. Anyone thinking otherwise, just look at the 2009 NCAA Tournament. No one expected the Spartans to go as far as they did, but low and behold they made it to the Championship game.
Virginia picked up a #1 seed in the South region, with the North Carolina Tar Heels picking up a #1 seed in the Midwest. Rounding out the #1 seeds was Gonzaga in the West region. I love the South region because the notion of Virginia going toe-to-toe with Kansas State or even Tennessee (a more formidable opponent) would be an exciting game to watch. The Midwest region seems like a cakewalk for the Tar Heels. The only worthy opponent I see is the Kansas Jayhawks and Kentucky.
If I had to place my bets, we’ll be seeing Kentucky and the Tar Heels going to battle for the Midwest Regional final and it would be a game I’d be glued to watch. Out of all the regions the West seems the weakest to me. I mean Gonzaga doesn’t have too many hurdles to overcome to make it to the Elite 8. If there are teams to seriously look out for its #3 seed Texas Tech and #2 seed Michigan. Michigan, while a strong team is having difficulty closing out games when needed. They could potentially be an opponent for Gonzaga, but they’ll have to take out Texas Tech first and that will be a game worth watching.
The butterflies of the NCAA tournament are always underway in the first few days after the announcement of the teams competing for the biggest prize, but we really won’t know where things stand until after the first weekend of games. We know there will be upsets; we come to expect it and quite frankly I’m all for it. That makes watching basketball that much more fun.
With that being said the teams I’m selecting for the final four are: Michigan State, Tennessee, Kentucky and Texas Tech. Yes, I don’t have any #1 seeds because it seems everyone thinks they’re a given to make it to the final four and I think this might be one of the most shocking NCAA tournaments we’ve seen in years. When the dust settles I see Michigan State taking on Kentucky in the National Championship game. If I’m wrong I’m wrong, but I’ve placed my bets how about you?