The month of madness is upon us, as the 2015 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, is now only a few days away. The mayhem begins on March 17, so it’s time to get your brackets ready and enjoy over two weeks of non-stop basketball action.
The tournament consists of 68 teams competing for the opportunity to win a National Championship. Whether you’re a diehard basketball fan or not, the NCAA Tournament provides entertainment for nearly everyone to enjoy. The tournament is always full of drama. The games are always nail biters, and it is extremely rare to see a team blow out the opposition, which is great entertainment for the fans perspective.
What makes the tournament so interesting and exciting, is the fact that nearly every team has the chance to win the tournament, despite their seeding. This is why predicting the outcome of the games proves to be a rather difficult challenge. Fans and sports analysis’s, have to account for the fact that there will be upsets left and right, when filling out their brackets. Every year the tournament has one or two Cinderella teams that define the odds against them, and surprise everyone with a deep run in the tournament.
For instance, last year in the South region, the eleventh seed Dayton Flyers, shocked everyone when they defeated the sixth seed Ohio State Buckeyes in the first round, and then knocked off Syracuse, who was a third seed. Dayton would then go on to defeat Stanford in the Sweet Sixteen round, and was only one win away from reaching the Final Four, for the first time in school history, before finally losing by ten points to the number one seed Florida Gators.
Unpredictably, I found myself cheering for Dayton, and even though I have no emotional ties to the school, the underdog factor the team represented had me absolutely mesmerized with their success. As of now, college basketball experts has Dayton as an eighth seed in the Midwest region. The Flyers could potentially face the undefeated Kentucky Wildcats, who is currently the number one ranked team in the nation, in the Sweet Sixteen round, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they somehow pull off a miracle and defeat the Wildcats.
Speaking of the Kentucky Wildcats, they are the heavy favorite to be the team cutting down the nets at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana, which is the site of this years Final Four, and rightfully so. The Wildcats have yet to lose a game this season, and it’s feasible to believe the school will win their ninth National Title. Kentucky has had three Final Four appearances in the last four years. The Wildcats won a National Championship back in 2012, and was the runner up in the tournament last year, when they lost to UConn in the title game. The schools recent success has one particular student at Black Hawk rooting against them.
“I want to see Kentucky not only lose, but get blown out! I’m so tired of seeing them having success in the tournament, it drives me crazy,” Kyle Norbury said.
The odds of Kentucky going undefeated and winning a National Title, is literally a coin toss. In the seventy-six year history of the NCAA Tournament, seven out of the sixteen teams that entered the tournament undefeated went on to win a championship. However, only twenty-two teams that were ranked number one in the Associated Press poll prior to the start of the tournament went on to win a championship. Only time will tell if the Wildcats are able to complete the perfect season with a championship, but the storyline is just another reason to get excited about the tournament.
Unfortunately, for Illinois residents, it doesn’t appear that the state will have a representative in the tournament. However, the state of Iowa will more than likely have three Universities in the tournament, Iowa, Iowa State, and Northern Iowa. The Northern Iowa Panthers, who are currently predicted as a fourth seed in the East region, could possibly make a Cinderella run of their own. Their last NCAA Tournament appearance was back in 2010, where they defeated the overall number one seed Kansas Jayhawks in the opening round.
The Panthers made it to the Sweet Sixteen round, but ended up losing to the Michigan State Spartans. The Iowa State Cyclones, who made it to the Sweet Sixteen last year, has had an impressive season so far, and they more than likely will be the third seed in the Midwest region. The Cyclones definitely will have their work cut out for them, as they will be in the same region as Kentucky, Wisconsin, and Louisville.
My prediction for the winner of the tournament is a number one seed, but it’s not Kentucky. I have the Duke Blue Devils, who will likely be the one seed in the South region, defeating the Wisconsin Badgers in the Championship game, and winning their fifth National Title in the schools history.
The official bracket will be finalized on March 14, which is known as “Selection Sunday,” when 68 teams will be selected and seeded. The first round begins on March 17, so fill out those brackets and enjoy the madness that is the NCAA Tournament.