Well it is once again the most wonderful time of the year, no not The Holiday Season, no not even back to school time, but the National pastime of filling out a bracket and bluffing at work or in class watching The NCAA Tournament. The field of 68 teams is now set and people everywhere are doing everything they can to win, whether filling out an office pool for job bragging rights or trying your hand at Warren Buffets billion dollar bracket challenge with ESPN people from all over will partake in this event. Here Is What We Know:
FIRST FOUR: The NCAA tournament hasn’t started on Thursday for years, but there may be more interest than ever in the four “First Four” games played Tuesday and Wednesday in Dayton, Ohio. Sure, Albany and Mount St. Mary’s are probably playing for a chance to be whipped by overall No. 1 seed Florida, and the winner of Cal Poly-Texas Southern will have to face unbeaten Wichita State. But the other two games feature some notable names: Iowa and Tennessee are vying to be the No. 11 seed and North Carolina State and Xavier will battle to be the No. 12 seed in the South Region.
LAST FOUR: The drama of Selection Sunday often centers on the teams that were left out, and this year was no different. SMU didn’t have consecutive losses until ending the regular season with defeats to Louisville and Memphis, but a loss to Houston in its AAC tournament opener bumped the Mustangs from the NCAA tournament to the NIT. Florida State, Green Bay and Georgetown were also left hanging when the final teams were placed in the bracket.
REGION TO WATCH: Even coaches who landed in other regions pointed to the Midwest as the most brutal road to the Final Four in Arlington, Texas. Along with the top-seeded Shockers, you have two of the hottest teams in the country in Louisville and Michigan – who played in last year’s national title game – and perennial powerhouses Duke and Kentucky.
ODDS: It was no surprise that Florida was installed as the early favorite to win the national championship by the Las Vegas odds makers.Several that put out lines immediately after the bracket was revealed had the Gators at 4-1. Michigan State, Arizona and Kansas were in the next tier of favorites, followed by a group that included Wichita State, Virginia, Duke, Syracuse and Louisville.
All in all there are a variety of story lines and match-ups that will contribute to the madness and overall parity of the NCAA basketball tournament to crown a champion so they can have their “shinning moment”.