March Madness preview

March Madness preview
March 08
00:00 2018

Finally we have reached the most anticipated collegiate sports month of the year, March Madness!  Everyone, even those who are not sports fans, can’t wait to fill out their brackets for the Men’s NCAA college basketball tournament.  This year should be more fun than others in recent history because there is not a dominant team in the nation.

For the past two years going into the NCAA tournament, the UNC Tar Heels went into the tournament as the consensus best team in the nation.  They walked away with the 2017 national championship and were runner-up the year before.

This year we don’t seem to have a team that everyone is willing to place their bets on, so to speak.  The rankings in the Top 10 have really been a revolving door all year.  Going into the season, the Duke Blue Devils were ranked Number One.  They are still one of the better teams in the nation, but following some questionable losses recently they are a question mark heading into conference tournament play.

The Tar Heels lost a lot of pieces from their championship squad last year.  They are a formidable team that looks to have a slight chance to make it to the Final Four, but the national championship looks to be out of reach.

Some of the other blue blood basketball programs, such as Kansas and Kentucky, are good but not expected to cut down the nets in San Antonio, which leaves the door open for others to make a push. 

Virginia now sits atop the poll as the Number One team in the country.  Since taking over the Cavalier program in 2009, head coach Tony Bennett has consistently maintained a quality team in Charlottesville. 

The one problem Virginia has had in recent years is their slow pace of play has not yeilded any deep runs in the tournament.  Virginia plays tough defense but come tournament time, their offense doesn’t always match up against their opponents.

The Michigan State Spartans have hovered around the Top Five all season.  They currently sit at 28-3 on the year and look to be a tough out come tournament time.  They are the Number Two team in the rankings and with a good showing at the conference tournament, they very well may have a Number One seed come the tourney.

Another team to look out for is the Villanova Wildcats.  The Wildcats are the 2016 national champions and head coach Jay Wright has another talented team at his disposal.  Led by junior guard Jalen Brunson, the Wildcats have a great chance to capture another chip.

Other programs such as Xavier, Purdue and Gonzaga have positioned themselves very well for a great seed in the tournament.  Granted these schools are not traditional powerhouses in college basketball, but with the lack of a true top dog in the field it’s really anyone’s race.

I must say it is a good year for college basketball when there is so much ambiguity as far as the best team is concerned.  Sometimes a dominant team can take a little bit of the luster out of tournament and the Final Four.

The conference tournaments will help sort things out a little bit heading into the Big Dance.  Normally the better teams rise to the top and play their best this time of the year.

For me, my money is on the Michigan State University Spartans.  Led by star sophomore Miles Bridges, the Spartans have the tools to win it all.  I can’t count out Duke or Villanova because of their quality coaches.

I have no shame in admitting this year I will be filling out multiple brackets for the tournament, as I am not so certain in my choice of the Spartans.  Last year I filled out one bracket as I was sure the Tar Heels would win it all, but this year, who knows.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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