The NCAA tournament is perhaps the best moment in college sports in the entire year. Sixty-Eight teams are invited to the “dance” and eight of these teams have to play in a “play in” game to make it to the second round. The second round is really the first round, because this is the round in which every team plays. There are four “regions” in which sixteen teams are invited to participate. In each region teams are ranked from #1-16 and play each other in descending order. This means the #1 plays the #16, #2 plays #15, #3 plays #14, and so on and so forth. The #1 seed plays the winner of the #8-9 game, then the winner of the #4-13 and #5-12 game winner. The worst position to be in is the #8 or #9 seed, because after a tough first game you have to beat a #1 seed. There are four #1 seeds, so these four teams are the best in the country. March Madness is popular throughout the United States. People fill out brackets to prove to their friends their knowledge about NCAA hoops. Upsets are the reason many watch, as people love seeing perennial powers, like Kentucky and Duke, lose to unknowns like South Dakota State. In March Madness you always have to expect the unexpected. There is no home court; each game is played at a neutral site.
I believe that there are eight teams that can take a #1 seed in the “dance”. These teams are Duke, Michigan, Kansas, Syracuse, Florida, Indiana, Arizona, and Louisville. Each team is a regular in the tournament and most of them are powerhouse universities for men’s basketball. I can’t pick a clear favorite in the pack now, but I’ll love watching to see who takes home the crown. Or maybe, (upset-alert) a completely different team will steal the spotlight and be the last one dancing.
- The first of these teams, Duke, is currently ranked #1 but a loss to the University of Miami (FL) will remove them from that spot. The backcourt of Quinn Cook, Seth Curry, Rasheed Sulaimon is very tough to cover. These three players all have different skill sets. Ryan Kelly and Mason Plumlee are a formidable force down low. With Coach K at the realm, anything can happen.
- Michigan is the most fun team to watch. Their run and gun style of play is exhilarating, don’t let them fool you though, they aren’t scared to grind out a victory or come from behind. Tre Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. provide the Wolverines superpower in the backcourt. Freshmen Nik Stauskas, Glenn Robinson III, and Mitch McGary provide depth to the Michigan attack.
- Kansas is the most consistent team in the NCAA. Freshmen Ben McLemore is the team’s leading scorer and a leader. Big man Jeff Withey, averages around five blocks a game. This team is experienced, and has the talent to go deep in the tournament.
- Syracuse is the best defensive team in the nation. This team has so much depth at the forward position and is so tough inside. The 2-3 zone is very lengthy and makes is very hard to deal with for opposing teams. Guards Brandon Triche and Michael Carter-Williams have presented consistency to the backcourt of the Orangeman.
- Florida is the deepest team overall in the country. Guards Kenny Boynton, Mike Rosario, Scottie Wilbekin, and Michael Frazier II. Frontcourt players Erik Murphy, Patric Young, and Willie Yeguete have different skill sets that play to the Gator’s strengths. Billy Donovan has created the power and this dynasty will continue this year.
- Indiana is the preseason #1 team in the country. Cody Zeller and Christian Watford are big contributors in the paint. Yogi Ferrell, Jordan Hulls, and Victor Oladipo all provide spark to the Hoosier’s squad. This team will gain experience from playing in the Big Ten, and is a pleasure to watch.
- Arizona possesses west coast toughness. This team thrives on come from behind, grind out tough victories. Transfer guard Mark Lyons provides grit to complement big men Kaleb Tarczewski and Brandon Ashley. Nick Johnson and Solomon Hill provide experience to this improving Wildcat squad.
- Louisville has east coast style. Rick Pitino’s squad presses you all 94 feet and makes you work for every inch. Guards Russ Smith and Peyton Siva bring hard nosed defense and the ability to penetrate a defense. Forwards Chane Behanan and Gorgui Dieng have skill in the post and hit the glass hard. This team would not be a pleasure to play in the NCAA, as they have the experience to beat you in tough games.
Everyone wants a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament, but it doesn’t go to everyone, so these teams will have to work to secure a top 4 spot and a #1 seed. A #1 seed doesn’t guarantee anything though, as upsets are bound to occur. The 2012-13 March Madness will be a thrill to watch and hopefully the team I pick will be the last ones dancing.