Thursday, March 2, 2017

Takes On March Madness

            There are plenty of intriguing story lines going into March Madness, like specific teams set to finally make the tourney and the No. 1 seeds of the tournament. Here are some things to check out when the tournament comes around.

  1. Northwestern Finally Makes It? The Wildcats are the only big-conference team to never make the tournament. They've already broken their school record of wins in a basketball season (For the men) and have good wins over Dayton and Wisconsin. If they do good enough in the Big Ten tournament and get one or two wins, they should be set for their first appearance.
  2. The Ever-Changing Bubble: There are plenty of teams that are grabbing eyebrow-raising wins. Wake Forest just pulled a recent upset off on #8 Louisville. Georgia Tech has a nice pair of wins over ranked teams like Florida State and Notre Dame. Marquette defeated both Creighton and Villanova (One of those was a road win). Vanderbilt has good wins over teams like Florida and South Carolina. This year has seen the bubble constantly change from teams making it to teams on the outside looking in. Talk about your parity.
  3. Does Gonzaga Deserve a Number One Seed? The Bulldogs would've loved to have entered the WAC tournament undefeated, but a home loss to BYU derailed such plans. Also, wins over Florida, Iowa State, Arizona, and two wins over Saint Mary's may be nice (Especially the neutral-floor win over Arizona). But they aren't exactly setting Gonzaga's resume on fire when it comes to a No. 1 seed. These indicators might mean that Gonzaga will need to win the WAC tournament in order to get a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.
  4. Sparty Down? Tom Izzo's Spartans have been in the NCAA tournament since 1998. This run includes a national championship, a couple championship appearances, and numerous Final Fours. However, the Fightin' Izzos could be in danger of missing the tournament with an 18-12 record. Though Michigan State has had a difficult schedule this season, they've done themselves no favors by losing to Northeastern at home and losing to teams like Illinois and Penn State. Not winning a single game in the Big Ten tournament will likely send Michigan State to the NIT. 
  5. The Loaded ACC (And Big East): The ACC and Big East have a great number of teams that are either a lock for the tournament or could make the tournament. Teams like Louisville, Villanova, North Carolina, Duke, and Butler are some of the headliners for these two premier basketball conferences. Even some of the ex-pats are getting in on the fun; West Virginia, Virginia Tech, and Maryland are having tournament-worthy seasons. 

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