As the regular season for college basketball winds down it’s getting to be that time of year again. Teams and fans are preparing their game and brackets for “The Big Dance,” otherwise known as March Madness which kicks off on March 15 in Dayton, Ohio.
This tournament is going to look different than any in the past with top-ranked teams losing to low-ranked teams more so than ever.
“This year basketball has kind of turned upside down. Among the top 10 [teams] there’s like 30-something losses and last year among the top 10 there were nine combined losses going into the tournament,” Sawyer Weddle, sophomore guard for the Kingsmen basketball team, said.
The high number of upsets among the top-seeds is going to make this tournament even more unpredictable than usual.
“I think that no game is a guaranteed win for the top seeds. They’ve had great seasons, but none of that matters come March,” Connor McGuire, senior and former Kingsmen basketball forward, said.
As of now the No. 1 Kansas University Jayhawks are by popular belief the team to watch going into the tournament. They have won 16 of 17 games and have an overall record of 27-4.
“Kansas will be the team to watch because they’re number one right now. They’ve been hot,” Weddle said.
With the high number of upsets, it is hard to know what teams will be top seeded when March 15 rolls around.
“It’s changing every week who is No. 1 and people are losing to unranked teams,” Weddle said.
This could be the first year that fans would see a No. 1 lose to a No. 16 in the first rounds of the tournament, causing huge upsets in brackets and the overall outcome of the tournament.
“You might see a one lose because if a 16 plays a good playin game they’re going to have momentum going into the tournament with the upside down field,” Weddle said.
No. 2 Michigan State has an overall record of 26-5 and has won 15 games in a row. The Spartans also have senior guard Denzel Valentine who averages 19.6 points and 7.5 assists per game, according to ESPN. Weddle said Valentine is a player to watch throughout the tournament.
Along with Valentine, Buddy Hield, senior guard from No. 6 Oklahoma “is a special talent,” Geoffry Dains, assistant Kingsmen basketball coach, said. Hield averages 17.4 points per game.
Aside from the well-known players across the country, the unpredictability of this tournament could cause a higher caliber of play and more outstanding players to gain recognition.
“I believe that someone is going to blossom in the tournament that no one has heard of,” Dains said.
The brackets will be released on “Selection Sunday” March 13. The NCAA Selection Committee will pick the 68 teams that will make it into the tournament. “Any team in the top 25 is going to be in it,” Weddle said.
The four lowest ranked teams will play each other on March 15 and 16 to determine who will advance into the next round of the tournament on March 17-20. From there the winners will move onto the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight on March 25 and 27, followed by the Final Four games on April 2. The championship game will be played April 4 in the NRG Stadium in Houston, TX.
People around the country will be tuning into the games and getting involved by creating brackets.
“Don’t just wait for the NCAA tournament, some of the best college games played are in the conference tournaments,” Dains said. “This is a great opportunity to see other great teams, players and coaches.”
Published March 9th, 2016