Three headlines to consider heading into March Madness
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From the moment that the field of 68 teams was announced and set on Selection Sunday, fans all around the globe immediately grabbed their pens and brackets and went to work. In a season that has left us with no hands on favorite heading into the tournament, (although some may argue Florida), along with the overloaded Midwest region, things are shaping up for one of the most intriguing NCAA Tournaments in recent years.
As everyone is tuning in to the play-in games and completing their final bracket, there are three headlines that I would like to point out for everyone to follow heading into the first weekend and through out the remainder of the tournament.
The first headline that I will touch on is the overload of top programs in the Midwest Region. With what seems to be one of the most controversial seeding layouts from the selection committee in quite some time, many are beginning to question and criticize the decision making process that went into the format of the Midwest Region. Many argue that Wichita State deserves the one seed just based off of the historic undefeated season.
Although that is a great accomplishment, I can’t help but take a step back and look at who their competition was through out the season. If Duke, Louisville, and Michigan had their schedule then they all would be fighting for the No.1 seed with an unblemished record as well. The No.1 seed is supposed to have an easier path set out for them (on paper, of course) to get to the Final Four.
As we all know, it is never that simple, but for Wichita State to make it to the Final Four, they would have to get through Kentucky in the second round, Louisville in the Sweet 16, Duke or possibly Michigan in the Elite Eight, and most likely Arizona in the Final Four. Good luck with that, Wichita State.
The second headline to look out for is the play of Syracuse, who at times throughout the season looked like a clear-cut shoe in for a one seed. Syracuse, who is the 3-seed in the South Region, is coming into the tournament losing five of their last seven games and is desperately trying to get back to where they were mid February when they were ranked number one overall.
This team is too talented and too well coached to not find a way to get back on the right track. If they rally behind their star players, C.J. Fair, Tyler Ennis, and Jerami Grant, and go back to playing that suffocating defense that led the way for them in the first half of the season, then Syracuse is my favorite to come out of the South Region.
My final headline is the highly anticipated match up between the six-seed Ohio State Buckeyes and the 11-seed Dayton Flyers. Outside of the in-state rivalry that this matchup will bring, there are other outside factors that make this match up even more intriguing.
Flyers guard Jordan Sibert, former Buckeye, will go up against his former team for the first time since transferring to UD. Look for Sibert to come out aggressive as he looks to show his old team what they let go on top of trying to help his Flyers pull off the upset.
I have Ohio State coming away with the win because of their defense. Craft is a heck of a defender and if anyone can shut down a motivated Sibert, it’s him.
It is the best tournament in all of sports and now it is time for everyone to put their pens and brackets away, turn on the television and enjoy the art that is March Madness.