Tonight, the No. 1 overall seed takes on a team once ranked No. 1 and now playing its best basketball. On one side is Louisville, the favorite when the field was announced, trying to keep the national championship trophy in the state of Kentucky.
To measure the unpredictability of this year’s NCAA Tournament, consider two items that didn’t make this column: Gonzaga, a 32-win team on a 15-game win streak, didn’t survive the first weekend, and Harvard, a 14 seed, won its first ever Tournament game.
Yesterday was a relatively drama-free Selection Sunday. Joe Lunardi was a perfect 68 for 68, as Middle Tennessee State, St. Mary’s, Boise State, and La Salle claimed the final spots in the field. Louisville, Gonzaga, Kansas, and Indiana earned the top seeds.
Hoops fans, rejoice: it’s March! The madness was evident this past weekend, as several highly-anticipated matchups — Duke-Miami & Michigan-Michigan State, just to name two — went down to the final possession. The first poll of the month may provide yet another new No. 1. With several conference tournaments set to begin, this wild season is about to kick into an extra gear.
There wasn’t an abundance of wild finishes this weekend, but there were some incredible individual performances (see below). Memphis, mentioned in this week’s column, is one of five teams unbeaten in conference; another, Gonzaga, has won its last six games by an average of 24 points.
It may not have been a particularly memorable weekend, but there were exciting finishes across the country. Some of the teams mentioned below, as well as Gonzaga and Michigan State, continue to impress, while other contenders have looked shaky of late.
The fact that the Michigan-Wisconsin game was not the wildest of the weekend tells you something – in this case, that there was a five-overtime game. In a week full of upsets, this weekend was no different. In addition to some of the surprises mentioned below, California won at No. 7 Arizona on Sunday.
There has been a growing concern over the past couple of seasons that college basketball has become a one-month sport. March Madness is awesome, but is January basketball worth getting excited about? If you watched college hoops on Saturday you have your answer—across the country there were great matchups and last-second victories.
Most conferences have begun league play, with preseason favorites like Gonzaga and North Carolina State getting off on the right foot. Illinois showed its hot start was no fluke with a dominant performance against a top-10 team, while Arizona won another tight game.
Just before many schools take their holiday break, college basketball provided us an exciting weekend. In addition to the two major programs in Kansas notching impressive victories, there were upsets and big-time scoring performances across the country.