Finally. It’s March 1st everyone. Happy March Madness. In this case, we’d usually see upsets throughout the month, and eventually that’d be the “madness.” This year, however, the madness started in early December when two things occurred on the same day: The Butler Bulldogs beat Indiana in overtime in Indianapolis where Butler’s walk-on Alex Barlow hit the game-winner. Then that night, Arizona comes from behind at home in the last minute to beat the Florida Gators and it created a sense of a feel that this college basketball season could be crazy.
Well, we weren’t wrong. 19 top 5 teams have been beaten by unranked foes all season. Last night, Duke lost at Virginia, which lead to the darlings of the “we beat top teams in November, and even though we haven’t been playing great lately, we still should get a one seed” being a little bit exposed. It’s not like Duke is a bad team. Duke is like every college basketball team this year. Good teams, could win it all, but they aren’t “great.” This to me isn’t a bad thing at all.
A lot of people claim that this college basketball season has been weak. Weak because there hasn’t be a “dominant” team to root for, and the different amounts of number 1 teams in the country. The preseason #1 team, Indiana has been #1 two other times after losing to Butler, and they haven’t been able to hold on to that spot. It’s not because they are a bad team. It’s because IU plays in the best or 2nd best conference (The Mountain West Conference has one of the highest RPIs, and other than New Mexico, a lot of teams who are the same) and their quality of opponents is higher. However, even though IU hasn’t been able to hold on to the number 1 spot, they’ve been one of the most dominant teams in the country due to the play of their guards Victor Oladipo, Yogi Farrell, and Jordan Hulls. Then, when you add Christian “I need to cut my nappy hair” Watford, and Cody Zeller (I almost typed Tyler), they have all of the pieces to be the favorite.
So who’s gonna be the new number 1 team this week on March 4th? Expect it to be Gonzaga. Gonzaga has been low on the radar. Well not low because everyone knows all about them, but they’ve moved up in the rankings because everyone is beating each other. Sure, this might be Mark Few’s best team ever (I don’t believe this at all, btw. Give me the 2005-06 team with Adam Morrison, Derek Raivio, and J.P. Batista than this one) but are they really the de-facto number 1 team in the land? Which poses another question: Is anyone even good enough to be number 1 in the country?
Selection Sunday (which should be a national holiday) is in 2 weeks. I have no idea who’s gonna win the NCAA tournament, and that’s the beauty of the sport. It’s unknown, it’s different and to be honest, that’s why we love it. It’s March. It’s finally time for the madness to officially begin.