The first weekend-plus of the NCAA men’s tournament has come to an end and, as usual, there has been a lot of madness. People across the country have, as usual, already torn up their brackets and have started cheering for the upsets. We’ve learned a lot from the first rounds of the tournament, so let’s review.
Michigan State Wins In March
As long as Tom Izzo is the coach of Michigan State never count out the Spartans. Michigan State is now heading into their seventh Sweet 16 in eight years. The Spartans entered the tournament as a seventh seed in their region, a reflection of a mediocre Big Ten season, but have quickly become a sexy pick to advance potentially to the Final Four. It, of course, helps that Villanova fell, but some people knew that would happen.
Sexy Picks Will Turn On You
In a world where we all try to win our bracket pools by not selecting the obvious number one seeds to win, every year we learn that the sexy picks aren’t the way to win it. Big time sexy picks like Iowa State and Butler didn’t make it out of the first round and Louisville knocked out the under-the-radar sexy pick Northern Iowa on Sunday. Sexy picks are fun, but they are more flash than substance sometimes.
ACC = Amazing Collegiate Conference
Notre Dame, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Louisville and Duke all hail from the ACC and they all stand tall in the Sweet 16. Many are in position to advance to the Elite Eight. North Carolina will not be favored in a matchup against number one seed Wisconsin and Louisville and North Carolina State faceoff against each other, but the ACC looks to be stronger than ever and will be a big part of your television viewing for the rest of March.
The Committee Sometimes Knows
When the bracket came out, many where crying about the fact that UCLA made the tournament and I was one of those making noise. UCLA has made us all eat crow as they are one of the lucky 16 remaining teams. UCLA was a benefactor of pulling their own upset over Larry Brown and SMU and being paired in the bracket with the Iowa State upset brought by UAB to allow UCLA to advance, but sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.
Don’t Get Emotionally Attached To A Team
I’m a Minnesota Golden Gopher fan and March is usually pretty depressing because the Gophers never seem to make the NCAA Tournament. Over the years I’ve adopted Iowa State, thanks to former Minnesota Timberwolves’ great Fred Hoiberg, Kansas, Minnesota’s own Cole Aldrich, and Northern Iowa, the run a couple years ago and not realizing there was ANOTHER Division 1 team in Iowa. I go into the second weekend without any emotional ties to any team. I love coach Izzo at Michigan State, I like cheering for Rick Pitino since his son, Richard, is at Minnesota and I picked Duke to win it all, but I won’t shed any tears or it won’t ruin my day if any of these schools lose. I am now in an emotionless tournament.
The beautiful thing about basketball is that you can watch any level and learn something from it. You can watch a 5th grade basketball tournament and be amazed by a pass and you can watch the best college athletes and be amazed by the coaching. Basketball is beautiful. Strategy, skill and slam dunks: basketball is always the sexy pick.