March Madness: 68 reasons to adore and obsess over a 2018 NCAA Tournament field

A 68-team bracket gives me about 5,000 reasons to conflict and pontificate on a biggest eventuality in sports. But now — after ranking all 68 teams, submitting my possess bracket and poring over game times and TV info — I’ve managed whittled my thoughts into 68 portions. 

1. I’ve already explained to we since Virginia is a best organisation in college basketball. The Cavs, who’ve been knocked out twice in new years by Michigan State, can rest easy: Sparty’s on a conflicting dilemma of a bracket. And we know their segment provides a lot of challenges, but I’m holding a Wahoos to win a whole thing

2. I’m meddlesome to see if we’ll get a new champion this season. Sixteen of a 68 schools in a margin have won a inhabitant title: Arizona, Arkansas, Cincinnati, Duke, Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Loyola Chicago, Michigan, Michigan State, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Ohio State, Syracuse, UCLA and Villanova. That means 3 of a 8 tip teams (Virginia, Xavier, Purdue) have a good shot during fasten a club. Virginia and Xavier have never finished a pretension game; Purdue’s customarily outing came in 1969. 

3. The best images of Selection Sunday came from a Hurley brothers. First, check Rhode Island manager Dan Hurley ripping in jubilee afterwards being overcome by emotion after he saw his hermit finished a joint with Arizona State.

And here’s Bobby Hurley’s greeting after a Sun Devils slipped by to a First Four. Everybody in a pool!

4. Then, there is a other side of this. Powerful photo. Middle Tennessee was good adequate to win this contest yet again won’t get a chance.  

5. Before we get to a rest of a field, let’s note Oklahoma State being left out notwithstanding carrying one reduction detriment and many improved wins than Alabama … that is a No. 9 seed. OSU won 7 games opposite top-50 teams, including a brush of Kansas, a win over 3 seed Texas Tech, a win during 5 seed West Virginia and a semi-road win during Florida State. It’s my position that we’ll demeanour behind in 10 years and record Oklahoma State’s impugn — it wasn’t even in a initial 4 out — as one of a many gross by a committee.  

6. USC finished second in a Pac-12 and didn’t get in either. It’s one of a most startling snubs ever. Some projections had a Trojans as a No. 9.

7. Syracuse … in! Credit to a Jerry Palm, one of a few who had a Orange clearing a bar. For me, it’s something of a stunner, though. SU has one reduction detriment than Oklahoma State and 3 fewer rubbish opposite top-50 teams than a Cowboys — and no highway feat as good as Oklahoma State. Baffling call, yet a Orange get their possibility in Dayton

8. You wish some fun picks? Here are my 4 nominees for best Cinderella consideration

9. Scanning a bracket, and child oh child do we LOVE a fact that URI-Oklahoma is a initial diversion on Thursday. We rubbish no time. Come 12:15 on CBS, it’s Trae Young right away. (Tip times and channels here!) I’ll be in Pittsburgh for that game. Rhody-Oklahoma could be big.

10. Duke-Oklahoma would be even bigger. If a Sooners and Blue Devils win on Thursday, it will set adult a Saturday afternoon diversion between a dual many polarizing players in college basketball of a past 5 years: Young vs. Grayson Allen. Dear lord, consider of a tweets and memes. 

11. Rhode Island-Oklahoma is a initial tip of a initial round. The last? Should be Clemson vs. New Mexico State out in San Diego on Friday night. we venerate that late window of games any year. 

12. I’ve been vicious of Kansas’ Final Four chances this season, yet we will extol this organisation for alighting on a 1 line. It’s a seventh No. 1 seed for Kansas underneath Bill Self. KU’s been a top-two seed 9 years running. Ridiculous. 

13. Elsewhere on a 1 line: This is a initial tip seed in Xavier history. X’s 27 NCAA Tournament wins are a many for any module though a Final Four. 

14. The module with a second many NCAA Tournament wins to never make a Final Four? Missouri. Guess what: That’s a intensity second-round matchup in Nashville. Mizzou has finished a Elite Eight 5 times, Xavier three. 

15. Speaking of Missouri, how good will Michael Porter Jr. be? How good will Missouri be? One of its starters was suspended after an detain on guess of celebration and pushing over a weekend. 

16. I’ve got unequivocally small emanate with a committee’s seeding this season. In a rarity, a Westgate sports book put out a betting lines on Sunday night — and not one lower-seeded propagandize is adored in a game. If Vegas is backing adult with what you’ve done, you’ve finished good. 

17. Allow me to Curb Your Enthusiasm myself by adding … carrying pronounced that, there are a few teams who seem a line off. Penn should be a 15, not a 16. (Swap with Lipscomb). WVU substantially a 4, not a 5 (swap with Wichita State). And, for me, a 15-loss organisation should never be in a singular digits, so I’d pierce Alabama from a 9 line down to a 10 and bestir Loyola adult from an 11.  

18. You large on Michigan State? Think it’s one of a “safest” 3 seeds we could ever collect to make a Final Four? we feel that. But here’s something to keep in mind: The customarily teams MSU degraded this year that also finished a tournament: North Carolina and Purdue. Both large wins, certainly. But it’s bizarre that a Spartans customarily have dual victories vs. a 67 other teams in a bracket.

19. Power region? It’s apparently a Midwest: Kansas, Duke and Michigan State on a tip 3 lines. The programs total for 10 inhabitant titles and 39 Final Four showings. 

Devonte’ Graham and a Jayhawks could eventually face Duke or Michigan State in a Elite Eight.
Denny Medley, Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

20. Not a coincidence: Wichita State switches leagues, wins 25 games, gets a No. 4 seed. It won 30 final year and got a 10.  

21. This year’s margin has 5 teams who unsuccessful to finish .500 in joining play. Of course, they are all from energy conferences. Alabama (SEC), Arizona State (Pac-12), Oklahoma (Big 12), Syracuse (ACC) and Texas (Big 12) any wound adult going 8-10. That seems like a record.

22. I’m ripped on North Carolina, that is in a bottom left dilemma of your bracket. The Tar Heels are a good team, yet they’re also a initial No. 2 seed to ever have during slightest 10 losses. And they were a top-ranked 2 seed during that. Making 3 loyal Final Fours is hard. The final organisation to do it was UCLA from 2006-08.

23. KenPom isn’t all (nor should it be). Six teams in a KenPom tip 40 who didn’t get an invite: Saint Mary’s(28), Penn State (29), Notre Dame (31), Louisville (33), Baylor (34) and USC (40). Lowest KenPom organisation to get an at-large: St. Bonaventure (69), that plays UCLA on Tuesday night in Dayton. 

24. This year’s margin is installed with talent. There are too many players to list, so instead, let me give we 5 guys who are under-the-radar great: Davidson‘s Peyton Aldridge, Houston‘s Rob Gray, Seton Hall‘s Angel Delgado, Butler‘s Kelan Martin and UCLA’s Aaron Holiday

25. The NCAA Tournament can be a flighty thing year over year. Look to Oregon and South Carolina as examples. They finished a Final Four in 2017. Neither was tighten to removing in this year. 

26. Virginia’s Tony Bennett and Arizona’s Sean Miller are deliberate a dual best coaches to not make a Final Four. Well, they could face off a Sweet 16. Because they’re in a same region, a South, during slightest one’s guaranteed to wait another year.

27. we morbidly would adore a Virginia-Cincinnati informal final in a South. It could be a 48-45 finish. Horrendously captivating. The tip dual defenses in college basketball. 

28. we have never secure for a 16 seed to kick a 1, and until it happens, we never will. There are customarily a few results, a few landmark things, that a NCAA Tournament still hasn’t seen happen. A mid-major winning a whole thing in a complicated epoch is one of them. A 15 seed creation a Elite Eight is another. But a 16-over-a-1 is a customarily one-game outcome we’re still watchful on. This is one box we still haven’t opened, and we adore that. With Penn being a initial 16 seed out of a Ivy League given 1989, a Quakers are removing a closer look. After all, Princeton in 1989 played a closest diversion ever for a 16. It mislaid 50-49 to Georgetown

29. I’d adore to be wrong, yet we consider this winds adult being a initial contest in 6 years not to have a No. 7 seed or worse make a Final Four. we don’t consider we make adequate of a fact that lower-seeded teams are busting by to a final weekend with as many rule as they have shown. Even over a past 5 years, we had George Mason and Butler doing it too. The lowest-seeded organisation with a best possibility this year: Florida. 

30. Two games we know we am going to collect wrong no matter what we decide: Virginia Tech-Alabama and Arkansas-Butler. I’ve got a Hokies and Bulldogs as of now, so blur me. 

31. Two dissapoint picks I’m approach too assured in: No. 12 New Mexico State over No. 5 Clemson, No. 11 Loyola over No. 6 Miami. Lotta people pier on that Ramblers car already. 

32. Providence over AM is recency disposition totally holding over my judgment. we saw PC play during a Big East Tournament and am assured Kyron Cartwright can dump 30 in his subsequent game. 

33. Ranking a regions in terms of toughness: East, Midwest, South, West.

34. Ranking a regions in terms of best coaches: 1. Midwest (Krzyzewski Self, Boeheim, Izzo, Kruger), 2. South (Bennett, Calipari, Miller, Larranaga, Barnes), 3. West (Mack, Few, Beilein, Williams), 4. East (Wright, Huggins, Marshall).

35. Ranking a regions in terms of pell-mell potential: 1. East, 2. West, 3. South, 4. Midwest. 

36. Ranking a regions in terms of best nicknames: 1. East (Highlanders, Racers, Boilermakers, Bonnies, Lumberjacks, Razorbacks), 2. South (Retrievers, Bluejays, Ramblers, Bearcats, Longhorns), 3. West (Musketeers, Jackrabbits, Grizzlies, Bisons), 4. Midwest (Sun Devils, Horned Frogs, Pirates, Quakers). 

37. The South is full of felines: Kansas State, Davidson, Arizona and Kentucky are all Wildcats. Bearcats there too!

Kevin Knox and a Wildcats could have a outrageous matchup opposite Arizona in a second round. 
Mark Zerof / USA TODAY Sports

38. First turn diversion with biggest punish factor: Creighton‘s Marcus Foster takes on his former school, Kansas State. Foster was discharged from K-State yet now takes a lot of a censure for what happened there. Still, he might dump 40. 

39. South Dakota State on that No. 12 line. Tempting me. Tempting you. Almost too tempting. 

40. Best to misfortune No. 12 seeds: Murray State, Davidson, South Dakota State, New Mexico State. 

41. Best to misfortune No. 11 seeds: St. Bonaventure, Loyola, UCLA, Arizona State, Syracuse, San Diego State

42. Murray State is a smart 12-over-5 pick. The Racers have a many wins of anyone in a margin though a Sweet 16 coming (five). 

43. Best probable second-round matchup: Arizona vs. Kentucky in a South. 

44. Best probable Sweet 16 matchup: Duke vs. Michigan State in a Midwest. 

45. Best probable Elite Eight matchup: Gonzaga vs. UNC in a West. Title diversion rematch! 

46. I’m fervent to see what Rick Barnes does with this Tennessee group. The Vols are a 3 seed in a South and clearly not a renouned collect to make a Final Four. It’s a school’s best seed given it was a 2 in 2008. Barnes has coached 4 programs (Providence, Clemson, Texas, Tennessee) to a tournament. Six other coaches have finished that, and dual are in this year’s Dance: John Beilein and Lon Kruger. The others are Lefty Driesell, Rick Pitino, Tubby Smith, Eddie Sutton.

47. The many unchanging programs in a past dual decades are mostly in this field. Duke (20 loyal NCAA Tournaments), Gonzaga (20), Kansas (20), Michigan State (20), Texas (18), Arizona (18) and Kentucky (18). The customarily organisation not in a margin that’s finished 18 or some-more of a past 20 tournaments: Wisconsin, that is out for a initial time in a 2000s. 

48. If you’re a follower in tough schedules building joint contenders, maybe don’t nap on Texas. The Longhorns played 19 times opposite NCAA Tournament-bound competition. 

49. Speaking of Texas, a state has a many teams in a tourney with seven: Texass, Texas AM, Stephen F. Austin, TCU, Houston, Texas Southern and Texas Tech. (Baylor roughly finished it too.) The state of North Carolina is has 6 in: North Carolina, North Carolina Central, UNC Greensboro, Davidson, North Carolina State and Duke. Meanwhile, Kansas went 3 for 3 with a Division we schools (KU, K-State and Wichita State) and so did West Virginia: WVU and Marshall are a customarily D-I schools in a Mountaineer State. 

50. Houston final finished a NCAAs in 2010. But it hasn’t won a contest diversion given it was in a 1984 Final Four. Via ESPN, 180 other teams have won in a NCAAs given a final time a Cougars did.

51. The ACC sent 9 teams to this party. That matches final year’s joining record. It’s a second many in history; a Big East put 11 in behind in 2009. Mark me down for 4 ACC teams to make it to a Sweet 16. 

52. Villanova is on a 1 line again. Strangely, any Wildcats coming given 2009 has finished possibly a initial or final weekend of a tournament. The final time Villanova mislaid in a Sweet 16 or Elite Eight was 2008. 

53. Overvalued: Kansas, North Carolina, Duke.

54. Undervalued: Texas Tech, Ohio State, Cincinnati. 

55. Plenty of coaches holding teams to a contest in their initial year using their particular programs. They are Butler’s LaVall Jordan, Ohio State’s Chris Holtmann, NC State‘s Kevin Keatts, Missouri’s Cuonzo Martin, San Diego State’s Brian Dutcher, LIU Brooklyn’s Derek Kellogg. 

Cuonzo Martin and a Missouri Tigers will play Florida State on Friday. 
Kyle Terada / USA TODAY Sports

56. Will any organisation from a 2008 Final Four in San Antonio get to a 2018 Final Four in San Antonio? Memphis can’t since it’s not in a field. But No. 1 Kansas and No. 2 North Carolina have a good shot. No. 11 UCLA would need to lift a VCU to go from a First Four to a Final Four. 

57. That 2008 Final Four is famously a customarily one with all 4 No. 1 seeds. And so it will sojourn that way, during slightest for another year. All 4 No. 1s aren’t flourishing a subsequent dual weeks. 

58. Shoutout to Lipscomb, a customarily organisation in a margin creation a NCAA Tournament debut. The Bisons play Friday around 2:45 p.m. ET on CBS opposite UNC.

59. Major discussion programs finale their longest droughts: TCU (20 years) and Auburn (15). we don’t have TCU removing out of a initial weekend. we do have Auburn in a Sweet 16 yet can’t give we any reason why. LOVE MY BRACKET, THOUGH.

60. Also finale prolonged droughts: Loyola (1985), Marshall (1985), Charleston (1999). 

61. Top to bottom, this is a strongest deteriorate of a past 15 years for a SEC. The joining sent 8 teams, a many in a history. Tennessee is a highest, with a 3 seed, while Kentucky, as a 5, is deliberate a many dangerous entering a field. 

62. Coaches in a margin who could be pulled to bigger jobs in a matter of weeks: Rhode Island’s Dan Hurley, Charleston’s Earl Grant, Buffalo‘s Nate Oats, UMBC‘s Ryan Odom, Loyola’s Porter Moser, Georgia State‘s Ron Hunter, UNC Greensboro’s Wes Miller. 

63. Regional sites this year: Atlanta, Los Angeles, Boston and Omaha. Kansas, by approach of roving to Wichita and potentially Omaha, has a easiest invert of any of a 1 seeds. Xavier’s Nashville-then-LA track is a many inconvenient. 

64. One fascinating backdrop to this contest is a ongoing FBI review into a sport. That will offer as a reason for some people to balance in, maybe a little, yet eventually a joint is so constrained that people will watch for a upsets and their possess gambling motivations. Isn’t college sports grand? 

65. Always adore examining a tip time windows and ranking them accordingly. Here’s your viewer’s beam and priority list. I’d arrange them like this, with a qualifier that these are unequivocally offset blocks this year.

1. Thursday late afternoon: Duke-Iona, Miami-Loyola, Ohio State-South Dakota State, Seton Hall-NC State
2. Thursday late night: Va. Tech-Bama, Arizona-Buffalo, Michigan-Montana, Florida-Bona/UCLA
3. Friday after dinner: Creighton-Kansas State, Michigan State-Bucknell, Xavier-TBD 16, Auburn-Charleston
4. Friday late afternoon: UNC-Lipscomb, Arkansas-Butler, West Virginia-Murray State, Nevada-Texas
5. Friday late night: Virginia-UMBC, TCU-ASU/Cuse, Missouri-Florida State, Clemson-New Mexico State
6. Thursday early afternoon: URI-Oklahoma, Tennessee-Wright State, Gonzaga-UNC Greensboro, Kansas-Penn
7. Friday early afternoon: AM-Providence, Purdue-Fullerton, Wichita State-Marshall, Cincinnati-Georgia State
8. Thursday after dinner: Villanova vs. 16 TBD, Kentucky-Davidson, Houston-San Diego State, Texas Tech-Stephen F. Austin

66. In terms of many engaging pods, I’ll go with 

1. Pittsburgh (Duke, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Villanova, Alabama)
2. Boise (Kentucky, Arizona, Davidson, Gonzaga, South Dakota State)
3. San Diego (West Virginia, Murray State, Wichita State, Auburn)
4. Charlotte (Virginia, UNC, Providence, Creighton, K-State)
5. Nashville (Xavier, Cincinnati, Missouri, Texas)
6. Detroit (Purdue, Butler, Michigan State, TCU) 
7. Dallas (Tennessee, Loyola, Florida, Stephen F. Austin)
8. Wichita (Kansas, Michigan, Houston, Seton Hall)

67. Over/under on loyal buzzer-beating shots to win or tie a game: 2.5. Historically that series hits a under. I’m observant we get 3 this year.

68. I consider we’re going to get a constrained Final Four, as is customarily a case. The doubt is that No. 3, 4, 5 or 6 seed gets there. we can roughly guarantee we it’s happening. My picks: Virginia, Gonzaga, Purdue, Michigan State. I’ll take Virginia over Purdue for a 2018 title.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Widgetized Section

Go to Admin » appearance » Widgets » and move a widget into Advertise Widget Zone