The madness has arrived in full force this year. Not only is it seventy degrees outside, but also with the NCAA tournament occurring, productivity is seeing a drastic decrease. With the Sweet Sixteen round set, as usual, the bracket busters have wasted zero time in destroying the dream of a perfect bracket. The biggest upsets occurred in the first round when two number two seeds, Duke and Missouri, lost to fifteen seeds in Lehigh and Norfolk State. Missouri was a trendy pick to reach the Final Four, and the same could be said for Duke as well. With the dust beginning to settle with the closure of the first three rounds of the tournament, we will be left with sixteen teams that still have dreams of cutting down the nets in New Orleans.
Thus far, the tournament favorites have survived their regional tournaments: Kentucky and North Carolina. Kentucky will enter the Sweet Sixteen with a rematch against Indiana, who they lost to by a buzzer-beater in the regular season. The Wildcats will be out for blood, and there is no way that the Hoosiers will beat Kentucky again, especially not on a neutral court. The other favorite, North Carolina, will play the remainder of the tournament without their point guard Marshall who broke his wrist. It’s too bad also because Marshall had really come into his own over the past seven games, but that’s the tournament for you. UNC will find a replacement and still make a strong run at this championship as well.
Ohio State has not truly been tested yet, but they did have to bring their “A-Game” to beat an always-pesky Gonzaga team. Ohio State will meet the winner of Cincinnati and Florida State in the Sweet Sixteen; both are formidable opponents that will test the Buckeyes immensely. While at the top of the bracket, Syracuse will take on Wisconsin, who both play strong defense, expect a low scoring affair in this game. Both teams are extremely well coached and will not rollover easily.
For the most part, upsets have been few and far-between in this year’s tournament. Cinderella has not yet emerged, and only seven double-digit seeded teams remain, and I fully expect that number to be cut in half come Sunday’s conclusion of games. Everyone’s bracket should be doing okay at this point considering most of the top seeds have won, excluding Mizzou and Duke. Expect more of the same going into the second weekend of the tournament, ultimately in March the best team prevails with only one or two shocking upsets. North Carolina, Syracuse and Kentucky have been the best teams all year and they are where they should be, safely in the round of sixteen, but buckle up; March is always a wild ride.