The Bracket

It’s been the year of the quarterback in football, the year of the pitcher in baseball and in college basketball it might be the year of the Bracket.

Most college basketball fans only watch key games throughout the season. But once the calendar hits Selection Sunday, fans come back to college basketball and the madness of the Bracket begins.

As a fan of college basketball, I couldn’t imagine only watching Duke and UNC and still be as excited about the NCAA tournament. Then again, if you were going to take a season off of college basketball, this was the year to be on the bench. Overall, there isn’t a team that is consistently a great team.

This season there were a lot of turnovers, a lot of sloppy plays, too many unnecessary fouls, more dunks, more want-a-be ESPN highlight moves and shorts that could be used as sleeping bags.

College basketball is about playing smart, using the fundamentals to win as a team and respecting the game. There’s a trend to why it wasn’t a great season for college basketball and call me crazy, but it starts with the size of the players shorts. They looked more like pants on the players and the players didn’t get any bigger from last season. It only makes sense that if your ‘shorts’ are too big and with most guards thinking that dribbling has to be in between your legs then of course the turnovers will sore!

The NBA has never been more represented in past seasons as it has this year. Most of these kids come into college with a one and done attitude and the focus isn’t on winning as a team, but on winning for the next level.

The next level should be the NCAA Tournament Bracket. Ahh, let the Madness begin! The NCAA Tournament expanded from 64 to 68 teams this year. If you can’t get in this year, you’ll never get in!

It’s no secret that I love to pick on Virginia Tech and seeing Hokie fans going crazy about not being invited to the dance for the fourth straight year is more entertaining than an episode of Jersey Shore. Virginia Tech barely had one meaningful win over Duke in Cassell Coliseum. The Hokies lost to Virginia and Georgia Tech twice and finishing 9-7 in a weak ACC conference are not resume highlights. Tech failed to show they had quality road wins, they won’t play CAA teams and when it really mattered, the Blue Devils embarrassed the Hokies in the ACC tournament.

An irate Seth Greenberg believes there is a conspiracy theory among the NCAA tournament selection committee. We all know that only Tech fans are shocked when they learn that not everyone on planet earth is a Hokie fan. I think at orientation they tell the students that being a Hokie means they are entitled to success. I guess the selection committee missed orientation… Mr. Greenberg, they don’t give you points for having Hokie pride.

The tournament field expanded to 64 in 1985 and Tech is the sixth team to beat a number one seeded team, have a winning record in the conference and still not be asked to dance. It’s not a conspiracy; it’s just asking the BEST teams in college basketball to go to the dance.

Since 1985, no number one seed has lost in the first round, 8 have lost in the National Championship game and 14 have won the National Championship. Seeds 1-4 are usually pretty safe picks through the sweet 16. Seeds 5-8 have one National Championship (Villanova as an 8 seed in 1985). Seeds 9-16 have never won a National Championship and we all remember the Cinderella in 2006 as the number 11 seed George Mason made it to the final four. Every year a 12 seed upsets a 5th seeded team.

BYU, a number 3 seed has a healthy Jimmer Fredette- who leads the nation in scoring at 28.5 points per game. He can Jimmer-Jammer on the road too. ODU, a number 9 seed is one of the best defensive teams in the bracket. Big East teams are accustom to playing rough and tend to get into foul trouble in the tournament. Tennessee could be the sleeper and St. John’s has proven they can play with anyone.

Despite the history of the tournament statistics I just have a feeling that if Duke doesn’t win back-to-back Championships, then we might be in for another Cinderella story, only this time the slipper will dance them all the way to an NCAA Championship.

One statistic that is always true: The bracket is madness, but it’s magical.

Choose wisely.