by Michael Johnson and Hudson Carroll
The hype of Gilman Silent night has come and gone and with that arrives the action of the most captivating time of year, March Madness. The date: March 17th, the premise: 68 teams square off in a battle royal; 25 of them ranked, the rest are chosen by conference tournament victories or an NCAA selection committee. The process allows for several teams to become a Cinderella-story type contender, for example the celebrated Florida Gulf Coast University team of 2012-13 who defeated the number two seed heavyweight Georgetown in a first round upset. Last year’s tournament ended with the University of Connecticut finishing the NCAA tournament with all of the glory and a title to prove it. This year, the Big Dance regionals will be held in a multitude of cities including Seattle, Portland, Omaha, Dayton, Columbus, Louisville, Charlotte, Pittsburg, and Jacksonville. The respective finals of which are held in Indianapolis, Syracuse, Houston, Los Angeles, and Cleveland.
Like Gilman’s own Silent Night, March Madness is a crazy time of the year where the best plays are talked about forever and miracles can happen. Upsets seem to be associated with this tournament and for good reason too. The powerhouses don’t look that great this year. One of the best teams in college basketball, Kentucky, had two close overtime and double overtime wins against unranked Ole Miss, and against unranked Texas A&M and most recently a scare with LSU. Another heavyweight, Gonzaga, has lost one game to the only currently ranked team they have played, Arizona, in overtime. They look good so far this season, but their schedule is very weak in the West Coast Conference, and so they may be prone to an upset later this season especially in the NCAA tournament.
Yes, the statistics have been studied long and intently. After plenty of debate, sweat, and tears, the prediction of who will win the tournament has been decided. First, the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament will be won by either Villanova or Wisconsin. Furthermore, some “sleepers” that may be making it far this year are Butler and Ohio State. Finally, our audaciously shocking prediction of this year’s tournament is the University of Kentucky will not make it to the Final Four. Now, this is not to say that some fundamentally sound teams like UVA and Duke will have a bad shot because many solid teams should be going into this years tournament, but those teams will not make it as far as many fans have planned or win it all. Nevertheless, there will be a lot of great basketball coming up in March and the weeks leading up to the tournament. Expect a thrilling tournament with a few possible upsets coming and crushing defeats as well, but despite all of the tough losses and historic wins, only the best team in college basketball will be holding the trophy and wearing NCAA champs t-shirts after April 6.