The other day, a co-worker of mine stopped by my cubicle to ask me a question. He was going to join our NCCA office pool along with a few online bracket challenges and wanted to pick my brain on college hoops. So Mark, he asked me, what teams do you think will make the final four this year? In very Rand Paul like fashion, I gave him a little speech on how the tourney was completely wide open this year and about 20 teams could end up in the final four or even win the championship. Seriously!! It is that type of year. I advised him to buy a lucky coin because I have absolutely no idea who will end up cutting the nets down on April 8th. By the way, we do have work related discussions at my job as well!!
In a few hours from now, the selection committee will announce which teams have qualified for the big tournament. It is still uncertain who are the top seeds in each region but one can only guess, it will be Indiana, Louisville, Gonzaga and a toss up for final number one seed. None of these teams really excite me that much. I think there is a great possibility that none of these teams will make it to the final four. Since I live in Big Ten country, I have seen Indiana play many times this year and they are no doubt a very talented team. My concern with them is this, how do they deal with a very physical team with a player who can match up with Cody Zeller? He seems to be the engine that drives the Hoosiers and stopping him seems to such down their whole offense. Gonzaga has played a weak schedule. Louisville is a good athletic team with strong guard play and they might be the best team at this moment in college basketball.
I have never seen this much parity in college basketball for years. It seems like the kiss of death to be the number one ranked team in the nation. Those teams have gone down many times this year. Just look at what happened with the conference tournaments. 3 of the top 6 teams got knocked out on the first day. It has been a crazy year and the tournament promises to hold more suspense than I have ever seen. You could easily have a 10 seed, 13 seed and a 9 seed make the final four. It is that wide open this year. Forget about breaking down film and studying each team closely. Like I said, you are better off just taking out your lucky coin and using it to pick your brackets.
Having said those things, I still expect a few teams from the Big Ten to make the final four. It is the toughest conference in the nation and all the teams that will qualify are very battled tested. People like to talk about Indiana, Michigan and Michigan St. but what about Ohio State and Wisconsin? Wisconsin might be the most underrated team in the nation. They are very capable of beating anyone. They might be a good dark house pick along Ohio State. Another dark house team that nobody talks about is Miami. They might make some noise in the tourney as well with their good guard play and experience.
The uncertainty of this tournament will make it one of the best ever in my opinion. Be prepared to see many upset alert signals. There is certain to be some mid major team come out of nowhere and shock the world. But I still believe when all is said and done, Louisville will be cutting down the nets on April 8th. I wish everyone the best of luck in their brackets and have fun. It it is going to be a wild and very unpredictable tournament.