The Big Dance

The+Big+Dance

Nkechi Nnorom, Editor

March Madness concludes the NCAA Division I basketball season. The event features insane buzzer-beaters, numerous underdogs and of course, many tears.

Last year, the Louisville Cardinals made an emotional run to the National Championship, where they knocked off the Michigan Wolverines, 82-76. The Cardinals run was highlighted by the injury to Kevin Ware who suffered a compound-fracture to his right leg against Duke in the Elite Eight. In addition, March Madness introduced the world to the Seagulls of “Lob City” or as they are better known as Florida Gulf Coast University.

March Madness is bombarded by the grueling task of filling out a bracket. Those who have completed a bracket will note that one must account for a variety of information.

“I look at the teams’ stats, certain players and of course the team that I’m rooting for, ” said senior Shannon Farr, regarding filling out her personal bracket.

Current seeding, dictated by the Associated Press’ Top 25 poll and the USA Today Coaches’ poll, influences the seeding in the tournament. However,  region placement– Midwest, West, South, or East– serves a major role in determining potential upsets.

Currently, the Florida Gators are ranked #1 in the country, but will the experts honor the Gators with the overall #1 seed for the tournament?

“Wichita State deserves to be #1 seed. They are more deserving,” said Ken Binford, Bob Jones alumni and avid basketball fan.

Wichita State has shocked the world by finishing the regular season with a 34-0 record and by winning the Missouri Valley Conference title. No team has entered the tournament with an undefeated record since the 1990-1991 University of Las Vegas Rebels. UNLV, the defending champions, finished the regular season, 27-0, but lost to Duke in the Final Four, 79-77. Wichita State made it to the Final Four last season. Will they shock the world by winning the National Championship?

Teams to Watch:

The Florida Gators completed an 18-0 sweep of their Southeastern Conference games. The Gators have an athletic backcourt and a highly experienced senior class that is hoping to erase their Elite Eight shadow. The Gators have advanced to the Elite Eight for three straight seasons, and have lost every time.

Though the Orange Syracuse lost 4-straight games before ending the season with a win against Florida State, do not be surprised to see legendary coach, Jim Boeheim, and senior C.J. Fair lead the Orange to a deep run in the tournament. Freshman Tyler Ennis has risen to the national stage and has deemed to be clutch for the Orange.

*Potential Upsets:

#2 Duke (East region) will lose to #3 Louisville in the Sweet Sixteen.
#2 Kansas (South region) will lose to the winner of #7 New Mexico/#10 Stanford in the Round of 32 or to the winner of #3 Syracuse/#6 Connecticut in the Sweet Sixteen.
Virginia

Sleepers:
Cincinnati
North Carolina
Michigan State
Louisville

Whether or not you agree with my picks, that just adds to the beauty of the tournament. “It’s exciting to watch [March Madness] because you never know who is going to win,” said junior Devin Davis.

On March 16th, also known as Selection Sunday, the Men’s Basketball Selection Committee will finalize the pool of 68 teams, their seeding, and their region placement. On March 19th, registration will end for billionaire Warren Buffett’s Quicken Loans Billion Dollar Bracket Challenge with Yahoo Sports. $1 billion will be given to any person who can correctly pick the winners of all 63 games in this year’s NCAA men’s college basketball tournament.

Be diligent, attentive, and do not shy away from being a risk-taker. Tune in for 2.5 weeks for what is arguably one of the greatest national sporting events, and see which team will have their one shining moment in raising up the National Championship trophy, cutting down the net, and being called the 2014 National Champions.

*Seeding and match-ups were based on Joe Lunardi’s, an college basketball analyst for ESPN, bracketology