March Madness

Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Madness, March Madness

RJ Choppy
March 20, 2018 - 7:01 am

It was one of the most memorable first weekends in NCAA Tournament history, and it was all because the tournament did exactly what the tournament is designed to do. Produce drama! 

From UMBC becoming the first 16 seed to advance and knock off a #1, to inexplicable meltdowns by Cincy and Xavier, this was #March. 

Consider this, in the last 16 years, every National Champion has had a Top 20 defense AND a top 40 offense in the Ken Pomeroy rankings. There were 10 teams that fell into that category this year (with a margin of error of 3 spots), and there are just 4 remaining. 

Duke, Gonzaga, Michigan, Villanova. 

Gone is UVA, Tennessee, Ohio St, Michigan State, Houston, Cincy. 

Needless to say, it was not a good weekend to be the favorite. 

I was at the Tennessee-Loyola game, and the drama and theatre in that game alone was enough to quench my endless love for March Madness. I eat it up. Its dizzying. 

In the Kansas-Seton Hall game, with :59 to play it was a 71-64 KU lead. It ended 83-79. In less than a minute both teams combined to 27 points. If you're a gambler, the UNDER of 155 felt pretty safe with :59 to go. 

Oh, and that buzzer 3 pointer by Seton Hall didn't make those of us who took Kansas -6 feel very good, either. 

March gives us UMBC and Nevada and Loyola. March gives us Buffalo and Marshall. It gives us these at the expense of Houston, who saw Devin Davis miss 3 of his last 4 FT attempts. He would spend the next 45 minutes after the game at the Free Throw line practicing. 

He was a 5th year senior who won't get drafted by an NBA team. That was for him. That was for us. 

It's the greatest postseason in sports. It just gave us perhaps its most unpredictable weekend. 

I feel like we say that every year. 


Local Ties

TX A&M and TX Tech both advance to the Sweet 16. For the Aggies, it was expected at the start of the year that they get here. They were a Top 10 team, they were a Final Four caliber squad, and they had the expectation of reaching this far. 

For Texas Tech, the only people who thought they would get here were in that room. Unranked. Unheralded. Unwanted. 

Underrated, as well. 

Big 12 has 4 teams in the Sweet 16. They were the best conference in College Hoops in November. They are the best conference in College Hoops in March. If not for Oklahoma deciding that their season was going to end when the calendar moved to 2018, its entirely possible they have more. 


NBA Draft 

Just 3 players remain in the Top 10 projected picks per in the NCAA Tournament

Carter and Bagley from Duke. Bridges from Villanova. 

One thing this tournament reminded us of, with the exception of Xavier and their exceptional guards, big men do not win in March. Guards do. This is a guards tournament. Porter, Ayton, Bamba all prove that.