Are you not entertained?
As college basketball readies itself for March Madness, it’s amazing how much parity exists this season. There are zero dominant teams. Name a team in the top-25, and I can point out a fatal flaw that could end their season.
TCU upset #5 Kansas in one of the biggest upsets of the regular season in the past decade Tuesday. Not only did the Horned Frogs enter the game 0-8 in Big 12 Conference play, but only one of those games was within 10 points.
Arkansas entered its matchup against #2 Florida with a 4-4 record in the Southeastern Conference Tuesday. The Razorbacks opened up a 27-point lead in its demolishing victory over a team that hadn’t lost since Christmas.
Heck, even a few weeks ago Villanova was on a three-game losing streak, including a loss to lowly Providence before upsetting two top-five teams in one week.
Even mid-major schools are prey such as the Missouri Valley Conference leaders. Wichita State has lost three consecutive games including a 64-62 loss Tuesday to the league’s last place team, Southern Illinois. Atop the standings, #16 Creighton was demolished by Indiana State 76-57 Tuesday, and also have a loss from a few weeks ago to Drake.
Other top teams have flaws they still need to address. Indiana hasn’t played a tough road game and they’re relying on a freshman point guard. Duke was throttled by Miami and hasn’t been the same without senior forward Ryan Kelly, who is out indefinitely with a foot injury.
In my mind, this is the most wide-open field since 2006, when Bradley went to the Sweet Sixteen, George Mason reached the Final Four and Florida won the national championship behind Al Horford and Joakim Noah.
There are a lot of good teams in the nation, but no team is great. Last year, nearly everyone in the entire nation predicted Kentucky would use its skilled freshmen to reach the national championship. However, no team has proven to be elite this season.
Yes, there are multiple teams that can rise above the best when playing at their peak. However, no team can play at that level consistently, and if shown by Kansas earlier this week, no team is safe from being upset by any bad team.
March Madness is the best postseason format in all of sports. I’m that guy that fills out tens of brackets in an attempt to cash in on being correct, and just out of my general excitement of seeing the bracket on Sunday, and the first game beginning Thursday morning.
I think I’ll be more wrong with my predictions than if I were to take a trigonometry exam tomorrow. I don’t think I’ll suffer from a lack of information, but this may be the year where I’d have better luck picking which school colors I liked more or which mascot would win in a fight.
This is the season when schools such as Gonzaga, Butler, Saint Mary’s, Louisiana Tech and Akron have a chance to reach the Final Four. I’m guessing the majority of people couldn’t name one player from all of those teams combined.
That’s what makes March Madness great, and it’s something that could make this year even better. Get ready to see schools that you’ve never heard of on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Get ready to hear names that you’ve never heard before on ESPN all day long.
If you’re not entertained already, don’t worry; college basketball is just getting started.
Bobby Nightengale is a senior sports communication major from Bloomington, Minn. He is the Scout assistant sports editor.
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