NCAA Tournament takes place without real power


Gonzaga was invited to the party. Goliath was not.

Unlike a year ago, when Gonzaga went a historic undefeated season to the very end, this NCAA tournament shouldn’t be about heavyweights advancing as madness happens around them. In the spirit of any good party that ends near Bourbon Street, no one knows who will be the last of the crowd standing when the Final Four reach New Orleans.

Of course, there are some familiar names atop the brackets, led by Gonzaga, the No. 1 seed and atop one of the four regions (West) for the fourth time in the last five tournaments. That shouldn’t eclipse defending champion Baylor, who are the No. 1 seed (East) for the second straight year and are looking to repeat after ruining Gonzaga’s bid to finish 32-0 by winning the Premier League final. last year.

Most blue blood programs are also at the top. Kansas (Midwest) and Arizona (South) hold the No. 1 seeds for the 15th and seventh time, respectively, since 1985. Three of the four No. 2 seeds — Kentucky, Duke and Villanova — are regulars from this decade in the Elite Eight and beyond, and even party-goer Auburn was a dubious late whistle to play for the title as recently as 2019.

Gonzaga’s Drew Timme
USA TODAY Sports

Since the NCAA Tournament expanded to 64 teams (and later 68) in 1985, there have been eight championship games between two No. 1 seeds, like last year. But there have also been eight league games played without a No. 1 seed, and the top eight teams in this area are all vulnerable enough to suffer at least three defeats. In fact, four of the top eight — Arizona, Duke, Auburn and Kentucky — weren’t even part of March Madness last year.

Tom Burnett, chairman of the selection committee, said during the CBS reveal that 10 slightly different brackets were in play throughout Sunday, when Richmond (Atlantic 10) burst bubbles by winning their conference’s automatic bid. and that Texas A&M (SEC) almost did the same. a day after Virginia Tech won the ACC in stunning fashion. In the conference’s 32 tournaments, 17 seeds have been upset, so buyers should be careful when choosing an all-chalk bracket.

The tournament begins with top four matches, highlighted by Wyoming and Indiana battling for the No. 12 seed in the East on Tuesday and Rutgers and Notre Dame battling for the No. 11 seed. in the West on Wednesday. These were the bottom four teams, while the top four teams were Dayton, Oklahoma, SMU and Texas A&M. They become the COVID-19 emergency teams (in that order) if a replacement is needed by Monday.

For believers in a Hollywood ending, retired Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski didn’t win his last home game at Cameron Indoor Stadium or his last ACC tournament. These two upset losses become a footnote in history if a team led by two presumptive NBA lottery picks, Paolo Banchero and AJ Griffin, emerges from a Southern gauntlet and leads Krzyzewski to his sixth national title. .


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The opposite of seasoned Krzyzewski is Kevin Nickelberry, who will make his LSU coaching debut in the first round, after the school fired Will Wade on Saturday in response to an NCAA Notice of Allegations for recruiting violations.

Mike Krzyzewski
Mike Krzyzewski
USA TODAY Sports

South No. 5 American Athletic Conference champion Houston is a metrics darling — ranked No. 3 in the all-important NET after taking a historically easy path to the 2021 Final Four.

Looking for a hot Cinderella? No. 3 Tennessee from the South — a potential underseed — and No. 5 Iowa from the Midwest looked dominant as they won their respective SEC and Big Ten tournaments on Sunday, though history has shown that may be a or fools because the four or five day layoff acts as a cooling mechanism.

If guards are the key to success, there may be none better than two Big Ten rivals – Purdue’s Jaden Ivey and Wisconsin’s Johnny Davis – who are in the mix to be the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft. , featuring Auburn’s Jabari Smith, Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren and the duo Duke. Villanova is the best free-throw shooting team of all time, an advantage late in close games.

The Big Ten led with nine offers, followed by the Big East, Big 12 and SEC with six each, and an unusually low five from the ACC. Rutgers made history with the lowest NET ranking (78) of any overall team since the metric was introduced in 2018.

New York Post

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