March Madness

The Big Dance is almost here again.  The Madness has already begun with a number of teams punching their tickets to the tournament.   FGCU, Winthrop, UNC Wilmington, Iona, Wichita State, Jacksonville, and ETSU have all earned their entry into the field of 68 with 4 more spots being determined tonight.

The Horizon League, Northeast Conference,
Summit League, and the West Coast Conference will all crown a champion tonight, and possibly send this year’s Cinderella to the dance.  With the exception of the WCC, since Gonzaga and Saint Marys wouldn’t really be considered Cinderellas.   We know that they are both already in the tournament with a combined 4 losses all season.  The remaining 21 conferences will decide a champion over the next few days leading up to selection Sunday.
Tickets punched so far:
  • FGCU Eagles (Atlantic Sun)
  • Winthrop Eagles (Big South)
  • UNC Wilmington Seahawks (Colonial)
  • Iona Gaels (MAAC)
  • Wichita State Shockers (Missouri Valley)
  • Jacksonville Gamecocks (Ohio Valley)
  • East Tennessee State Buccaneers (SoCon)
Tickets that will be punched:
  • AAC, March 12th (ESPN 2)
  • ACC, March 11th (ESPN)
  • America East, March 11th (ESPN 2)
  • Atlantic 10, March 12th (CBS)
  • Big East, March 11th (FOX)
  • Big Sky, March 11th (ESPNU)
  • Big Ten, March 12th (CBS)
  • Big 12, March 11th (ESPN)
  • Big West, March 11th (ESPN2)
  • Conference USA, March 11th (CBSSN)
  • Horizon League, March 7th (ESPN)
  • Ivy League, March 12th (ESPN2)
  • MAC, March 11th (ESPN2)
  • MEAC, March 11th (ESPN2)
  • Mountain West, March 11th (CBS)
  • Northeast, March 7th (ESPN2)
  • Pac-12, March 11th (ESPN)
  • Patriot, March 8th (CBSSN)
  • SEC, March 12th (ESPN)
  • Southland, March 11th (ESPN2)
  • Summit, March 7th (ESPN2)
  • Sun Belt, March 12th (ESPN2)
  • SWAC, March 11th (ESPNU)
  • WAC, March 11th (ESPNU)
  • WCC, March 7th (ESPN)
In most, if not all of these conference tournaments, the top seed should be the favorite but as we all know anything can happen once the ball is tipped.  Upsets are a regular occurrence this time of year in college basketball.  And while they are exciting, the can have a ripple effect throughout the entire landscape.   If the top seed in a conference is already a lock to get in the tournament and a team that isn’t a lock wins the conference tournament, that is all but game over for some bubble teams.  There are only 68 spots and when a team that shouldn’t even be close gets in, there just aren’t enough spots to go around.   I’m sure we’ll see our fair share of upsets over the next several days and few weeks and I am excited that it is time for March Madness all over again.