NCAA to enter March Madness

By Matt Campbell
March 17, 2005

The NCAA tournament championship is a dream for most and a reality for few, but the spectacle of hope for the underdog is enough to spark at least a few first round upsets, and for some teams that is their championship.

Selection Sunday has come and gone and the National Collegiate Athletic Association men’s basketball tournament is underway. “It’s March madness baby,” as Dick Vitale would say.

The NCAA Selection Committee released Sunday the tournament brackets for the big dance. The overall number one ranked team is the Fighting Illini. Finishing the season with a record of 32-1, they are the obvious favorites. Rounding out the remaining number one seeds are Washington (27-5), North Carolina (27-4) and Duke (25-5).

College basketball fans are now in search of the perfect bracket. Scanning the match-ups to find the upsets and the Cinderella stories have become part-time jobs for those involved in office pools nationwide.

The statistics tell the story when it comes to first round games. The first four picks in every bracket will be the number one seeds advancing past their 16th seed rivals because in the tournaments history, since it expanded to 64 teams, number one seeds are undefeated in the first round. The beauty about the NCAA tournament lies in the upsets, the sleepers and the quiet underdogs.

A nine seed beating an eight seed is a far cry from an upset. The real upsets lie in the 12, 13 and 14 seeds knocking off their top seeded big name opponents. The sleepers this year include Vermont, Pennsylvania and George Washington.

The Vermont Catamounts enter the tournament with their coach Tom Brennan heading for retirement at the end of the season. Their opponent, Syracuse, will be outmatched in energy and intensity, however a tough match-up zone defense could send the Catamounts packing.

Pennsylvania is yet another team that could slide in unnoticed from the Ivy League and advance to the second round. The Quakers chances lie mainly with their guard-play. They face a Boston College team that appears to be a little unstable, winning only two of its last five games while Pennsylvania heads into the tourney off of a five-game winning streak.

The George Washington Colonials will be pitted against Atlantic Coast Conference Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets were inconsistent throughout the regular season, but have shown signs of dominance defeating North Carolina in the ACC tournament. The Colonials started the season off by running over top ranked opponents Maryland and Michigan State. They will need to return to their early season supremacy for what could be a bracket-busting upset.

The Cinderella story is out there, but picking an early fall for a top seeded team could turn your bracket upside down.

The champion wont be decided until April, but until then each team will play like its their last and that is what creates March Madness.

Posted to the web by Shane Evans

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Matt Campbell

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