OK, so the headline might be a little dramatic but it certainly got your attention and hopefully got you to click on this article so...hook, line, and sinker, right? Anyway, as March Madness approaches the storylines like this start to come out. If your team is not on the line you want it on, it automatically turns to Joe Lunardi and other bracketologists hating your said team.
The same thing happens to Kirk Herbstreit in November when he ranks team A ahead of team B even though they beat team C who lost to team D! Despite these biases from men of integrity, there’s still time to change their mind. We’re on the home stretch, and each W can be the difference between your team moving up and down. Here’s the latest report.
Despite winning three games in a row Joe Lundari’s hate continues to run deep toward the Wisconsin Badgers because he’s left Wisconsin in the exact same spot as last week. As it sits right now, the Badgers are projected to be an 8-seed taking on the Rhode Island Rams. The winner of that would likely get the Kansas Jayhawks in the round of 32. Personally, I don’t want either of those teams.
HOWEVER, the Badgers sit in a favorable spot right now and certainly have a chance to make a move. As it sits they’re currently the third lowest 8-seed, but they could easily move given their upcoming schedule. Rutgers and Michigan both occupy 7 and 8 seeds and are on the Badgers docket. If Wisconsin can win those games they likely jump up to a 7-seed which would be ideal in this scenario.
Big Ten Report
This week the Big Ten has lost a team in the Big Dance as Indiana has dropped from in the dance to the Last Four Out, but they certainly have the opportunity to make that up down the stretch. Leading the way is once again Maryland as a 2-seed followed by Penn State as a 3-seed. Then comes Michigan State as a 6-seed along with Ohio State.... a team the Badgers have beaten twice??
Then comes the jumble of teams as Iowa and Michigan sit on the 7-seed line while Wisconsin, Rutgers, and Illinois all occupy the 8-line. After that comes Purdue who is firmly on the bubble right now. It’s safe to say that this conference is fluid and will change a few more times before it’s all done.
Storyline to watch
Normally I do a Biggest Surprise section, but there isn’t a lot of surprises this week. Instead, I think the storyline to watch is who remains on the 1 and 2 lines as teams start to battle some tough competition. For example, the top two seeds in Baylor and Kansas will square off Saturday afternoon, and 3-seed Gonzaga will travel to BYU Saturday evening for their toughest test in quite some time. If the Zags lose they’ll permanently fall from a 1-seed, but who jumps up? Dayton? Duke? How firmly is Kansas on the 1-line if they fall hard to the Bears? How the top 8-10 seeds shake out will be fun to watch, and a lot of it’s shape will form starting this weekend.
Region I’d most like to watch?
Once again Tampa seems to be the place to go. On one side you have Marquette/Yale taking on the winner of Auburn/Wright State. On the other side you have Arizona/Furman taking on the winner of Villanova/North Texas. Round of 32 games between Marquette/Auburn and Arizona/Villanova is hard to beat.
Worst possible Final Four?
Duke, Kentucky, Villanova, Dealers choice. Right now the Blue Devils and Wildcats are sitting in the back waiting for their run. I see it, especially if Kentucky can hit shots like they did against LSU Tuesday evening. The South region however, sits pretty. Baylor, Dayton, Penn State, and Creighton are the top four seeds and don’t irk me too much as basketball programs. Football? Different story.
Best possible Final Four?
East Tennessee State, Yale, Furman, Vermont.... I want a 11 or 12 seed to make a run. Remember Loyola Chicago? Each game coming down to the wire? That was so legendary. Watch out for these teams, especially East Tennessee State and Furman. These two are leading the Southern conference and square off Wednesday evening. More than likely only one will get in the Dance, but whichever one does is capable of making a run.