Selection Sunday is either one of the most exciting or most heartbreaking days on the sports calendar depending on where your loyalty lies. It's a moment of gratification for 68 programs around the nation and gives every other team something to strive for next season.
While the usual suspects such as North Carolina, Duke and Michigan State are safely in the field, there are still a handful of teams on the bubble. Tennessee, Texas and Miami are just a few of the squads hoping the committee chooses them to go dancing on Sunday.
All told, it's shaping up to be another memorable day.
When: Sunday, March 11 at 6 p.m. ET
Schedule: CBS Sports Tournament Schedule
New Bracket Show Announced - "Hardcore Brackets"
Following the selection show on CBS, bracket coverage with shift to TruTV at 7 p.m. For the first time ever, the committee will reveal the entire 68-team seeding list, according to the NCAA website. Chair Jeff Hathaway and vice chair Mike Bobinski will discuss details that previously remained secret.
The report says it's an opportunity for fans to get a more comprehensive look at the seeding process. It should help clear up some common misconceptions about what the committee does and doesn't consider, adding some depth to the entire process.
Charles Barkley removed from Selection Show
Charles Barkley will no longer be featured on CBS' main selection show, according to Michael Hiestand of USA Today. Instead, the popular basketball analyst will be relocated to the aforementioned Hardcore Brackets show on TruTV.
It's an opportunity to generate more interest in the new show. CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus says in the report that he's not concerned about anything the outspoken Barkley might say, but rather changes were needed to the main telecast.
Here's a quick look at the four teams with a great chance of landing a No. 1 seed:
Kentucky is holding steady in the top spot after a nearly perfect regular season. The Wildcats' only loss came against a strong Indiana squad on the road in early December. They have key wins over North Carolina, Kansas and Louisville among others.
Dominant freshman Anthony Davis has led the way. He is averaging 14 points, 10 rebounds and a remarkable five blocks per game. No other player in the country as been able to control the paint like him, which gives Kentucky a matchup advantage in every game it plays.
It hasn't been a one-man show, though. The Wildcats have five other contributors who can step up in any given game to become the second option on offense. It's that depth which makes them every head coach's nightmare opponent.
Syracuse's players should be applauded for enduring some off-court issues—most notably the Bernie Fine situation—and still having a terrific season. The team's only regular season loss came against Notre Dame on the road.
The Orange beat a formidable Louisville squad twice to go along with victories over Florida and Georgetown. As always, Jim Boeheim's stifling 2-3 zone defense has kept opponents off balance all season. This shouldn't be a surprise to any college basketball fan.
Kris Joseph has been the team's main offensive weapon, but sixth man Dion Waiters is equally important. The sophomore is averaging 12 points in just 24 minutes per game. He's able to get into the paint for easy buckets and can also knock down the three, making him extremely tough to defend.
The road for Kansas has been a little more bumpy than the previous two teams, but the Jayhawks are still on track for a No. 1 seed. They picked up a victory over rival Missouri down the stretch to establish themselves as an elite team.
A lot of their success is thanks to the dynamic duo of Thomas Robinson and Tyshawn Taylor. They have suffered some tournament disappointments in recent years and appear to be using that as fuel heading into this year's big dance.
If Kansas is going to avoid another premature exit, another reliable option will need to emerge. Elijah Johnson and Travis Releford have both shown glimpses of filling that role, but need to do it on a more consistent basis in the coming weeks.
North Carolina Tar Heels
North Carolina knocked off Duke in the regular season finale to give itself an inside track for the final No. 1 seed. The Tar Heels entered the season with a lot of hype and having lived up to expectations for the most part.
An early-season loss to UNLV was surprising at the time, but the Runnin' Rebels turned out to be better than most people were expecting. UNC took Kentucky to the wire on the road and had five wins over ranked foes, so they are certainly worthy of a top spot.
By now everybody knows about the interior dominance of Harrison Barnes, Tyler Zeller and John Henson. In order to win the national title, however, one of the team's guards will need to step up and force opponents to respect the perimeter. Reggie Bullock is the most likely candidate.
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