After months of grueling anticipation, it has finally arrived. With Selection Sunday in the books, the NCAA Tournament is officially off and running.
March Madness is a culmination of everything American sports is about: unparalleled fervor, stunning levels of uncertainty, and a de-facto national holiday for the public and media alike.
With fans frantically filling out their brackets and viewers anxiously hopping from one channel to the next, the "Madness" extends beyond the court. Unlike other major sporting events, March Madness works because it fosters involvement and caters to the consumer; it's an experience for all.
When the field of 64 kicks off on Thursday, all eyes will be on Kentucky, Syracuse, North Carolina, and the other juggernauts of 2012. But the second round slate of games features some high-profile squads on upset alert, as well as a few enticing evenly-matched contests.
Will VCU pull off another improbable Cinderella run? Who will advance in Harvard and Vanderbilt's "battle of the brains?" Can UConn go deep into the Dance without Kemba Walker leading the way? And just how many points will Doug McDermott drop on a national stage?
All of these questions, plus countless more, will encompass this week's action. Let's take a look at the eight most appealing match-ups of the second round.