The 2012 NCAA Tournament kicks off in earnest tonight and tomorrow night with the so-called “first round”, or, as many refer to them, the play-in games.
While the interest level in those games certainly increased with the inclusion of the last four teams to earn at-large bids as part of the festivities, for most fans, the true start of the tournament comes on Thursday morning.
Between the opening tip on Thursday morning and the final buzzer on Friday night lies a marathon of hysteria, comprised of 32 basketball games, all dripping with drama and excitement.
The likelihood that you will have the time or energy to watch all 32 of those games is low. Life gets in the way. There are errands to be run, places to be, people to see. Having said that, there is nothing wrong with planning your day around the tournament schedule to make sure you catch all the exciting endings, amazing comebacks and stunning upsets.
Identifying which matchups will produce the best games will allow you to satisfy your inner March Madness fanatic while still maintaining some semblance of normal, everyday life. Here are all 32 matchups ranked from worst to first based on the potential quality of the game.
Because “quality basketball” is a completely subjective topic, for your reference, the rankings were rated based on the anticipated pace of the game (let’s face it, two teams trading baskets is a lot more exciting to watch than two teams trading literal punches), projected difference in scoring between each team (a close game is obviously much more enjoyable than a blowout) and, the biggest factor, potential for an upset.