NCAA: The Madness Continues

John LewisSenior Writer IMarch 17, 2008

Everyone's NCAA tournament brackets all look the same, four No. 1's, four No. 2's, etc.  But if you dig a little deeper you will see plenty of plot lines that should make this March a little madder.

So now that the names are ready for the office pool, for recreational purposes only, here are the top stories for each region.

East Region:

North Carolina—Their first week will be in Raleigh and their second week will be in Charlotte.  The Tar Heels are 22-1 in the state of North Carolina during the NCAA tournament...point is you can give them the final four.

Tennessee—The Vols are a good team that, unfortunately, will have to play North Carolina in the regional finals...if they get that far. Do you know how many times Tennessee has made it that far?  The answer would be zero.  So all they're looking for is a run that would make the women proud.

Indiana—The Hoosiers are stumbling entering the tournament, and they were 22-4 under head coach Kelvin Sampson and 3-3 since.  Some experts are saying that interim head man, Dan Dakich, isn't returning...but freshman phenom, Eric Gordon, probably isn't either.

Midwest Region:

Kansas—The Jayhawks have been strong for most of the season, so why not Kansas.  Winning the conference championship certainly helps their chances for a run deep in the tournament, and god knows the fans want a final four birth more then anyone.

Wisconsin—The Badgers have won 23 out of their last 25 games and have stayed under everyone's radar.  Wisconsin won the Big Ten tournament while shooting 40 percent from the field, which tells us that the league is struggling a bit.  But look for their defense to come up big in a week.

Davidson—The Wildcats could be this year's biggest Cinderella but a first round match up with Gonzaga and a possible second round game against Georgetown should sent them packing for home.  But they have won 22 consecutive games and only lost to UNC by four points and Duke by don't count them out.

USC vs Kansas State—O.J. Mayo vs. Michael Beasley, the show down that everyone's waiting for, including NBA scouts.  These two possible one and done's should go No.1 and No. 2 in the draft next year.

South Region:

Memphis—The Tigers are four points away from being 34-0, but everyone saw their throws.  They shot 59.6 percent from the charity strip, but hopefully they worked on that in practice.  If everything goes as planed, Memphis will have to play Texas in the Houston regional.   

Stanford vs. Cornell—Get your calculators ready, this one will be the battle of the brains.  Look for Stanford to win this one.

Kentucky—On the bubble for most of the season, the Wildcats went from losing to Gardner-Webb at home, to making their 17th consecutive tournament appearance.  They'll face Marquette, so there's no telling how long they will stick around.

West Region:

UCLA—Kevin Love's back is hurting and Richard Mbah a Moute's ankle is sore.  The Bruins have won five out of their last six games by three points or less, but look for them to go deep in the tournament

Duke—The Blue Devils got a little lucky by having to play their first two games close to home.  Looking like a two seed in the Midwest for much of the season,which would've had them playing in Raleigh, a loss in the ACC tournament game them a two seed in the West...which means they only have to travel to Washington DC, it could've been worse.

To sum it up, this year's bracket should have plenty of busters.  Drake's MVP is a former walk on, and the last time they made the tournament, Richard Nixon was president.  Arizona kept its NCAA appearance streak alive and Florida and Ohio State didn't make the dance.

The last time the two teams from the title game didn't make the NCAA's the following year was 1980...the year after Magic Johnson and Larry Bird squared off. 


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