March Madness Enters the Twilight Zone
Before the conference tournaments from the so-called “Big 6” conferences began, everyone thought they had it all figured out. We already knew who the contenders from the “Big Six” Conferences were and we eagerly anticipated seeing several marquee matchups take place in their respective conference finals.
The great thing is…they actually played the games. College basketball analysts from all the media outlets across the country confidently looked ahead to these projected match-ups and debated the future match-ups as if they were so clearly going to happen. It all seemed so obvious.
Everything they needed to know was there in the brackets, or in the convoluted formula of the RPI and SOS comparisons.
Meanwhile, in cyberspace, the college basketball faithful were churning out volumes upon volumes of debate within sports blogs, chat rooms and bulletin boards about the pending sexy match-ups that was going to be the evidence they needed to help them fill out their NCAA Tournament Brackets on Sunday night.
But something happened and I am not sure what… maybe the earth shifted, or maybe the planets went into a funky alignment, or possibly it is somehow related to the subtle effects of global warming. I just do not know.
But, one thing is certain. We are officially in the throes of March Madness and it is taking us through a thrilling ride to the Twilight Zone!
It all began with the Big 12 that delivered two upsets early on Thursday. Both Kansas (11) and Oklahoma (5) pulled a sick disappearing act and all of the sudden their highly anticipated rematch was no longer possible.
Simultaneously in the Big East games, the Pittsburgh Panthers (2) surprisingly got an old fashioned smack down from West Virginia.
Then later that evening, in the Mecca Shrine of College Basketball that is Madison Square Garden, the Syracuse Orange men (18) experience an epiphany and throw down what is arguably the “Game of the Century” in which Syracuse narrowly defeated Connecticut (3) in a monumental struggle of wills that lasted through six incredible overtimes.
I think Syracuse has got their groove back.
Finally today, top ranked North Carolina (1), Michigan State (7), Washington (13) and Louisiana State (20) all regular season champions in the ACC, Big Ten, Pac Ten and South Eastern Conferences respectively take it on the chin and all lose in their tournaments.
That ensures five of the “Big Six” conferences regular season champions were ousted by a conference rival. If Syracuse continues on their great run and beats a solid Louisville team tonight, the Big Six Conferences will get swept!
Can it get any wackier? Yes indeed it can. Other conference Champions and ranked teams like BYU (25) from the Mountain West, Xavier (19) from the Atlantic-10, and Butler (16) from the Horizon League also lost in their Conference tournaments.
What does this mean? The impact will be that in some of these conferences a team that was considered dead will be given new life and an NCAA bid at the expense of another team on the proverbial bubble.
Meanwhile, the contenders we all know about, will still be sitting nicely on the top three lines of the bracket and resting their legs for the Real Dance.
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