In 2009, March Madness has officially ended. Yes, Wake Forest fans, you can finally move past your first round loss to Cleveland State and begin looking forward to next year. Arizona fans, you too can look forward to next year, in hopes of making yet another NCAA tourney appearance, but please, at least be worthy of making it in next year.
Congrats to the North Carolina Tarheels for one of the most dominating tournament runs college basketball has ever seen. Congrats to Michigan State, for being one of the most improved teams from the beginning of the season to the end, and for giving the state of Michigan an exciting few days. And it would be plain wrong to ignore the season that the UConn women had. Congrats lady Huskies on an absolutely dominating season of perfection, well done.
Another season of madness has ended, but it is never too early to take a look at next year's March Madness! I could sit here and give you a handful of teams that will compete for a national championship next year, but I’ll leave that job to someone else. There is one team in my mind that will bring home the 2010 NCAA tournament trophy. In fact, if you listen closely you might still be able to hear them celebrating last year's incredible championship victory, yes I am talking about those Kansas Jayhawks.
Sure, anything can happen in the NCAA tournament, but if I was a betting man (oddly enough I am), I would bet that the Jayhawks (assuming they suffer no serious injuries and none of their main players declare for the NBA draft) will be cutting down the nets in 2010.
What makes me so sure? Well first of all, after losing much of their championship team from last season, they won the Big 12 regular season title. Then they managed to earn a No. 3 seed in the NCAA tourney. Then they reached the Elite 8. In fact, if not for a great comeback by the Michigan State Spartans (or great collapse by the Jayhawks, take your pick), the ‘Hawks would have reached the Final Four.
Now, all of that is impressive, but how does any of it translate into winning the title next year? First off, they return all their players (unless as previously mentioned, any decide to declare for the draft), and secondly the No. 1 recruit in the nation, Xavier Henry is rumored to have decided to attend Kansas, instead of Memphis.
Sure, Michigan State will be great again, the Big East will have multiple teams capable of winning it all, and UNC and Duke will likely be in the mix as usual, but I believe the Kansas Jayhawks will once again be NCAA champions. Even if Henry decides to go elsewhere, I believe the Jayhawks will be the favorites, but if he does end up in Kansas I see no reason to believe that anyone else in the country will be able to take them down.