The brackets are out. The match-ups are set. The 2010 NCAA tournament has arrived.
March madness makes for the most wonderful stretch of sports each year.
Cinderellas, buzzer beaters, half court miracle heaves, posterizations, drama, passion, heartbreak, dogpiles, and tears.
It's all part of what makes March magical.
The first weekend of the NCAA tournament often provides some of the most enjoyable doses of entertainment.
A handful of memorable upsets are always a part of the fun.
So before you fill out your bracket, give special consideration to the following contests.
Cinderella is lurking.
No. 4 Pudue vs. No. 13 Siena
Not long ago, Purdue was considered a strong candidate for a No. 1 seed, and a favorite of many to make a final four run.
Then Robbie Hummel went down with a knee injury.
The fate of Purdue changed dramatically.
The Boilermakers wrapped up their season with an embarrassing blowout loss to Minnesota in the Big Ten tournament.
Purdue will take on an experienced and dangerous Siena team in round one.
Siena has pulled off an upset in the first round of each of the last two tournaments. They dominated the MAAC, compiling a 17-1 record and a conference tournament crown.
The Saints will be confident and prepared.
Purdue is on upset alert.
No. 6 Marquette vs. No. 11 Washington
It has been a year to forget for the Pac 10.
Washington's run through the conference tournament assured the Pac 10 two berths in the big dance.
Now the Huskies have an opportunity to atone for a ho-hum season with a big postseason.
Washington is an 11 seed with top twenty talent.
Marquette will pose a tough first round matchup for the Huskies.
The Golden Eagles are battled tested. They made it through a rugged Big East schedule intact and have oodles of experience in close games.
This one shapes up as another nail-biter for Marquette with two talent-laden teams going down to the wire.
No. 5 Butler vs. No. 12 UTEP
UTEP lost just one conference game during the regular season.
Unfortunately, the Miners also dropped one game in the conference tournament, leaving them sweating it out on the bubble on Selection Sunday.
UTEP snuck into the field as a 12 seed.
Great news for UTEP. Bad news for Butler.
The Bulldogs cruised to a perfect record in the Horizon league, but haven't had to deal with a big man like Derrick Caracter.
The Miners have a dangerous one-two punch in Caracter and Randy Culpepper, and another big contributor in Arnett Moultrie.
Butler has a terrific one-two-three combo in Gordon Hayward, Shelvin Mack, and Matt Howard.
Some have the Bulldogs pegged as a dark horse final four candidate.
They may make a deep run, but they'll have their hands full with UTEP's big guys as they try to get through round one.
No. 4 Vanderbilt vs. No. 13 Murray State
Murray State has lost just once since December. They rolled through the Ohio Valley conference largely unchallenged, but haven't had much opportunity to prove themselves against top competition.
That chance comes now.
The Racers have the most remarkably balanced offensive attack in college basketball. Five players average between 10.3 and 10.6 points, and a sixth comes in at 9.5.
They have steady guard play, shoot the ball well, and have a shot blocking presence inside.
Vanderbilt is an explosive offensive team. The key for Murray State will be slowing the Commodores' potent attack.
Vanderbilt is 1-4 when held below 65 points.
The Racers have held their opponent below 65 points 22 times this season.
No. 6 Tennessee vs. No. 11 San Diego State
San Diego State may be the most dangerous double digit seed in the entire field.
The Aztecs are an incredible rebounding team. They have a powerful, quick, and athletic frontline.
The key for San Diego State is point guard DJ Gay. Gay has been steady and clutch down the stretch, but if Tennessee can get under his skin with their pressure, it could be a long day for the Aztecs.
The Volunteers will need to recapture some momentum. Tennessee won five straight down the stretch, but were run off the court by Kentucky in the SEC tournament.
San Diego State has proven they can beat great teams on a neutral court. Tennessee has proven they can beat great teams at home.
The game will be played in Providence.
The brackets are out. The Madness is upon us.