The 2010 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament has been one of the most exciting tournaments in recent history. ESPN analist Jay Bilas said this was the weakest at-large group he has seen.
I guess this group proved Bilas wrong. Only half of the sixteen remaining teams was a top four team.
One No. 1 and one No. 2 have been knocked out. Three No. 3's and three No. 4's have also been knocked out.
This has been an interesting tournament and continues to be exciting. No one can predict who will be in the Final Four. There could be a No. 12 in the Final Four.
Four Cinderellas This Year?
Over ten years ago, this little-known team called Gonzaga made it to the tournament as a No. 10 seed. The Zags knocked off Minnesota in Round One, Stanford in Round Two, and Florida in Round Three.
A No. 10 team made it to the Elite Eight. They lost to the eventual National Champions University of Connecticut. They were known as the "Cinderella Team."
This year, we have four teams that could potentially be known as "Cinderella."
No. 9 Northern Iowa will face No. 5 Michigan State. While Coach Izzo has a lot more experience in the tournament, this Northern Iowa team is tough.
They never give up and are a scrappy team. They barely beat UNLV, but shocked the basketball world when they beat the overall No. 1 seed, Kansas.
Michigan State has been very lucky this tournament. The eked by New Mexico State before needing a buzzer-beater to beat Maryland. Without Kalin Lucas, Northern Iowa can pull off another upset.
No. 10 St. Mary's came in to the tournament with high hopes. They were talked about as a team that can cause some damage and they have.
St. Mary's soundly beat Richmond, even though the score does not say that. Then, they faced a tough Villanova team and beat them by seven.
St. Mary's will face No. 3 Baylor who has been hot as of late. They have a tough mountain to climb, but they can do it.
No. 11 Washington from the "lowly" Pacific Ten Conference has proved they are not as weak as their conference. The Huskies beat the "mighty" Big East when they knocked off No. 6 Marquette.
After barely beating Marquette, the Huskies felt good and dominated their next opponent. The No. 3 New Mexico Lobos did not stand a chance, losing by almost 20 points.
Now they face No. 2 West Virginia who has had no problems beating their opponents. Do the Huskies have another dominating performance in them?
No. 12 Cornell represents the Ivy League. This is the first time in 31 years a member of the Ivy League has made it to the Sweet Sixteen. Mind you, Cornell is not done.
Cornell has dominated both opponents, looking more like a No. 1 team, not a No. 12. The 12 versus 5 match-up has always proved interesting and Cornell made sure of that this year.
After beating No. 5 Temple, Cornell just simply dominated No. 4 Wisconsin. Wisconsin never even showed up for the game.
Cornell will face No. 1 Kentucky, but luck is on their side again. Cornell will play in Syracuse, New York, which is about an hour from campus. Do you think Big Red fans will show up?
What Happened to the Big East?
After receiving the most bids of any conference, the Big East has struggled in the tournament. They are .500, losing six of their eight teams.
Georgetown, Louisville, Marquette, and Notre Dame all failed to win their first games. Pittsburgh and Villanova each lost in the Second Round.
Only Syracuse and West Virginia remain. Syracuse has to face Butler, while WVU gets Washington, who is hot right now.
Where is the Love for the Big Ten?
Besides the Pac 10 Conference, the Big Ten was another conference the broadcasters poo-poohed this season.
"They are weak." "Only MSU has a chance." "They just don't have it this year."
I hope all these sportscasters are watching as the Big Ten has three remaining teams. Yes, they lost Minnesota right away, but many people believed they did not deserve to make the tournament.
In Round Two, Wisconsin got upset by Cornell. There is no excuse for that; they were plain just out-played.
No. 5 MSU faces Northern Iowa. If they can make up for Lucas, they can make it to the Elite Eight.
No. 2 Ohio State has a great chance against No. 6 Tennessee. No. 4 Purdue has an uphill battle against No. 1 Duke.
Do not count out the Big Ten just yet. They are not just Michigan State.
Get Ready For the Sweet Sixteen
This year's tournament has no doubt been exciting. If you have not lost at least one of your Final Four teams, I commend you. This was definitely the year of upsets.
The upsets are not over. There are some teams left with something to prove. There are teams who "did not deserve to be in the tournament" that think otherwise.
Do not expect any of the lower-seeded teams to just put down their heads and bow out. There will be at least one huge upset in the Sweet Sixteen. There will also be a team out of the blue to make it to the Final Four.
These "Cinderellas" are not done yet, so make sure you keep watching. Do not give up on any team just yet.