All the Bracketology is complete now. Now comes the waiting game, as everyone awaits the NCAA's real beginning on Thursday. Yeah, eight teams will play the next two days, but come on now-- the NCAA's really start on Thursday.
The top storylines...
1. Indiana misses out on the Midwest bracket, and a chance to go to Indianapolis. However, all the analysts I hear think this is a good thing. Louisville wins the Number 1 seed-- and their reward is seeking Duke as Number 2 seed, along with Michigan State at Number 3 and a rapidly-respected Saint Louis at Number 4. Gentlemen, start your engines in Indianapolis. Indiana is in the East, with Miami, Marquette, and Syracuse at 2-4. Honestly-- Syracuse scares the pants off me as an Indiana fan. At least the Hoosiers get to play at Dayton first-- and that should lead to a good home court advantage at the U-D Arena.
2. Kentucky is on the outside looking in. Is it rare that the national champ misses the tournament the next year? I thought so, but actually it isn't that rare. This is the 20th tournament that the defendending champ has not made it the next year. Couldn't have happened to a nicer team? Well.... all I have to say is it's ironic that their arch-nemesis-- Louisville-- will play at Rupp, while Kentucky travels to George Mason in the NIT-- and their 3, 000 seat gym. Fortunately for Kentucky, there may not be 3,000 fans wanting to see them play in the NIT.
3. What's so rare as a day in June? Indiana playing its first game in the NCAA daytime... but this year it is happening. The Hoosiers will play at 4:10 Friday afternoon. You wonder how many half-day time off requests will be coming in that day...Honestly, I believe this is the first time since 1988 that the Hoosiers have played its first NCAA game in the afternoon. Usually, it's "Late NIght with the Hoosiers" at the NCAA's-- maybe in honor of fellow Hoosier David Letterman?
4. The Big Ten got seven teams in... and would have been 8, had Iowa not collapsed. This is where we determine if the Big Ten really WAS America's best conference. It worries me that everyone called the Big Ten America's best conference, and Indiana as America's best team. Did Indiana play like the best time in America? Yes, at times. But the Hoosiers have been maddeningly inconsistent. Four of their losses-- to Butler, Wisconsin (twice), and Ohio State-- were against aggressive, good defensive teams. Good defense can give Indiana trouble. Also, my opinion? This team HAS to have Jordan Hulls shooting well. He has to snap out of a slump; if he can, Katie bar the door.
5. Syracuse as a 4 seed-- especially in the East-- worries me. That is a team that can give Indiana fits...
6. Louisville is the best team in the country-- right now. Russ Smith, Peyton Siva, and Georghe Dieng have played great the last 3 weeks, and of course, Rick Pitino has been there. As has Louisville-- they were a Final Four team a year ago.
7. Don't sleep in New Mexico. The Lobos are one of my Final Four teams. This is Steve Alford's time as a coach, and this team is gunning for respect. That is a dangerous combination.
That's my take... I'm Tom Lee.
Tags : Topics : SportsSocial : SportsLocations : Butler, Indiana, Indianapolis, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisville, Marquette, Miami, New Mexico, Syracuse, WisconsinPeople : David Letterman, George Mason, Georghe Dieng, Jordan Hulls, Peyton Siva, Rick Pitino, Russ Smith, Steve Alford