March Madness is upon us, and people in offices all across the country are going to be busy filling out brackets in hopes of becoming the office pool champion. The 2014 NCAA college basketball tourney begins this tuesday, with the four play in games, and gets rolling in earnest on Thursday and Friday with 32 big games. The allure of March Madness for many is trying to predict where the upsets will come up, and which team will emerge as the Cinderella story of the tournament.
The four teams that secured number one seeds are Virginia in the East, joined by Florida in the South, Wichita State in the Midwest and Arizona in the West. Let’s take a closer look at each of the regions and some of the sleepers and bubble teams in the 2014 March Madness tournament.
South: The tournament organizers have named Florida the overall No. 1 seed in the tournament. The Gators play in the SEC, the toughest conference in the country, and knocked off perennial powerhouse Kentucky to win its conference tournament. Florida rides into March Madness with a 26 game winning streak. The top challengers in this bracket will be Kansas, Syracuse (a No. 1 team for much of the season) and and UCLA.
Midwest: The Wichita State Shockers have shocked some casual observers of college hoops by grabbing a No. 1 seed, but have not surprised those watching closely. The Shockers are not a regular contender in March, but made a surprising run all the way to the 2013 Final Four, before losing to Louisville. Wichita State has not lost since. They were undefeated this season at 34-0. Kentucky is the top threat to knock off WSU in the Midwest bracket. Tom Izzo and Michigan State are always tough when March Madness rolls around, and could be a sleeper in this region.
East: The Virginia Cavaliers are the least regarded of the No. 1 seeds. They got the nod over Michigan, Villanova and Wisconsin as the last “top” seed. The East appears to be up for grabs in trying to fill out an accurate bracket. Virginia knocked off Duke in the ACC finals to secure their top bid. Michigan State and Villinova are top picks to knock off Virginia.
West: The region that looks like the weakest in March Madness is the West. Arizona doesn’t have any power teams in the region with them. The 2, 3 and 4 seeds are Wisconsin, Creighton, and San Diego State respectively. Creighton has a top star in Doug McDermott – a player people should keep their eyes on this tournament.
Sleepers and Odds & Ends: Louisville, at No. 4 in the Midwest appears to be all the experts favorite team not ranked 1 or 2, with many picking them as a strong contender to win the whole tourney. The last four teams that didn’t make the cut this year were Minnesota, Arkansas, Florida State and California. The last four in were Dayton, SMU, Tennessee and BYU.
March is always one of the most exciting times of a sports fan’s calendar. It’s a million to 1 shot to pick all the upsets and wackiness that unfolds each year in the NCAA college basketball March Madness tourney. Let the games begin!!
[Image via Wildcatbluenation.com]