March Promises Madness

By: Isaac Turner-Hall

There has been plenty of chaos this season in college basketball. Nothing has gone to plan, the chaos started back in the first week of the season when North Carolina and Virginia, who were both ranked in the AP top five to start the year, lost to unranked mid major programs in the Northern Iowa Panthers and the George Washington Colonials.

The madness didn’t stop there. The No. 1-ranked teams have lost seven times this season, and three times in the state of Iowa, the most that this has happened in over 60 years, and if anybody is going to ever create a perfect bracket, this is not the year to try to do that. Top teams have been dropping all season, and no one team has solidified a spot as the best team in the nation, and nobody knows what to expect come tourney time. The entire top 10 could even be eliminated by the first weekend.

The two teams that solidified themselves last year as the best, Duke and Kentucky, aren’t even in the top 20 right now, and Ivy League champion Yale, who hasn’t been to the tournament in 54 years, is in, without their starting point guard Jack Montague who mysteriously left the team midseason for unannounced reasons.

It even appears as though the apparent best player in the nation in Ben Simmons won’t even be playing in the tournament unless LSU can make a run in the SEC tournament. The SMU Mustangs who are the team that went the deepest into the season without a loss aren’t even eligible to play in the postseason along with the Louisville Cardinals who both received NCAA sanctions due to rules violations.

Conference tournament play began last weekend with some great games ahead and some that have already played like the MVC tournament, which ended in thrilling fashion when Wes Washpun hit a thrilling game-winning buzzer-beater to send Northern Iowa to the tournament, and teams who needed to win to keep their season alive cashed in over the weekend like Austin Peay University who is 18-17 and won the Ohio Valley tournament to go to the big dance.

Conference tournament week has been lit, with six games on Monday having a 3-point margin or went into overtime, three of which were semifinal games. Everything has been unpredictable so far this season, and only one top seed has won its respective conference tournament so far. The larger conferences don’t play their conference tournaments until later this week or weekend.

Even the Wooden award which awards the National Player of the Year is up for grabs because Ben Simmons, whose statistics say he’s the best player in the nation, is ineligible for the award because you must maintain a 2.0 GPA to be a finalist for the award. Players like Oklahoma’s Buddy Hield have become front runners for the award amongst the 15 finalists, including North Carolina’s Brice Johnson, Iowa State’s Georges Niang and Iowa’s Jarrod Uthoff to name a few of the finalists.

This tournament has more buildup leading to it than most tournaments have in recent memory, there are no clear cut favorites to win the championship, and anybody can be beaten by anybody this year. Remember that when filling out your bracket. Will all four No. 1 seeds make it to the final four, or is this finally the year a No. 16 seed knocks off a No. 1 seed?

You can expect the unexpected this March, but one thing is for sure, there is going to madness this March.

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