Sometime in the next few weeks, the landscape of college basketball will change. In a few hours time, the biggest tournament in the sport kicks-off with 64 hopefuls looking to make history. Upsets will happen. Cinderellas will dance well past midnight. And when all is said and done, the road will lead to AT&T Stadium in Texas for the Final Four and the Men’s Basketball Championship.
The clock is ticking, everyone. March Madness is coming.
Unlike previous years where there seemed to be an overwhelming favorite to win the tournament, this year’s March Madness will undoubtedly live up to its name. A lot of the top seeds have their own question marks. A lot of the mid seeds have some serious horses to go deep. And yes, even the bottom seeds have some ammunition to make some noise in the tournament.
The unpredictability has always been March Madness’ calling card, a yearly spectacle that has become a tradition for fans and bettors alike who know better to expect the unexpected. Think Florida as the overall top seed in the tournament with 9/2 odds to win the title will go far? Think Louisville, the defending champs, has been mis-cast as a four seed at 6/1 odds? Think Wichita State, the only undefeated team in the country, has good value as a number 1 seed in its region at 12/1 odds?
All pertinent questions, and yet the answers could go in so many different directions.
There’s a reason why March Madness has given new meaning to the phrase “chaotic orchestra”. It’s going to be a beautiful three weeks of collegiate basketball, albeit one that’s filled with upsets, surprises, buzzer beaters, and fairy tale runs.
Don’t even think for one second that you know what’s going to happen because if you did, you’d probably sitting on a $500 million check when all is said and done. (Thank you, Warren Buffet, right?) The truth is, nobody really knows what’s going to happen. Albany could play the best basketball of its life and upset Florida. Far-fetched? Sure. Impossible? Hell no.
A team like third seed Creighton, a former resident of mid-major Missouri Valley Conference that just got an invitation to the Big East, can win the whole thing at 30/1 odds. Hell, we only need to remember how far the high-flying Florida Gulf Coast University went in the tournament last year. They were the 15th seed and their first victim was the second seed Georgetown Hoyas.
Oh, and let’s not forget that last year’s tournament also saw a six seed (UCLA) get sent home by an 11 seed (Minnesota), a 14th seed (Harvard) taking down a three seed (New Mexico), and all but one of the five seeds (Oklahoma State, UNLV, and Wisconsin) were bounced in the first round by 12 seeds (Oregon, Mississippi, California).
This kind of zigging when everyone though zagging was the best option is a yearly occurrence in March Madness, which is why the tournament has turned into one of those few times in the year when (collegiate) basketball takes precedence over pretty much everything else.
Welcome to March Madness, ladies and gentlemen. Get the popcorn, strap on those seat belts, and prepare for another ride. If there’s anything we’ve come to know, trust us when we tell you, it’s going to be a hell of a ride.