NCAA Hoops: The Madness has begun

Victor Bryant

This year’s NCAA basketball tournament has no shortage of intriguing storylines, as a plethora of upsets has led to the most wide open field in recent memory.

Going into the PAC 10 tournament, the NCAA tournament hopes were dwindling as a string of late season losses put them near the bottom of the conference.

Needing three victories to secure a PAC 10 tournament championship and an automatic NCAA tournament berth, the Trojans took the Staples Center by storm upsetting three favored opponents on consecutive nights.

The madness has begun.

Sixty-five teams are all working towards one common goal – to win the greatest tournament in sports.

The Big East seems to be the conference most likely to produce a champion, boasting three No.1 seeds and 7 teams overall. The six overtime thriller between Syracuse and Connecticut highlighted their conference tournament.

Down South, Mississippi State came out of nowhere to win the SEC tournament Championship and clinch an unlikely berth to the Big Dance, upsetting top seeded LSU in the process.

The conference tournaments have shown how much parody there is in college basketball and in a single-elimination tournament anything is possible.

Filling out this year’s bracket will be no easy task considering the similarities between many of the team’s regular season résumés.

One school of thought is to pick the team with the most dynamic individual player when comparing two teams with similar talent levels. Who could forget Davidson’s magical run to the Elite 8 last year behind the feathery shooting touch of Stephen Curry.

The 6-foot-3-inch combo guard singlehandedly took down traditional powerhouses such as Wisconsin and Georgetown in last year’s tournament, vaulting his small liberal arts college into national prominence.

For some of the teams in the tournament, this will be their one chance to perform in front of a national television audience and perhaps make a run worth remembering. For other teams there are massive expectations and potential NBA contracts that can disappear as quickly as a camera’s flash.

Despite their differences, each and every player will share a common emotion when they take the floor this weekend – desperation. For the seniors without professional aspirations, these games serve as a last hurrah to their basketball careers.

The spirit of the NCAA tournament cannot be recreated at any other level of basketball. At no other point does youthful enthusiasm meet expert ability.

Regardless of the result of this year’s tournament, madness will surely ensue.