Would the team that wants to win the 2013 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament please stand up? Or at least … win a couple of games? Consistently?
It seems that’s been a tough task this season, which has been full of court storming and inexplicable losses.
If you follow college hoops regularly, the whole idea of putting 68 teams into a bracket in less than two weeks and picking a winner should make you tremble with fear.
Take, for instance, No. 4 Michigan’s loss to woeful Penn State – a Nittany Lion team that hadn’t yet won a Big Ten conference game all season until that point.
Or how about unranked Minnesota, a team teetering on the edge of being on the tournament bubble, upsetting then-No. 1 Indiana in convincing fashion.
Or Virginia, which picked up a huge 73-68 win for its tournament hopes, beating No. 3 Duke for the first time since February 2007.
And then there’s Ole Miss, a team on the bubble, which simply needed a win over in-state rival Mississippi State, a team which entered the game with 13 consecutive losses.The final? Mississippi State 73, Ole Miss 67. (Yes, that sound you heard was the Ole Miss bubble bursting.)
And those are just the games that were played in the past week. Seriously.
It gets even more confusing if you factor in games from earlier this season.
TCU’s only conference win in the Big 12 this season? A win over then-No. 5 Kansas.
Duke has a 27-point loss at Miami on its resume, while Miami has a 15-point loss to a woeful Wake Forest team.
That Virginia team that beat Duke last week? It has losses earlier this season to Delaware, George Mason and Old Dominion.
South Florida’s only Big East conference win this year is over … the team that currently leads the conference, Georgetown.
Marquette, a team that clinched one of the top four seeds in the upcoming Big East tournament on Saturday, has a loss to Green Bay on its resume. (No, not the Packers. The current third-place team in the Horizon League.)
Elsewhere in the Big East, NCAA Tournament-bound Notre Dame lost early in the season to St. Joseph’s in overtime, and Syracuse has a home loss to Temple.
On the West Coast, UCLA – a team that boosted its tournament resume this weekend by completing the regular season sweep over Arizona – lost early in the season to Cal Poly. Oregon, meanwhile, has a loss to UTEP on its docket.
And, lest we forget quite possibly the worst loss of the season – Texas falling at the hands of Chaminade in November – which, now that we look at it, was a foreshadowing of the season to come.
The only team without a blatant baffling loss? That’d be Gonzaga, the college basketball darling from a decade ago, which should earn its first No. 1 ranking on Monday morning.
Confusing enough for you? As regular seasons start winding down and conference tournaments get underway in the next several days, you’re not alone if you expect chaos to ensue.
And then when the NCAA Tournament brackets come out? If you pick your bracket by favorite team colors, mascots or by flipping a coin … you might have as good a shot as the rest of us at picking the winner this year.
March madness, indeed.
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