Getting ready for March Madness

It’s March, baby, and we all know what that means: the NCAA basketball tournament is here and it is time to drop all responsibilities to watch basketball. As a die-hard sports fan, this upcoming weekend is truly my favorite weekend of sports all year. There are games on all day Thursday-Sunday with upsets, buzzer beaters, and everything in between. Unfortunately, I still have responsibilities to take care of, but I apologize in advance to my professors when I am checking my laptop for scores instead of paying attention in class; it’s a week before Spring Break anyway.

Around all the excitement, there are still games that need to be played, with the bracket released, it is time to figure out who is going to win the whole thing. There are a lot of intriguing matchups in the Round of 64. The nation will get to see what Trae Young and Oklahoma can do against E.C. Matthews and his Rams of Rhode Island. Oklahoma was a huge story early on in the season, but have recently struggled going 4-11 in their last 15 games, not ideal for a team, but who knows what is going to happen when Trae Young takes the floor. Also, watch out for the third seeded Auburn Tigers falling victim in their first game against a scrappy College of Charleston. If you have been following college basketball this year, then you’ll know already that a matchup between Kentucky and Arizona is very much so a possibility on Saturday. Admittedly, before the bracket was released, I was thinking about these two programs making the Final Four, but now, only one is going to make the Sweet 16. Kentucky is the youngest team in the country and seemed to have all the pieces put together at the right time and to win the SEC Tournament. On the other side of things, Arizona has one of the top players in the country in Deandre Ayton and has played solid basketball from beginning to end. This could also be head coach Sean Miller’s last run with the WildCats as he is the subject of a wiring taping probe by the FBI, where he, allegedly, discussed paying $100,000 to secure Ayton’s commitment out of high school.

The top overall seed, the University of Virginia Cavaliers (UVA), did not receive a favorable draw as they will have to play the winner of Arizona/Kentucky if they advance to the Sweet 16. UVA has come in previous years with a lot of buzz, but has never made it to the Final Four. Watch out for Tony Bennett’s team to get over the hump as going 32-2 overall and 17-1 in Atlantic Coast Conference play is quite an accomplishment.

If you are looking for a lower seed to make a run in the tournament, take a look at Alabama who is a 9 seed. The Crimson Tide boasts one of the best freshman in the country in Collin Sexton, who has Russell Westbrook-type ability to take over the game and get his team a win. Going back to the Cougars of the College of Charleston, as a 13 seed, they might be able to make a Cinderella run to at least the Sweet 16. They have favorable matchups with Auburn, who is dealing with injuries along with a matchup with the winner of the Clemson/New Mexico State game. The Cougars have won 14 out of their last 15, whereas Auburn has lost four out of their last six.

March Madness is truly a spectacle; I was fortunate enough to attend second-round games two years ago, and I’ll never forget the environment that was created in the area. The best part about it is the unknown. Everything I just said, while it is my beliefs, could happen, or the exact opposite could happen. Will a 16 seed upset a 1 seed for the first time ever?? It’s bound to happen eventually, right? So why not this year? Or will all the higher seeds win? There are thousands of possibilities and many great basketball games coming your way soon, so grab your spot on the couch, sit back and enjoy the madness.

Luke Chiasson