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Locally, the NCAA tournament is always an afterthought. There is some talk on the local radio and television shows about the upsets that happen, but for the most part, without a local team in the “Big Dance” and a lack of local college basketball knowledge amongst the media, it’s no surprise discussion is almost non-existent.
As a Villanova graduate, I have always been a big fan of college basketball, so I laugh at the local hosts who prove their ignorance by disparaging the sport itself.
The first four days of the tournament are still the most exciting four days in sports today. Yes, a large part of that has to do with bracket pools and gambling, but it’s the one-and-done format that makes for such entertaining viewership. This year, upsets are down primarily because of the experience of some of the better teams in the field.
Because of the impending NBA lockout, many players decided to remain in college last year as opposed to declaring for the draft. It does eliminate some of the drama of the early rounds, but in the end makes for far better games in the second week of the tournament. Boston will in fact be hosting a Regional Final thisweekend, but it will take fifth billing with the Boston media.
The first weekend did give us the first ever upsets of two #2 seeds in the first round and also displayed the dominance of the Kentucky Wildcats as the #1 overall seed of the tournament and favorite. The Sweet 16 begins Thursday night and currently all four #1 seeds still remain, so the best basketball is most likely still to come.
It was a week to savor and we don’t see anything like it on the sports calendar until late April when the NBA and NHL playoffs coincide with the NFL draft and the start of the baseball season. It was a great time to sit back pour yourself a Guinness and enjoy “madness” that went far beyond college basketball.