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Sports Then and Now

2010 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament: Let The Madness Begin

Posted on March 14, 2010 by Dean Hybl
Big 12 Basketball Tournament - Kansas State v Kansas

The experts predict that Big 12 Champion Kansas will be holding up an even bigger trophy in three weeks.

America’s work productivity will take a big hit this week as people across the country contemplate their brackets for the 2010 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

While Kansas is the prohibitive favorite, there seems to be plenty of programs with a chance to put together a run and reach the Final Four in Indianapolis.

In addition to Kansas, Kentucky, Duke and Syracuse earned spots at the top of the four brackets. Some experts thought West Virginia and even Ohio State deserved a spot among the top four, but based on overall season performance, I think the committee got it right.

It is always funny to listen to the “experts” talk about which teams are on the bubble as it is a moving target that changes almost daily over the last couple weeks of the season.

Despite nearly upsetting number two ranked Kentucky, Mississippi State will be toiling away in the NIT. Same is true for Virginia Tech (23-8, tied for third in ACC) and Illinois (19-14, 10-8 in Big Ten), both of which seemed destined for the NCAA before suffering some late season losses.

Among the teams that did make the field of 65, UTEP, Minnesota and Florida were among the last to get at-large bids.

If history is any guide, the first two days will include some surprising upsets with lower seeds proving they belonged while some higher seeds prove unworthy of their lofty perch.

The 12-5 matchup is traditionally one where upsets happen. Last year three of the four matchups went to the lower seed. Among those games in 2010, #12 Cornell against #5 Temple and #12 UTEP against #5 Butler would seem to be the ripest for upset.

Which Number One Seed will be the First to Fall?

  • Duke Blue Devils (47%, 14 Votes)
  • Syracuse Orangemen (37%, 11 Votes)
  • Kentucky Wildcats (10%, 3 Votes)
  • Kansas Jayhawks (7%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 30

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NCAA Basketball: Atlantic 10 Tournament - Richmond vs Temple MAR 14

Atlantic 10 foes Richmond and Temple could both make a splash in the NCAA Tournament.

Other potential upsets include #13 Siena against #4 Purdue, #11 Old Dominion against #6 Notre Dame and #13 Wofford against #4 Wisconsin.

However, at the end of the day, it is likely that the four teams in the Final Four will likely all be high seeds.

In the last five years, half of the slots in the Final Four have been filled by number one seeds. Of the remaining 10 slots, eight have been filled by teams seeded in the top four. Only 11th seed George Mason in 2006 and 5th seed Michigan State in 2005 reached the Final Four after receiving a seeding outside the top four.

In a year where the top 25 has fluctuated greatly, it is possible that a squad outside the top 16 could get hot and make a run toward Indianapolis. Whether that crasher is a mid-major like Temple, Cornell, Northern Iowa (9th seed) or Richmond (7th seed) or a lower seed from a major conference like Tennessee (6th seed),  Oklahoma State (7th seed) or Georgia Tech (10th seed), such a team would be the talk of the town if they ended up in the Final Four.

While low seeds make for fun stories, they also can ruin the best picked bracket. So, just remember that selecting based on your favorite color or which mascot you like best can sometimes be just as successful as doing a thorough analysis and in the end might be more fun.

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