|Written by Michael|
Bet on NCAABNow that the conference tournaments have ended, March Madness is officially here. Teams have been allowed into the big dance, or had their hopes dashed as the participating teams were announced on Sunday. The top seeds have been named – Ohio State, Duke, Pittsburgh, and Kansas – but with the field growing to 68 total teams this year, you can bet there will be an upset or two on the road to the NCAA championship game.
Allowing more teams into the tournament decreased the size of the so-called bubble, but every year has surprises, and 2011 is no different. One big surprise was Penn State, which was questionable going into the conference tournaments, but made it into the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2001. They were selected as a No. 10 seed in the West.
A surprising snub was the Virginia Tech Hokies, who defeated Duke and Florida State during the regular season. Many had predicted Virginia Tech would make it to the tournament, but they were excluded, along with Colorado and Alabama. The Crimson Tide, despite beating Georgia twice in the regular season, were snubbed in favor of Georgia, which played better late in the season and in the conference tourney.
The question that everyone will be trying to answer in the next few weeks, though, is which teams actually make it to the Final Four. A Final Four made up of the top four seeds would be predictable, but a little unexciting. Could Purdue get an upset? Or will underdog Butler make it to one of the final games of the tournament?
Ohio State is the obvious favorite after winning the Big Ten Championship decisively against Penn State on Sunday. But they face a competitive field just getting to the Final Four. They may have to overcome such teams as Kentucky, Syracuse, and North Carolina, and the road to the Sweet Sixteen will be a tiring one for the Buckeyes.