Well...Kentucky and West Virginia are under way. This is the first game I have watched in this year's version of the NCAA Tournament, but I have been following it closely. I have each of these teams winning two of my six brackets, (I know, I know, I should have only one, but it's fun to spread the wealth :-). Actually Kentucky and West Virginia are the only two teams I have left to keep the dream alive of having a decent bracket, since Kansas is done (whom I had in two of my brackets), as well as Syracuse and Ohio State (who also have gone bye bye). I really like West Virginia...a scrappy team, even without their starting point guard. Yet, Kentucky should win the whole thing...as there is no team as talented as them. But, we just can't overlook Butler.
Unlike the NBA, the unpredictability of the NCAA Tournament is exciting. Kansas took the University of Northern Iowa lightly, it seems, and the #9 seed in their region upset the #1 seed to get the round of 16. Butler, a mid-major school from Indiana won just a awhile ago to get to the Final Four...pretty amazing, really, as they have knocked off #1 seed in their region, Syracuse and the #2 seed Kansas State. Also, as mentioned the University of Northern Iowa, as well as St. Mary's from California and Ivy Leage school, Cornell all made it to the sweet sixteen. These mid-major schools certainly are pesky...as they seem to be gaining on their "major" brethren more so every year. One might wonder why. As a friend of mine pointed out, much of it may have to do with the fact that the talented young men that play college basketball only have to stay in school for one year, before opting for the NBA (which is a silly rule, in my opinion -- they should make it two years). Nonetheless, this is all something of an equalizer in many respects. This, and many of the smaller schools like Butler, Xavier, Gonzaga, and Cornell have really built up their programs over the past decade, so they have become solid places for good, young players to go and succeed. So, these smaller schools create more parity for the tournament...which I like, personally. I find myself rooting for the Gonzagas and the Butlers. Now, for the first time since George Mason made it to the Final Four a few years ago, another mid-major school has arrived. We'll see if they can keep up their magical run.