We are in for a wild March Madness. Not like March Madness isn’t already crazy but some years are crazier than others, and I predict this will be one of them.
Part of the reason the cancellation of the 2020 edition of March Madness was so devastating was that it was set up to be a wild ride. There was no clear-cut dominant team that seemed destined to win it all. The year was full of upsets and teams coming out of nowhere. This season feels a lot like that. The defending champion Baylor lost a ton of players yet is still really good. Gonzaga isn’t full of All-Americans like last year. Duke, Kentucky, and Kansas are all good but they aren’t fielding a whole lineup of future NBA stars.
This past week in college basketball has given fans a reason to look ahead to the chaos that could happen in this year’s March Madness. There have been 10 losses by top-10 teams in the last five days. Seven of those losses happened on Saturday, with the number one through six teams all losing on the same day. We are in conference play so teams are playing toucher opponents each week, especially at this point in the season when a lot of teams have figured it out, but four of those top-10 teams lost to unranked opponents.
Last year’s tournament was incredibly fun and much needed after a two-year hiatus. We had everything we could have wanted from March Madness. There were buzzer-beaters, huge dunks, Cinderella teams, and feel-good stories. But at the end of the day, it was two number one seeds playing for it all. Also, the biggest Cinderella team was UCLA, the most prestigious college basketball school in the country.
I think this year has a chance to give us complete and absolute chaos. I think is the year we see a Cinderella team come out of nowhere, like Loyola-Chicago in 2018. We could see a team like Colorado State, San Francisco, or Murray State make a huge run and actually look like they belong among the top teams in the nation. We could also see some non-blue blood teams emerge as the best in the field. While Duke, Kentucky, Kansas, and Gonzaga have yet another good opportunity to win it all, there are teams such as Providence, Saint Mary’s, and Auburn that also have a good shot to win a championship. We don’t know what is going to happen once the 68-team field is set, and that is a very good thing, but what I do know is that we are about to have a whole bunch of fun watching those teams get whittled down until there is just one left.