March Madness brings debates, snubs and bracket busters

Sports Editor and Sports Editor

If you see your friends stressed, watching ESPN non-stop or finding garbage cans filled with tons of crumpled white printing paper, don’t fret: March Madness is back.

It is that time of the year again, but the debates about who should be number one seeds and two seeds and where they should play is finally over. That’s the boring part I don’t care where people play I just want to see the best 68 or 64 teams playing for three weeks of non-stop basketball.

Now when I say the best 68 or 64 teams, I mean the actual best teams with the best resumes. There are always debates about who got snubbed, most of those arguments are just angry coaches. I usually don’t get into the arguments about teams getting snubbed because honestly, I have no idea what the selection process entails. I leave that to the people that make the big bucks. One decision had me pretty upset Sunday night, though, and that was the Southern Methodist University decision.

Let’s get real here for a minute; SMU deserved to be in the NCAA Tournament. They were ranked 25th in the last AP poll before Selection Sunday and had a 23-8 record with two wins over tournament team Cincinnati, tournament team Memphis and a three point loss to number one seed Virginia. You will have a hard time convincing me that teams like Xavier, Colorado, BYU and even NC State are better than SMU because they are not.

I try not to nitpick the selection committee too much, though because like I said, they know more than I do about the situation.

With that said, I will get into talking about the field. There are definitely some teams, in my opinion, that have very easy roads to the Elite Eight or Final Four. The first one being Arizona, if they can get by the winner of the Gonzaga and Oklahoma State game, there is nobody in that bracket to stop them from getting to the Elite Eight at least.

Florida is another team who has a manageable road to the Final Four. With the uncertainty of Kansas center Joel Embid, there is nobody with the depth, scoring or experience to beat them in the South Region, except for Kansas, if Wiggins dominates.

Duke is the last high seed with an easy road to the Elite Eight. If Iowa defeats Tennessee Wednesday night, I don’t see the Blue Devils, led by Jabari Parker, losing until the Elite Eight.

While some teams have easy roads, no team in the bracket will have a more difficult journey than undefeated Wichita State, as they will need to go through teams like Louisville, Kentucky, Saint Louis and then either Duke or Michigan in the Elite Eight.

There are plenty of teams that can bust your bracket in this year’s tournament. North Dakota State is one of them. They score at such a high clip that it is almost unbelievable. They score 76 points a game but shoot an unreal 50 percent from the field as well. They could easily beat Oklahoma and if they get hot they can make a run to the Sweet 16 to meet Arizona.

In that same region, Baylor may be the scariest six seed in the tournament. Baylor’s size inside mixed with three point specialist Brady Heslip is scary. If Heslip doesn’t shoot well that is a different story because the Bears struggle on offense, but if he gets hot it will be fun to watch. That inside outside combination could carry the Bears to the Sweet 16 maybe even the Elite Eight.

Last, but certainly not least, Stephen F. Austin. They are a poor man’s VCU, and it is only fitting that they play VCU in the first round. Everyone knows VCU but what people don’t know is that the Stephen F. Austin’s defense may be better than the Rams. If they can beat VCU they can definitely scare UCLA, and I would not be surprised to see them challenge Florida in the Sweet 16 if they make it that far.

One last rule to live by, never pick any Mountain West Conference teams. That means no New Mexico or San Diego State no matter how tempting. Both were big reasons in which I came in second in my pool last year. I now live by something I read in a bleacher report article: “Friends don’t let friends pick MWC teams,” so I’m telling you friends don’t pick a MWC team.

Don’t stress too much over your bracket though, this is the best time of the year. It’s meant to be spent with people you care about watching the best tournament in all of sports. Enjoy the memories that will surely come and remember to submit your brackets to the BG News Sports department by noon on Thursday to be entered in our pool.