Thursday, March 10, 2011

dance tickets punched.

College basketball's third season is winding down. The dance cards for eleven teams have already been reserved. Belmont, UNC-Asheville, Old Dominion, Butler, St. Peter's, Indiana State, Morehead State, Wofford, Oakland, Arkansas-Little Rock, and Gonzaga have won their respective tournaments and earned the automatic entries. To keep track of who's definitely in, ESPN's set up this handy page but if you're bored of the facts and want pure prognostication, just turn to Joe Lunardi's Bracketology page.

By now, of course, most people are familiar with the concept of March Madness, even if they're not hoops fans. March Madness has turned into its own mini-Super Bowl, complete with insane advertising dollars being spent, and massive coverage.

This year, every single NCAA Tournament game will be streamed online, a first for an event this big. As Championship Week continues its clip and more teams are admitted to the Tournament, expect to see more and more news on the annual event that has become an office pool staple. Selection Sunday is this Sunday, the 13th of March, so brackets will be out in Monday's paper and, for those too impatient for tradition, on Sunday's webpages, available for immediate printout.

The number one seeds are projected, at this time, as Ohio State, Kansas, Duke and Pittsburgh. Where the final teams are seeded and who makes it in off the bubble (still a possibility for UNM!) really affects things, but of those four, it seems as though the safe money's on Duke and Kansas, especially if they're on opposite sides of the bracket. Duke looked invincible earlier in the season and, despite some late-season missteps, should be able to pick up some momentum in the early rounds. Kansas, on the other hand, enters the Tournament with plenty of momentum already. They rank 1st in the nation in field goal percentage and rattled off wins against Top 25 teams Texas A&M and Mizzou in the last week. It'll be no cake walk to get through the Big 12 Tournament, as Duke learned last weekend in the ACC Tourney, but they'll be favored.

Regardless, the madness of March is almost fully upon us. Grab a bracket, enjoy some of the upsets and follow along.

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