The brackets are out. The games start tomorrow. There are now 68 teams, and the National Championship will be played on Monday, April 4, 2011, in Houston, Texas.
The number one seeds, as previously discussed, are Ohio State, Kansas, Duke, and Pittsburgh. Ohio State was rewarded with the overall number one seed, and does seem to be the consensus among the experts to make the Final Four.
Pat Forde does a good job of bringing up some of the more interesting stories that will make up this Tournament (as well as some minutia) but one of the most fascinating stories that he skips over is that of Steve Fisher. With San Diego State rolling the way they have through this season, and the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary on the Fab Five debuting last night, plenty of people are going to have Michigan on the mind. Fisher was fired from the University of Michigan amidst plenty of controversy relating to the Fab Five and NCAA infractions and the selection committee chose to put Fisher's former school, Michigan, on the same side as his new school, San Diego State. The Aztecs only lost to one team all season long, both at BYU and at home against BYU. Of course, in order to set up this theoretical revenge, Michigan would have to get past Duke. The Blue Devils may not have won the ACC, but they beat up on UNC in the ACC Tournament to grab some serious momentum running into the Big Dance.
The First Four, as the newly expanded NCAA Tournament is calling their new play-in games, start tomorrow night, and the for-real Tournament gets raring on Thursday and Friday. Regardless of filling in your brackets amongst your work colleagues, it's really worth taking some time to watch some of the games as they're taking place, especially in these first few days. There's very little to match up with the magic of any team being able to catch fire and knock off any other given team. There's a reason it's nicknamed March Madness - and the madness is about to set in.