The NCAA men’s college basketball tournament, colloquially known as ‘March Madness’ – is here again; which means something special to die-hard basketball fans (non-stop basketball rants at the office, and team picks that spark basketball madness around-the-way). In the weeks leading up to the main event, hundreds of college basketball teams from all over the United States vie for a chance at the “Big Dance,” as it is called (to earn a spot in the tournament); and let me assure you, some of the on-court action displayed by these young athletes is pretty impressive (not that I’m a huge fan or anything, I’m just sayin’…). In recent years, champions took charge with respectable scores and fancy footwork, and this year’s action promises to reach blow-out proportions (down the stretch), leaving the best team standing.
Basketball Programs to win the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship include:
Now, if you’re saying to yourself “I plan to watch zero minutes of college basketball this year, no matter how heated the competition gets,” there’s still hope for you, and there’s certainly an app for that! First off, let me tell you – we’re not so different, you and I. My entire day could unfold rather famously without checking game stats, or taking the time to create new game trackers; but then, how would I relate to an avid enthusiast who needs to talk ‘seeds’ and ‘brackets’ for a few minutes (to purge their athletic soul)? It’s almost like I’m forced to talk sports and go along with this March Madness. So, with no other rooted interest in college basketball this year (other than a certain southern team… I mean, if I just had to pick one), I have decided to be ‘among’ the madness but not engrossed in it. I’ve done a bit of fact checking (you know, purely for journalistic reasons), and I for one am ready to see how this whole thing plays out and ends. As I mentioned, I don’t necessarily have a fave, because the hoopla surrounding the stiff match-ups could very well send any team I side with – back home to watch the champions take care of business.
Among the 16 teams that were part of the February reveal two years ago, 15 were top-16 seeds in the actual bracket one month later; but, don’t allow that to determine or sway your own conference bias for 2019. Wondering how the teams rank this year? Well, take a look for yourself! With ‘East’, ‘West’, ‘Midwest’ and ‘South’ teams gearing up for respective play, it looks like there’s a take-no-prisoners mentality flooding each program scheduled to take the court. Coaches and players alike are prepared to whip ace and take names, or… so I’ve heard!
Recent predictions have been made about the ‘Sweet 16’ or ‘Elite Eight’ (the teams with enough talent and swag – they make highlight reels look like basketball tutorials). When it comes down to NCAA basketball, these young players lay their hearts and reputations on the line, so anything ‘can’ and ‘will’ happen, just you wait and see! Nothing is set in stone or carved in pine, and that’s what these players count on most. These young men are deserving of the chance to go the distance in this conference; but, there can only be one winner (one champion).
Now, if watching an elite team go the distance for NCAA action sounds like fun, then perhaps we’ll both be wearing yellow roses and churning chili (wait—I sound like I have a horse in this race; who knows, maybe the madness is getting to me). But, on the other hand, if you decide to go with a different team – just keep in mind there are 68 programs going toe-to-toe for the big win, and your pick could easily get 86’d along the way. If you want to get a realistic feel for which team can earn your support and really go the distance, here’s a handy list of the “top” 68 teams, where they stand in relation to one another, and each team’s overall seed (broken down by conference: the first four out are in italics… Hey—don’t ask, just know the madness spreads fast)
American (4): 13. Houston; 38. UCF; 39. Cincinnati; 43. Temple
ACC (7): 2. Virginia; 3. Duke; 11. Virginia Tech; 12. North Carolina; 17. NC State; 19. Florida State; 27. Louisville; 69. Clemson
Big 12 (7): 5. Texas Tech; 6. Kansas; 9. Oklahoma; 31. Iowa State; 33. Texas; 34. TCU; 41. Kansas State
Big East (5): 18. Marquette; 25. Villanova; 32. Seton Hall; 36. St. John’s; 45. Butler; 71. Creighton
Big Ten (10): 1. Michigan; 8. Michigan State; 15. Maryland; 21. Indiana; 23. Nebraska; 24. Wisconsin; 26. Iowa; 28. Purdue; 35. Ohio State; 37. Minnesota
Pac-12 (3): 40. Washington; 42. Arizona; 46. Arizona State
SEC (7): 4. Tennessee; 16. Kentucky; 20. Auburn; 22. Ole Miss; 29. LSU; 30. Mississippi State; 44. Alabama; 70. Florida
Other (25): 7. Gonzaga; 10. Nevada; 14. Buffalo; 47. VCU; 48. Murray State; 49. Wofford; 50. Lipscomb; 51. North Texas; 52. Hofstra; 53. Yale; 54. Vermont; 55. New Mexico State; 56. Georgia State; 57. Loyola-Chicago; 58. South Dakota State; 59. Radford; 60. UC Irvine; 61. Northern Kentucky; 62. Montana; 63. Lehigh; 64. Rider; 65. Abilene Christian; 66. Texas Southern; 67. Wagner; 68. Norfolk State; 72. Saint Louis
As in past years, each round of the 2019 March Madness tournament requires access to different programming channels; or you can keep up with the action through the athletic association’s Mobile Page | NCAA.com, as well as the NCAA March Madness Live – Apps on Google Play. If you opt to view coverage via television, here’s how the coverage is split up for 2019:
The First Four: truTV
Round One and Two: truTV, TNT, TBS, and CBS
Elite Eight and Sweet Sixteen: TBS and CBS
Final Four: CBS
National Championship: CBS
Now, I have been asked a number of times whether I will personally watch all of the NCAA coverage (like I’m a fan or something, well… on second thought, I guess I can watch a few games). All I can say is this, there are 68 tournament teams playing 67 games over a period of 19 days; I think that’s more than enough motivation for anyone to catch a game or two, or all; you know, just to keep tabs on what’s going on. Oh—I almost forgot to mention, if you didn’t get a chance to fill out your bracket for this year: at least one you feel has accurate predictions, don’t worry (there’s always next year). Besides, the chance of having a bracket that’s exact is 1-in-91.2 quintillion (no, I didn’t make that up, that’s actually a number).
Welcome to March Madness, everyone! The official march to Minneapolis, Minnesota (set for live play @Minneapolis Conv. Center, broadcast @U.S. Bank Stadium) has begun (… see there, and all this time you thought I wasn’t fanning). This is America! We’re crazy about our sports traditions—and predictions, and there’s absolutely nothing anyone can do about it.