March is closing in fast and the madness seems to be kicking off already. There have been upsets all season with teams being in the top five for a few days then losing to an unranked team and suddenly falling to the back half of the top ten. To be honest the madness has been happening all season long, this should make for an interesting month of March. There is not a team in the NCAA that is truly safe this year. Last week there were 13 teams that suffered at least one loss in the AP polls top 25, UNC losing two games and dropping from second to ninth.
All of this chaos has made way for the Maryland Terrapins to take the top spot for the first time all season. Melo Tremble and company are one of only a couple of teams that have been consistent this season. Two other teams that have shown consistency are the Iowa Hawkeyes and the Xavier Wildcats. All of these teams have managed to avoid any upsets so far this month and are more than likely going to be number 1 and 2 seeds come tourney time.
Don’t be fooled though, this tournament is going to be anything but a traditional high seeded final four. The teams in the current top five are not as strong as some may think. Oklahoma, now ranked second, lost to North Western this past week and the top five has been changing almost weekly the entire season. Again, there are some teams that are not in the top five right now that I would say are more talented and diverse than Iowa who is ranked second. An example would be the Virginia Cavaliers who struggled early this season and currently sit with a 19-4 record and the 8th spot in the AP poll. The Cavaliers have gone back to their shut down defense that was their staple last year. They have held their last three opponents to under fifty points and look to be in tournament shape. Iowa on the other hand relies solely on Uthoff to get their offense going. All an opposing team needs to do is shut him down, just as Maryland did two weeks ago, and they will win the game.
Now the question becomes, which teams to pick in games where everyone has a chance? Well, first look at the matchups if it’s a team like the Virginia Cavaliers against Iowa I would pick Virginia because of their defense that can easily shut down Uthoff. The games will be fairly predictable with higher seeds beating lower seeds in the rounds of 32 and 64. Where things are going to get tricky is the sweet 16. Some of the teams that are going to be ranked lower such as Kentucky and Arizona have good coaches that have been in the tournament before and know how to prepare their players. Unlike last year this tournament is going to live up to the title of March Madness.