A Look at the NCAAB Season Ending
The NCAA men’s college basketball season is entering its final stages with conference tournaments starting to get under way and the jockeying for positions to get in the tournament starts to heat up. Not all of the teams that play Division I can make it into the field of 65, but all will try and as many of the teams still hold the slimmest of hopes that maybe they can punch a golden ticket and get into the Big Dance by winning their conference tournament.
The season has had some difficulties as it has gone on, but the usual conferences are of course the headliners when it all comes down to it. The Big East and ACC seem to be the ones leading the way as it heads into tourney time. Just as when the season started, it seems as if North Carolina and UConn are at the top of the polls, however they have switched from where they were to start the season, however, it has not been a battle between only these two teams the whole season. Then there are of course the teams who everyone predicted to be near the top as the season began such as Notre Dame in the top ten, who have fallen off completely and may not even get into the tournament. It is hard to guess and know who is going to do what and what will lead to things happening based on injuries as well as failure to meet expectations.
* Of course, there are plenty of marquee matchups this weekend before the big conference tournaments begin. You will have Pitt taking on UConn for the possible Big East regular season title as well as Duke facing North Carolina for the ACC title.* There have been quite a few big games and upsets throughout the season as well. There was the Pitt vs. Louisville game that came right after Pitt was number one for the first time. This was right as the number one team in the country started to become a revolving door. This was because every time a new number one would come out in the polls, they would go and get beat in their next game. It was almost as if no one wanted to be the number one team. Heck Oklahoma did not even get to be number one. They were about to be the number one team in the country and since they were so excited about it they went out and lost too.
* Note: Article published Date (Monday March 9th - Article written March 6th)
The question is though, has the season lived up to expectations. There was the annual ACC Big Ten Challenge with left some people wondering how far behind the Big Ten is, The Maui classic and of course all of the teams that had to go and play the cupcakes before they rolled into their respective conference schedules. One example of this would be Memphis, sure, they are undefeated in their conference and they played for the championship last year, but they played a weak out of conference schedule and are in a lousy conference. Then again playing for the championship one year guarantees you, nothing in the next year as Florida and Ohio State can tell you from a year ago.
Regardless of who is playing finding the right team to follow and pick has been a challenge so far this year. Yes, it has remained consistent in the top ten with a few different faces showing up now and then, these teams seem to be all there for the long haul or at least until tourney time. With the likes of Wake Forest and Louisville trying to sneak in and take over the number one spot the excitement got better as the season wore on. It seemed at first that North Carolina would simply walk through the season and be able to carry the number one all the way to the championship game, but then things started to get interesting. North Carolina lost, then in stepped Pitt for a brief one week stay and since then it has been a battle to retain the number one ranking for more than one week without someone getting upset. Then of course, there are the teams that were supposed to win and simply have not. Yes, the Big East is competitive, but how could so many experts have been so wrong about Notre Dame. Or what about Duke suddenly forgetting that they were Duke in the middle of the ACC season and having two losses. Yes, the season has had its sets of predictable occurrences, and with the three big seniors returning to try and win a championship, that made for a huge story to start the season, however what do we get to see now.
What we get to see now is many teams trying to scramble and lobby to be able to have the chance to get into the tournament and to be able to have the opportunity to get to the championship game. It is all about just being able to say that yes you did get there and that yes you were able to win it all. For many of the schools in the smaller conferences such as the MAC and the Horizon league, just being able to make it to their conference championship game will be huge for them for they in all likelihood will only be able to send one team from the conference to compete in the tournament. So sit and look back at all that has happened and then look at all that could happen and smile, it has been a good year for college basketball as this is truly a year where almost any one may be able to win it all.