March Madness is getting down to the nitty gritty. Sixty four programs around the nation had dreams of being crowned the collegiate king. Now the list is down to sweet sixteen! Brackets all across the nation are without doubt marred with erasure marks and/or cross outs. But here are the schools that remain alive in the Men’s NCAA’s Tournament.
Number one ranked Duke took care of business knocking off Arkansas Pine Bluff and California. No surprise here. Now they face the Boiler Makers of Purdue, seeded number four. Purdue advanced passed Sienna and Texas A&M, despite an injury to one of their key players. The last two teams to come out of the south region are Baylor and St. Mary’s. Baylor did what was necessary against Sam Houston and Old Dominion. Although seeded much higher, at number three, they still must take care of number ten St Marys. The Gaels proved they came to play by wiping out Richmond and Villanova. Could they be the Cinderella of the South?
The east region match ups are Kentucky, ranked number one versus Ivy League Cornell, ranked number twelve. Kentucky showed just how wild they were by demolishing Wake Forest by thirty. Cornell showed and proved by sending Temple and Wisconsin home. Odds are stacked against them but then again, it’s the month of madness. The mountaineers of West Virginia took care of biz against Morgan St and Mizzou. They are sure to give Washington, seeded eleven, a hard days work. Washington held down the Pac 10, sending Marquette and New Mexico packing. Washington may not command the respect of their peers, but “any given Sunday…”
The Buckeyes lead the Midwest seeded at number two. Ohio St. gave UC Santa Barbara a first round ticket home and in round two extended Georgia Tech the same courtesy. The Buckeyes have the fire power to do the same to number six seeded Tennessee. The Vols squeaked by San Diego and then erased the Ohio Bobcats. This is a repeat of three years of ago and may be just as exciting as their last meeting. Hands down N. Iowa is the Cinderella of the Midwest. They upset UNLV and shattered Kansas’ dreams to make it to the sweet sixteen. And once again, they face a higher seeded team, Michigan St. MSU did what was expected in the first round, ousting New Mexico St. In the second round they scored an upset of their own when MSU sent Maryland packing. Michigan St. must bring it hard to advance pass N. Iowa.
Syracuse is the best of the west. They showed why against Vermont and Gonzaga in the first and second rounds. But Butler wont back down just because their seeded at number five. Butler made it passed Utep and Murray St. and are a team to be reckoned with. Remember it’s the month of madness. The last two programs in the sweet sixteen are Xavier and Kansas St. Xavier handled Minnesota and Pittsburgh to earn a right to be here. Kansas St. University wrapped up North Texas and BYU. Each team respectively has a good chance of coming out of the west.
All sixteen of these teams have back stories just as exciting as the other. But none of that matters. Neither does records or seeds. That’s what makes March Madness so exciting. It all boils down to heart and which team makes the least mistakes. Get the popcorn ready!
By: Byron Griffin