Conference Tournaments Reveal How Crazy the Big Dance Will Be

If you’re like me (and be thankful that you’re not), you were probably looking at the confrence tournaments as a way to help determine exactly who you were thinking of going with in terms of your NCAA Bracket. Computers and servers nationwide will be crashing and grinding to a halt tonight as the field of 64, errrr, 68 is revealed.

I was really hoping for some clarity as to just who really were the ebst teams in the land and heading into today’s action I really don’t have too many answers with a couple of small exceptions.

What is Clear – I don’t know if they are the best team in the country, but they’re damn close and certaily the hottest. Rick Pitino’s Louisville Cardinals turned a 13-point deficit into a blowout win in the Big East Conference Final yesterday against Syracuse. The Cards are just the second team to win back-to-back Big East titles.

What is scary about Louisville is the athleticism of their ‘bigs’ and the ability of the entire team to get up and down the court. Even in half-court sets, they absued the Orange’s 2-3 zone defense at times in a manner that was almost child-like. The ‘Ville clinched a one-seed for sure and may have just knocked Gonzaga from the overall one-seed in the tournament, but history tells me that won’t happen since the Bulldogs did nothing to drop in the polls.

Speaking of Gonzaga, they rolled to another West Coast Conference title this week and solidified their top ranking. What is clear to me with the ‘Zags is that this will be their best shot ever of finally reaching that Final Four that has eluded Coach Mark Few for over a decade. Will their soft conference schedule haunt them? That is the mystery.

What isn’t so Clear – A week ago today, Indiana rallied in Ann Arbor thanks to missed free throws by the Wolverines. The win gave IU the outright Big Ten title and helped confirm what most thought in that they are the best team in the country. Put the brakes on that…. Indiana was completely humbled by Wisconsin yesterday in the Big Ten Semi-Finals and at least in my mind has me wondering whether the Hoosiers truly are capable of getting to the Final Four.

The Badgers are a typical, Bo Ryan led team but the Hooisers were outcoached and outplayed throughout the game. From here on out, that can’t happen and I’m not so sure IU is being penciled into my Final Four bracket.

Same goes for Duke. There was absolutely no reason the Blue Devils shouldn’t have marched right through to the ACC Conference tournament final but Maryland had none of it. For the second-straight meeting, Maryland beat the Blue Devils and now doubt has crept in about just what the future holds for Duke.

It was the first loss for Duke with Ryan Kelly on the floor and the loss again revealed something that has haunted the Dookies for years now; If they can’t knock down three-pointers then they are doomed and that’s exactly what happened in Greensboro. Will the loss affect their potential number one seed? Most say no but don’t be surprised.

Today’s Games –

Wisconsin vs Ohio State – This game could go to the first team to score 50 today as both play excellent, suffocating defense. I’m going with the Buckeyes simply because of their athleticism and ability to create in the half-court game.

North Carolina vs Miami – The Tar Heels entered as one of the hotter teams in the land and they haven’t disappointed. Miami has a chance to pull the double-double today by winning the league title and the tournament title. I haven’t been crazy about their play of late, but I think they get it done today despite it feeling like a road game.

Ole Miss vs Florida – The Rebels pulled away yesterday from a very hot Vanderbilt team in order to advance. The Gators surged past Bama to reach the SEC Final