Sometimes, in college basketball, we already know by this time of the season who is the team to beat in the NCAA Tournament. Normally that team is either the Kentucky Wildcats, Duke Blue Devils or North Carolina Tar Heels. This is not one of those years.
The Wildcats, Heels and Blue devils are still good, but not nearly as good as they can be. The Michigan State Spartans are again a team that could make a very deep run, but they just lost by 20 points to the Iowa Hawkeyes on their home court. The team with next season’s number one draft pick, the LSU Tigers with Ben Simmons, has lost six times so far.
The last of the unbeaten, the SMU Mustangs, is in the NCAA doghouse and will not be going to the Big Dance and the next to last team to lose, the South Carolina Gamecocks, were run out of the gym by the Alabama Crimson Tide in their last outing.
So who will be the favorites to go to the Final Four? The Oklahoma Sooners look like they will be one of them. Buddy Hield is for real. But the Sooners are not blowing people’s doors off. They just sneaked past a middling Oklahoma State by two points this week.
This NCAA Tournament looks like one where if you are in it, you can win it. The normal NCAA Tournament has some crazy upsets in the early rounds anyway. This year’s could have a ton of them. Watch out for teams like the Monmouth Hawks, who already have upsets by the bundle.
There are a lot of good teams in college basketball this season, but no great ones. UCLA is capable of knocking anyone off, but then they lay an egg against a team like USC and you have to wonder about them, even though they have wins over Kentucky and Arizona.
The polls seem to have a new number one every week. This week will be another as the Kansas Jayhawks were knocked off by the West Virginia Mountaineers. OU is now poised to take over the top spot. How crazy is this season? Duke just lost to Clemson. In basketball. What?
If you’re in it, you can win it. Getting in will be the tough part.