It’s March. Do you know what time it is? It’s March Madness, the NCAA Mens
Basketball Tournament. The time of the year when you see commercials on CBS
announcing the Road to the Final Four, the pinnacle of the college basketball year. Each
year 64 teams vie for a spot in the Final Four. Teams from the East, Midwest, Southwest,
and West all compete for one spot from each division. The teams that play for one of
these spots can be classified into four different groups. The Number 1 through 4 seeds,
the Cinderella teams, the Bubble teams and the One Hit Wonders.
The Number 1 through 4 seeds make up 1/4 of the tournament. These teams are
the strongest teams in the nation and are usually figured to go to the Final Four. The
teams ranked Number 1 in their bracket have the best chance of going to the Final Four.
Since 1980 at least one Number 1seed has gone to the Final Four. The number one
seeded team has also never been beaten in the first round of the NCAA tournament. The
teams that are 1 through 4 this year, and figure to be playing for the National
Championship, are Kentucky, UMass, Purdue, Georgetown, Cincinnati, Utah, Villanova,
and Arizona. All of these teams had to have had tremendous regular seasons and
conference tournaments to be seeded so high.
On the other hand a “Cinderella” team is a team that had a so-so regular season
and upset a higher ranked team in their conference tournament. They ride that wave of
momentum into the Field of 64 and hope to upset another higher ranked team in the first
and second rounds. These teams usually don’t last farther than the Sweet Sixteen where
their season usually comes to an end. Teams that can be classified into this group are the
10 through 14 seeds. Teams that fall into this category are Clemson, Virginia
Commonwealth, Austin Peay, Cansius, and Santa Clara.
Out of these “Cinderella” teams, many of them were teams “on the Bubble.” These
teams finished with a so-so regular season also but also had a so-so conference
tournament. They had to sweat it out and hope for other teams to falter and the selection
committee to be generous for these teams to make it. Once in the tournament these teams
can be transformed into a Cinderella team by beating two higher seeded teams. Teams “on
the Bubble” are ranked 7 through 9. The teams that can be classified into this category or
groupings are Michigan, Stanford, Bradley, Wisconsin-Green Bay, and Eastern Michigan.
That leaves the last grouping of teams. The One Hit Wonders. Their describes
them perfectly. They usually upset one team then bow out of the tourney in the second
round. The teams in this category might prematurely be labeled a “Cinderella” team, but
after exiting the tournament in the second round they cannot be given this title. These
teams can be ranked anywhere from 6 through 15. Teams from this group are Mississippi
Valley, Louisville, Iowa, Indiana, Princeton, and Monmouth.
So as one can see there are many different ways to view the teams from the Field
of 64. From the Number 1’s through Number 4’s to the One-Hit Wonders there are many
teams with a shot at winning the NCAA National Championship. You might ask, “Which
team do you feel will win the National Championship?” I feel the National Championship
will go to the Georgetown Hoyas ( a Number 2 seed ) out of the East.