2014 NCAA Tournament: Let the Madness Begin


For the passionate fans, this NCAA men’s basketball season has been a crazy ride that started with the Champions Classic in Chicago back in November. However, for the casual fan, today marks the start of the real basketball season: March Madness. Conference championships have been won, bubbles have been burst, and we are set to go with the 2014 NCAA Tournament. 

The Florida Gators secured the tournament’s top overall seed (#1 seed in the South Region) with their 61-60 victory over the Kentucky Wildcats in the SEC Championship game. They begin their quest for a third national title on Thursday at 4:10 p.m. EST in Orlando, taking on the winner of the play-in game between Albany and Mount St. Mary’s. Mount St. Mary’s (Emmitsburg, MD) upset Robert Morris in the Northeastern Conference finals to earn a trip to the Big Dance. UAlbany took down Stony Brook in the America East championship game to earn their second straight trip to the tournament. Mount St. Mary’s and UAlbany will face off in Dayton, OH on Tuesday night at 6:40 p.m. EST.

The other number one seeds in the NCAA tournament include the Arizona Wildcats (West), Wichita State Shockers (Midwest), and the Virginia Cavaliers (East). At the opposite end of the bracket, the last four teams to make the tournament were the North Carolina State Wolfpack, Tennessee Volunteers, Iowa Hawkeyes, and the Xavier Musketeers. NC State was a surprise inclusion, but selfishly I am looking forward to more meaningful basketball from ACC Player of the Year winner, TJ Warren. The Wolfpack’s inclusion in the Big Dance came at the expense of the SMU Mustangs, a team that many talking heads had firmly in the NCAA tournament. Unfortunately, three straight losses to end the season (Louisville, Memphis, and Houston) left a bad taste in the selection committee’s mouth, and eventually led to the Mustangs’ omission. Also on the outside looking in are the Florida State Seminoles. As mentioned previously on this site, the Seminoles likely needed to make the ACC semifinals in order to make the NCAA tournament.

Selection Sunday is just the appetizer to what should be an exciting three weekends of games. We’ll be previewing each individual region over the next two days as well as predicting Skyway Shoutout’s Final Four and National Champion. What are your thoughts on what went down on Selection Sunday?

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