March Madness!

Connor Casne-Jones, Head Writer

The largest basketball tournament in the world begins Thursday. March Madness includes 68 teams. In comparison FIBA, the world basketball league, only has 32 teams in its big tournament. The first seeds are Villanova, Virginia, Xavier, and Kansas. Although Virginia has the highest rank, early betting odds have Villanova as the favorite. The tournament is supposed to be extremely competitive this year, but despite how competitive it is it is obvious to almost any college hoops fan that there are more than a couple teams missing.

Louisville, Oklahoma State, and USC are all not in this year’s tournament. All three of these teams were wrapped up in a scandal and are currently being investigated by the FBI. All these teams could have and probably should have made the tournament. Oklahoma State had one of the most impressive resumes in College Basketball. OK State beat number 1 seed Kansas twice as well as beat other teams such as Oklahoma, Florida State, Texas, Texas Tech, and West Virginia (all teams that made the tournament). Other schools that are under investigation such as Arizona and Auburn made the tournament but took quite the hit when it came to seeding. Arizona is a power house as well as the home for the best player in college basketball: Deandre Ayton. Despite this, it was put as a five seed, when they should have been a 2-4 seed. Auburn is a 4 seed and could have been up to a 2 seed. But this is just the beginning of the controversy surrounding this year’s March Madness.

There has also been allot of controversy regarding the committee’s new way of picking and seeding teams. 32 teams are automatically qualified, so 36 are chosen by the committee.

The committee is made up of ADs and Conference commissioners. This year the committee seemed to value road wins and non-conference wins more than anything else. The committee has also focused more on the full season instead of trending. For example, Oklahoma made the cut even though they lost 8 of their last 10 games. It is a popular belief they made it due to Trae Young and the ratings he produces. Oklahoma and Oklahoma State have very similar resumes; their win-loss is the exact same, but Oklahoma State beat Oklahoma twice and did not make the tournament. Despite all the controversy, there are some great stories going into the tournament. Can USC make a 3rd straight final, what stars will emerge, who will be upset, and, of course, who will win the national championship?