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This is the wildest NCAA Tournament I've ever seen
March 26, 2011 - Cory Giger
The best team in the country, Ohio State, is already going home, while the team no one thought deserved to be in the field, Virginia Commonwealth, is in the Elite 8.
What a wild, wild NCAA Tournament this has been so far.
The nation's two best RPI conferences, the Big East and Big Ten, sent 18 teams to the tourney, and only one made it to the Elite 8. That lone survivor is UConn, which finished NINTH in the Big East during the regular season.
Everyone who follows college basketball closely knew there was a good chance this would be a crazy tournament because there was so much parity this season and no true dominant teams. But no one could have figured things would be this nutty.
Only one No. 1 seed, Kansas, remains, and the Jayhawks are now the prohibitive favorites to win it all. Just like the Buckeyes were heading into last night's game against Kentucky.
Ohio State had everything you need to win a title, or so we've heard from basically every analyst in the country. Yet the Buckeyes couldn't even get out of the Sweet 16, that after winning their first two games by 29 and 32 points, respectively. And they were remarkably impressive in doing so.
But the same Buckeyes who shot lights out in crushing George Mason, 98-66, in the previous round, made only 33 percent from the field and 38 percent from 3-point land in a 62-60 loss to Kentucky.
I thought the Buckeyes had a great shot to win it all, but in the back of my mind I always had lingering doubts about them because of very close games they had played against Northwestern of all people. Ohio State only won 58-57 at Northwestern during the regular season and just 67-61 in the Big Ten Tournament. Such tight games against a vastly inferior opponent showed that the Buckeyes just might have been overrated all along.
Meanwhile, VCU, which was heavily ridiculed on Selection Sunday as the one team that didn't belong in the tourney, has made everyone shut up and eat their words by reaching the Elite 8. VCU edged Florida State in overtime, 72-71.
Duke, another No. 1 seed, got hammered by Arizona in the Sweet 16, and Pitt, also a 1 seed, failed to make it even that far as it lost to Butler in the third round.
It will probably drive Pitt fans bonkers if one of their own -- former standout point guard Sean Miller -- gets to the Final Four as a head coach before Jamie Dixon can lead the Panthers there. Miller, in just his second season at Arizona, has his squad in the Elite 8 against the nation's best player, Kemba Walker, and UConn.
So how's your bracket doing?
Mine is blood red with Xs all over it, although I do still have Kansas and Florida alive for the Final Four.
It's called March Madness for a reason, but never in 25 years of loving and following the tournament have I seen this much madness.
NOTE: Click the link to the right to see just how badly we all have done in our brackets, according to ESPN.