Whether you’re a regular college basketball fan or a hardcore “bracketologist,” this is it. The moment you’ve been waiting for all season. It’s finally time to make way for the madness. March Madness®, to be precise.
The NCAA men’s basketball tournament kicks off this month, and with no team emerging as the clear favorite during the regular season, this year’s playoff tournament will be one to pay close attention to. As Turner Sports basketball analyst and Hall of Famer Charles Barkley told us, “If a Cinderella’s ever going to win March Madness, this is the year.”
The balance of power seems to have shifted in several conferences. Virginia won the ACC regular season title. Xavier won top seed in the Big East Tournament. Auburn topped the SEC. Of course, it would be a mistake to sleep on traditional powers like Villanova, Duke, and Michigan State, who are all poised for a deep run in The Big Dance®
Aside from serious challenges from within their own conferences, the conventional powerhouses will also get some healthy competition from mid-major contenders like Gonzaga, Rhode Island, and Nevada. Each hope to make their presence felt in the tournament. There’s no guarantee that any of those teams will even make it to the Sweet Sixteen, but the mid-majors have shocked us all before.
The uncertainty in this year’s tournament is unlike anything we’ve seen in recent years. As the voice of CBS Sports, Jim Nance, told us, “These programs that don’t traditionally dominate college basketball are on the top, and a lot of the major programs that have the history and the pedigree are outside of the Sweet 16 seed. So, it’s going to be a year where it’s going to look different.”
And don’t forget bubble teams like UCLA, Oklahoma State, and Florida State. They are knocking on the door, but will the all-powerful selection committee nod in their direction?
There you have it. The bubble is big and there’s no consensus pick to win it all, let alone to reach The Final Four®. March Madness kicks off Tuesday, March 13, and DIRECTV is your courtside seat for all the action!
Cheer your team to victory! Use the DIRECTV App to stream live March Madness® games on any device. Catch all of the action March 13 – April 2.