Column: Let the madness ensue

When it comes to the postseason for college basketball, the powerhouse teams may be wise to heed the following warning: Beware the Ides of March.

Okay, so maybe college basketball doesn’t quite have the same parallels as Shakespeare, but the drama during March Madness certainly can share similarities with a multitude of his play writes.

In a season when many of the touted Caesarian teams have suffered losses at the hands of lesser talented teams, this year’s edition of March Madness should shape up to be one for the ages.

If a team has held a ranked position within the top-25 this year, it hasn’t meant much this season.

During the 2015-2016 season, a total of 181 ranked teams have lost this year with 68 of those teams being top-10 squads and seven No. 1 teams losing along the way as well.

Seeding will prove to be a minor factor in a field that could very well feature up to 25 potential champions out of a 68-team field.  All it could take would be some timely hot play by a team late in the season to cut down the nets in April.

Last year, Kentucky was the clear-cut favorite and No. 1 overall seed, riding an undefeated streak into the postseason. Before its loss to Wisconsin in the Final Four, Kentucky was picked to be the winners by multiple experts.

The bracketology experts still remain unsure which teams will fill in the first and second seeds in the NCAA Tournament.
As of Monday night, it seems that Kansas may have locked up the No. 1 overall seed for the tournament. Even though the Jayhawks have won an unprecedented 12 straight Big 12 regular season championships, its NCAA tournament performances as of late have been ugly, to put it bluntly.

The past two years have seen the Jayhawks bounced after the second round when it was ranked as the No. 2 seed. Kansas’ name is synonymous with upsets within the tournament.

The next likely candidates for the remaining top three seeds will feature two teams from the same conference. Look for both Virginia and North Carolina to finish as No. 1 seeds coming out of the ACC.

If both teams finish the regular season strong and win a few games in the ACC tournament, both should be locks.

The last No. 1 seed seems like a toss-up for either the Big East Champion or Big Ten Champion.

The Big East is between two teams, Villanova and Xavier, while the Big Ten’s only chance for a No. 1 seed would be for Michigan State to win out the regular season and to make a reasonable run in the conference tournament.

Aside from that happening, the Big Ten will have to settle with a No. 2 seed as its highest seeded member. The rest of the conference teams eligible will have to settle for No. 3-5 seeds, where many upsets surely await.

The No. 12-14 seeds are always the ones to look out for when determining if an upset is predictable. The past three tournaments have seen four No. 3 seeds and six No. 5 seeds lose in the first round.

Those No. 12-14 seeds make the tournament the “madness” that it is.

For No. 15 and No. 16 seeds, it’s even more a colossal task to best a No. 1 or No. 2 seeded team. It’s so monumental a feat that no No. 16 seed has ever defeated a No. 1 seed team.

However, the way the season has played out this year, 2016 could be the year where a No. 1 seed could finally lose.

No. 2 seed teams have lost in the past, most recently in 2013 when Georgetown lost by 10 to No. 15 Florida Gulf Coast, who crashed the Big Dance with its high-flying acrobatics en route to a Sweet Sixteen appearance. For a bold prediction, look for a No. 2 seed to fall this year.

This March could wind up being one for the history books as top teams have displayed inconsistent effort all season long, which could come back to bite them and send them home early.

For the small schools and lower seeded teams, they have one objective: To come, see and conquer the Goliaths in the tournament. 

John Fauss can be contacted at [email protected]