The gazillion mock brackets we're exposed on a near-daily basis from November on have done much to remove a lot of the mystery and intrigue to Selection Sunday.
But even the growing legions of those who think PhD programs should be offered in Bracketology can't do anything about quelling the suspense leading into, nor the elation or dejection immediately following, the announcement of the NCAA Tournament's 65-team field.
Ask the players and coaches at schools such as Air Force, Bradley and Utah State (who were probably doing back flips at news of their at-large bids Sunday evening) or Cincinnati, Florida State, Creighton and Missouri State (who were probably flipping out when they found out they had been dumped into the NIT pool) if you want support for that notion.
With a very few exceptions, it was pretty much business as expected Sunday night when we were introduced to the makeup of the tournament that pretty much will be dominating our lives until late night, April 3, when the 2006 national championship players and coaches trim some nets in Indianapolis.
(Ladies and) Gentlemen, start your office pools . . .
The Bearcats split 16
regular-season Big East games but won just six of their final 16 games. The
Bluejays were 19-9 with impressive wins over
*Undeserving bids: Air Force seemed to
have blown its at-large chances with a quarterfinal Mountain West Conference
Tournament loss to
Besides the most physically gifted team in the nation in top seed Connecticut, that quarter of the bracket also includes a hot North Carolina team (which won at Duke less than two weeks ago), a Tennessee club with wins over Florida (twice), Kentucky and Texas on its resume, a Washington team with one of the five best players in the country (Brandon Roy), Illinois, Michigan State and Kentucky.
*Seeded too high:
The Volunteers were worthy of a 2
before dropping four of their final six games. Other than in a 25-point win over
*Seeded too low:
They are playing much better right
*Best first-round games:
*Slipper Watch: Pacific (13 seed in
*Could be in trouble: Gonzaga. Likely
second-round game with
Inducted into the USBWA Hall of
Fame last April, Frank Burlison is Scout.com's national basketball expert and is
also a columnist for the