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  Tuesday, July 22, 2014
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Madness Already Beginning
By Paul Noonan
      With the amount of court storming that’s been going on lately, you would think college basketball has turned into the running of the bulls.  Each night it seems another big name team has gone down in an upset.  Texas, Duke and Memphis, three top ten teams, all were upset this week in a manic prelude to March Madness.  The last week of games has had a playoff-like atmosphere, and the playoffs haven’t even begun yet.

             

     It all started with Duke.  A preseason favorite, and a Final Four/Championship favorite, the Blue Devils were taken down by the Florida State Seminoles.  On the same night, the #7 Longhorns were upset by in-state rivals, Texas A&M, in a low scoring affair.  The Aggies’ buzzer-beating 3- pointer sealed the deal.  The next night, #3 Memphis was stunned by Alabama- Birmingham.   Another tournament favorite, Gonzaga, narrowly avoided an upset to San Fransisco. 

This all came before the much-hyped Tobacco Road game between Duke and UNC.  The much-anticipated game garnered so much attention that it dominated three ESPN stations, each with a different camera angle (so if you have picture-in-picture, you must have been living like a college basketball king).  In yet another amazing victory, UNC continued to silence its critics with a convincing road win against their biggest rivals. 

             

     With all the recent excitement, one can only hope the NCAA Tournament will be equally as exciting.  These recent events are a reason to be optimistic that anything can happen in the tourney.  Not one NCAA team will enter the tournament undefeated this year. 

The team with the fewest losses is even a surprise.  George Washington has suffered only one loss, to NC State, this season, but don’t be surprised if many brackets don’t have them making the Elite Eight. 

     The bracket could be harder than ever.  With Adam Morrison leading the way, it is tough not to think Gonzaga can go deep, but with their narrow escapes against San Fransisco and San Diego in their conference tourney, how sure can you be that Gonzaga is for real?  Duke will probably still be a favorite, but will their two-game upset streak rattle them behind repair?  Memphis was a pleasant new addition to the powerhouses this year, but their loss to UAB might scare some fans.  Villanova and UConn seem like the safest bets, but even Villanova barely averted a loss to Cincinatti and UConn squeaked by Louisville last weekend. 

     While the recent events may not make the workplace fun for bracket filling employees, for college basketball fans it is a treat.  They may lose a chunk of hair or two when their -bracket doesn’t work out as they had hoped, but if March Madness is as exciting as this first week, college basketball fans should enjoy the tourney no matter what happens.     



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