Jahmari Erkerd – Special to the Southern News –
It is March, and that means one thing for basketball fans, and that is March Madness. The NCAA Tournament is a unique playoff tournament.
It has 64 teams split into four regions. This leaves four of every seed from one to 16. No other playoff in any other major sport does this.
This tournament has relevance with people all over the country including Connecticut.
The men’s basketball program at the University of Connecticut has had much success over the years winning three national championships.
They have done well in past tournaments, however, this year they are on probation for a recruiting violation.
For some, this takes away interest in watching the tournament as Mike Thomas said.
“I only watch the tournament if UConn is in it, since they are not, I will watch the UConn women play in their tournament.”
Notre Dame has recently defeated the UConn women in the Big East tournament final. Thomas said they are not as unbeatable as they were in the past.
“They are always contenders, but the days where you know for a fact they will win have seemed to disappear,” Thomas said.
Tim Galliger said the UConn men would be a tournament team, if they were not on probation giving them a postseason ban.
“If UConn was eligible I think their body of work gets them in to the tournament,” Galliger said. “Probably as a eight or nine seed.”
On the national scene, Gonzaga is currently ranked number one.
They have just won their conference tournament, so they are a lock for a number one seed in the NCAA tournament.
This is the first time in the school’s history they have been ranked number one.
They are not the favorite, as many believe Duke is the best team
“When Duke is fully healthy, they are the most balanced and best team in the country,” Galliger said.
When Indiana’s offense is clicking, when it is breaking opponents down with spacing and fluid ball movement, there is no more entertaining and (for opposing defenses, at least) fearsome sight in basketball.
That was the state of the Hoosiers’ attack for almost all of Indiana’s second-round Big Ten win over Illinois, but especially in the first half, when IU opened up a 22-7 lead in the first 12 minutes and went into the locker room leading 35-21.
The Hoosiers were doing what they do: flipping the ball around the perimeter, finding easy shots and lanes to the bucket and creating turnovers and long rebounds on the other end.
That quickly turned into fast-break points.
But for a few pushes in the second half, Indiana controlled the game, riding its typically brilliant offense to yet another impressive win.
Turning point: As expected — because most Big Ten games are apparently incapable of happening without at least some measure of suspense.
The game tightened in the second half. With less than nine minutes to play, Illinois cut IU’s lead to just eight points.
Anyone who saw Illinois’ comeback win in Champaign in February had to assume something similar was in store.
Instead, IU got a handful of stops, Victor Oladipo finished a pretty drop-off pass from Jordan Hulls, Christian Watford hit a three from the wing, and the Hoosiers were back in charge 65-52.
They handled their business the rest of the way.