It's prime time for college basketball!
Conference championships are now in the books as players, coaches and fans prepare for a month of nonstop action. We can all hope for a tournament of tough, competitive games, wth an upset or two...that is unless it breaks your bracket. But, honestly, who doesn’t love an underdog!?
As we wait to see what March Madness has in store, upsets across the country are already in the books. One of the biggest was the No. 1 ranked Kansas Jayhawks being upset by Texas Christian University in the quarter-finals of the Big 12 Tournament. A surprise considering the Jayhawks have won the title 10 times in the last 20 years.
In the Big 10 it was a Cinderella story. After their plane skidded off the runway, the Michigan Wolverines made the decision among the players to head to D.C. and participate in the tournament. They made it and had to play their first game in their practice jerseys. Putting all their travel woes behind them the Wolverines came out and beat the No. 1 seeded Purdue Boilermakers in overtime. The Wolverines went on to win four games in four days to be crowned the Big 10 champions, surprising everyone, including myself.
There was a mild upset in the Pac 12 with the No. 2 seeded Arizona Wildcats beating the No. 1 seeded Oregon Ducks. The Ducks were at a small disadvantage. The day of the championship game they discovered their starting forward suffered a knee injury and would miss the rest of the season. Nevertheless, they fought hard, but couldn’t pull out the win against a strong Arizona team.
In the ACC tournament the Duke Blue Devils won it all with what Coach K called "uncommon winning." Duke was ranked No. 5 and had a strong start beating Clemson and then Louisville to set themselves up to play the No. 1 seeded University of North Carolina. After a battle, Duke was able to pull off the win solidifying their place in the ACC championship against against the number three seed Notre Dame.
Kent State mopped up the MAC beating the top three seeded teams to claim the championship. The win that mattered most was probably the championship game against Akron. The two school are 11 miles apart and the two teams played each other three times in three weeks, but it still turned out to be a game only rivals can duke out. A game that would have the winner punching its ticket to the Tournament and the loser watching from home.
As college basketball takes center stage these conference upsets will seem a thing of the past. But, all teams should fight their hardest. Playing these conferences tournaments is only a preview of what’s to come.
Kim Reeves is a Good Morning Maryland producer. She graduated from Kansas State University in the heart of the country. She is no sports expert, but does love to watch and read anything about sports. Especially if it involves the Big 12, the Kansas City Chiefs or the Royals.