It is February, It is cold in most of the country, and the last thing on your mind is probably college basketball. Well, in less than a month that is about to change, especially if your University goes to the ‘Big Dance’ as they call it. You know what I am talking about, the NCAA Basketball Championship. It is especially exciting here in Cleveland, as we are hosting the Women’s Final Four this year. So by, the time you read this post it is my goal to tell you who are the contenders and pretenders in this years Men’s and Women’s Final 4.
First we’ll scope the Women’s game.Â The Atlantic Coast Conference looks like the premiere league for the Ladies game this year. Thursday pits No. 1 Duke vs. No. 2 North Carolina. The last two unbeaten D-I teams that are known for their fierce rivalry. So, that game will give all of us a good gauge on who will go in as the favorite to take the crown in the Women’s side. Sitting right behind them in the polls are Tennessee, Ohio State, and Connecticut. Among these teams Tennessee and Connecticut have the advantage of having historically strong Ladies program, and the Ohio State squad has the ambition to play in front of a partial crowd (Cleveland is just two hours away from Columbus) if it advances to the final four. Other teams that are in the top 10 on the Women’s side include: Maryland, LSU, George Washington, Georgia, and Arizona State.
For the Men’s side of March madness Florida is on a roll with the number 1 ranking and 15 game winning streak. The defending champions have UCLA, Ohio State, Wisconsin, and North Carolina behind them. This year’s final four will take place in Atlanta, Georgia. Rounding out the men’s top 10 are Pittsburgh, Texas A&M, Kansas, Butler, Memphis, and Nevada. If you are a fan of the underdog, root for teams like Butler and Nevada as they are considered mid-majors and often are overlooked by the bigger schools.
Ok, I know that you want my predictions for the upcoming tournament but I will be honest and say that I openly biased. Ohio State will win on the Men’s and Women’s side. The Women will benefit from the advantage of playing in front of a home-court crowd in Cleveland. On the Men’s side, Ohio State is looking for revenge against Florida after the Gators beat the Buckeyes in the College Football Championships earlier this year and crushed them on the hardwood as well. The loss on the basketball floor was with a rusty center Greg Oden, who is perhaps the best player in the game despite being only a freshman.
Really though, biased opinions thrownÂ Â out the window, if your school is in the big tournament or hosting the tournament you should get involved. It is a time of excitement and fun as you cheer on your favorite team. Enjoy it!