March Madness is Upon Us in College Basketball

March Madness is Upon Us in College Basketball
It’s hard to believe that the college basketball season is approaching one of the most anticipated times in sports – March Madness.
 
Due to the pandemic, this has been an unusual year in college basketball. So many teams have had their seasons paused due to COVID issues.
 
Breaking from tradition due to the pandemic, the tournament will be held in one state. Indiana will host the tournament with most of the games at Indianapolis. 
 
Selection Sunday is approaching on March 14. The Final Four will be April 3 with the championship on April 5. 
 
There is the possibility that a team could qualify for the tournament and then have to pull out due to COVID issues. 
 
Here are some of the rules the NCAA has sent out.
 
Once the bracket is finalized and released, teams will not be reseeded, nor will the bracket
 
change.
 
• Reasonable efforts will be made to ensure a full field is in place before the start of the championship. No replacement teams will be introduced after the championship begins.
• Every participating conference should have the opportunity for at least one team in the championship field.
• Beyond the goal of having at least one team from every conference, replacement teams must be among the best teams being considered for an at-large bid.
 
This is also a crazy year in college basketball where the giants of the sport such as Kentucky and Duke are far from sure-shots to earn a tournament bid.
 
Kentucky began the week 8-14 and 7-9 in the Southeastern Conference. The Wildcats only chance would likely be to win the SEC tournament, which is March 10-14 in Nashville. 
 
Duke, after a rough start, began the week 11-9 overall and 9-7 in the Atlantic Coast Conference, so the Blue Devils could find their way to the tournament, but are not a lock. 
 
Michigan, Gonzaga and Baylor will be among the favorites in a tournament that appears more wide-open than usual.
 
Locally, Villanova is a lock to be in the tournament. It’s likely the Wildcats will be either a No. 2 or No. 3 seed. 
 
Villanova should be the only Philadelphia area team that qualifies. At the beginning of the season, it wasn’t known if teams would get to this point, but it is upon us. That is why college basketball fans will be clinging to every word that Philadelphia area bracketologist Joe Lunardi of ESPN says.

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Lunardi has for years predicted with great accuracy the teams that will be in the tournament. We are now at a point that many thought might not come this year. After last year’s tournament was canceled due to the pandemic, this season’s will be a welcome addition. 
 
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Author: Marc Narducci

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