March Madness: Inside Look

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Finally, after a year of waiting, the biggest tournament in all of sports is finally here once again; March Madness 2009.

For those of you who are die-hard Osprey fans, or don’t know very much about college basketball you may be having some trouble deciding how to fill out your brackets and who to cheer for.Here is a look at a few general norms to follow when it comes to tournament time and the lowdown on a few of this year’s teams to watch.

The NCAA Division I men’s college basketball tournament originated in 1939 and has been run by the National Collegiate Athletic Association since the second year of tournament play.The tournament currently hosts sixty-five teams who compete in a seven round tournament to decide who the national championship for that year will be.The tournament is an invite only tournament which includes the winners of all the individual NCAA Division I conferences and is rounded out by a group of teams that a chosen selection committee decides is the remaining best teams in the nation.Here are some of this year’s top teams to watch.

Teams to watch

Pittsburgh:

Although I’ve been a Pitt fan since I was a baby, I think there a lot to be skeptical about with this team.When there star players aren’t shining or when the team gets hurt by foul trouble any team can beat them.However, when everything is normal this team is a hard-nosed, blue-collar team that will fight you up and down the court and leave you with several bumps and bruises.

East Tennessee State:

Although no 16 seed as ever advanced past the first round, ETSU will still be a team you will want to watch.After beating Jacksonville University in the conference tournament championship game ETSU is the lone representative of the Atlantic Sun Conference.Their game against Pittsburgh in the first round will be a good chance of Osprey fans to see how well the best team in their conference fairs against one of the best teams in the nation.

Florida State:

The Seminoles are the only team representing the state of Florida in the tournament this year, and are making their first appearance to the tournament in a decade.After defeating North Carolina in the ACC conference tournament FSU is looking to make a splash in the tournament and may eventually earn a rematch against the team they lost to in the ACC championship game; Duke.

Louisville:

After winning the Big East conference tournament the Cardinals were rewarded with the number one overall seed.However, Sports Illustrated they are still one of the most underrated and underappreciated teams in the tournament and will be a major force to reckon with in the weeks to come.

Arizona:

Although this team comes into the tournament with 13 losses, and was arguably the last team in, the Wildcats should be feared by all.As an almost constant force in tournament play over the last several years this team can never be underestimated.

West Virginia:

After defeating Pittsburgh and Villanova in Big East tournament play West Virginia is ready and eager to prove that they deserve their at large bid.The Mountaineers have a quick fast tempo offense that will cause trouble for defenses along the road.

Purdue:

This year’s version of Purdue’s team, The Baby Boilmakers, contains almost all of the players that brought Purdue into the spotlight last season.The Boilmakers make up for their lake of size with their expert ball handling skills and can consistently control the course of the game with their offense.

Syracuse:

Although they are not the highest ranked team coming out of the Big East Conference by far the Orangemen are a team not to be reckoned with.Syracuse benefits from a lot of experience by being led by one of the best coaches in college basketball history in Jim Boeheim, having the leadership of veterans such as junior guard Eric Devendorf, and a hard earned six overtime win against one seed Connecticut in the Big East conference tournament.

UNC:

UNC holds the record for one seeds awarded in tournament history with 17 in school history.This team is a favorite to win on a year-to-year basis, and with leaders such as Tyler Hansbrough and Ty Lawson leading the way for this year’s squad this team looks as dominating as ever.

Duke:

Duke University is one of the most well known names in college basketball, and under current head coach Mike Krzyzewski they have been a dominant force over the last two decades.After starting the year off with more losses than the program was used to Duke quickly rebounded by revamping their lineup and they look poised to go far in the tournament.