Half Of The NCAA Tournament Elite Eight Is Chalk And That’s Just Fine
The “left facet” of the 2018 NCAA Tournament bracket is utter chaos. Loyola-Chicago reached the Elite Eight as a No. 11 seed after successful three video games by 4 factors mixed. Kansas State upended Kentucky in beautiful (and weird) vogue. Michigan wanted a high-profile escape in opposition to Houston to even attain the second weekend. Lastly, Florida State took benefit of an premature damage to Gonzaga’s Killian Tillie and navigated the sector as a No. 9 seed.
In brief, storylines abound from the South and West areas, and in some methods, that’s what March Insanity is all about. Nonetheless, the East and Midwest areas completed with basically chalk on Friday night, and whereas “boring” from some angles, there’s completely nothing incorrect with it. Actually, tv executives and informal followers are most likely thrilled to see prime seeds in Villanova, Kansas, Duke and Texas Tech.
Sure, Cinderella tales are exceedingly memorable, and this event has them everywhere. Along with Loyola-Chicago (and Sister Jean), UMBC made historical past, and No. 13 seeds like Buffalo and Marshall made a dent through the opening hours of the frenzy. On the finish of the method, although, followers really need to see big-name packages within the combine, and tv rankings, because the starting of time, drive that time throughout.
It might be simply argued that, actually, a combination of blue bloods and mid-majors is the easiest way to go, and even with the potential of Energy 5 faculties combining to fill the whole Closing 4, that’s nonetheless in play. As for the East and Midwest areas, although, the very best groups merely carried out like the very best groups.
No. 1 Villanova was pushed to the brink by West Virginia at instances, and No. 1 Kansas needed to climate a livid storm by a formidable Clemson crew within the remaining moments of their Candy 16 matchup. Nonetheless, the Wildcats and Jayhawks boast NBA-level expertise (extra so on the Villanova facet, admittedly) and recognizable coaches, along with easy identify recognition that accompanies standing within the sport.
As for the non-No. 1 seeds, Duke mainly operates as a favourite, to the purpose the place the Blue Devils started the event as one of many three groups with the shortest odds to chop down the nets in San Antonio. Coach Ok’s bunch boasts at the very least 4 NBA-bound gamers, headlined by Marvin Bagley III, and there’s completely no shock in the way in which Duke basically cruised to the Regional Closing.
Texas Tech, who serves as the one trip from pure chalk, wanted to “upset” No. 2 Purdue, however in fact, the Purple Raiders have been two-point Las Vegas underdogs, and the end result felt like the appropriate one after a formidable 40-minute exhibiting. Chris Beard’s crew is led by veteran Keenan Evans, and even when the very best NBA Draft prospect (Zhaire Smith) is off the radar to some extent, it is a legitimately harmful squad that would give Villanova all it might deal with.
Having top-flight groups taking part in for the appropriate to succeed in San Antonio isn’t nice when it comes to the route to really attain this level, however someplace alongside the way in which, the NCAA doubtless loves when the Cinderellas bow out in favor of distinguished groups with professional-quality gamers. Sunday’s matchup between Villanova and Texas Tech will characteristic a stylistic conflict that needs to be riveting, and the battle between Duke and Kansas frankly speaks for itself.
Saturday’s slate could also be attention-grabbing in a (a lot) totally different means, and chaos within the sports activities world is super. Sunday might be “calmer” to some extent, however in fact, the standard of play is prone to be greater, and if nothing else, the Closing 4 will characteristic at the very least two of the highest 10 groups within the nation. That’s most likely factor.