If you haven’t noticed yet, the NCAA is stretching out its coverage across the four networks like never before. What once was a jam packed Sunday afternoon full of eight second round games, now has been spread across roughly 12 hours of coverage, as Florida State – Notre Dame will tip-off at 9:40 this evening. I can’t say I like that, nor do the beat writers that will be up against the clock, frantically filing their stories as Monday morning approaches.
We’ve seen our first No. 1 seed fall, and a few of us are now in that frame of mind where whatever picks we submitted have now become completely irrelevant, and we’re just looking forward to seeing quality basketball and some more weird things happen.
Here’s to that going down once again today.
#7 Washington vs. #2 North Carolina (12:15; CBS) – Now that my bracket has completely. fallen. apart, I’m hanging my hat in the notion that Washington is capable of playing in a regional final. It’s my last remaining weird pick. The Huskies certainly can match the athleticism of UNC, and they probably are more skilled on the perimeter. No reason for them to back down here, or shy away from a track meet, as what I believe to be the day’s best game will tip-off right around when some of you slouches are just waking up.
#8 Michigan vs. #1 Duke (2:45; CBS) – It’s fitting these two teams would square off just seven days after that well done documentary on the Fab Five spurred chatter amongst fans and former players. Obviously the Blue Devils are the favorites here, but the nostalgic juices will certainly be flowing watching these uniforms on the same court together, with a trip to the Sweet 16 at stake. Jalen Rose, please hold your personal commentary.
#5 Arizona vs. #4 Texas (6:10; TNT) – Yesterday Longhorns freshman Tristan Thompson announced and junior Jordan Hamilton speculated that both would be returning to school next season. That’s great news for everyone in Austin, and could be a serious morale booster here. Both teams are good enough to advance, but I think Texas has a much better shot to knock off Duke in the next round. Arizona does not, so let’s hope for a close game where the higher seeded team squeaks by.
#9 Illinois vs. #1 Kansas (8:40; TNT) – Back in October I would have been satisfied if these teams squared off in a regional final, but the Fighting Illini underachieved this season and we’re stuck with this being a second round game. Bruce Weber succeeded Bill Self in Champaign, but has a winning percentage at the school that is near 100 percentage points below his predecessor. I doubt it’s on his mind, but something worth pointing out.