The Madness Begins

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It’s here.  After all the regular season games and the grind of trying to win a conference championship, it’s time to play for all the marbles.  The NCAA Basketball tournament begins officially on Thursday with 64 teams in the race for a National Championship.

Four teams will vie to get into the 64-team bracket when Temple plays Belmont and Fairleigh-Dickinson plays Prairie View  in play-in games.

Without a great deal of time to study, here are my thoughts on the regions:

EAST – Duke 

Zion Williamson is back for Duke and that makes ALL the difference.  If he stays healthy throughout, Duke should win the East playing Michigan State.  I like Yale in a first-round upset and I would love to see Fran Dunphy in his last season at Temple get into Thursday’s first round.

WEST – Gonzaga 

Even though Gonzaga lost the West Coast conference championship game, when Gonzaga is at its best, they are as good as anybody.  Remember, they beat Duke and Williamson played in that game.  Michigan looks like they could be upset before getting to the West final.  Nevada could be troublesome especially on offense.

SOUTH – Tennessee 

It just seems to me that every year Virginia finds a way to lose – no one will forget their first-round loss last year to UMBC.  I do not see them losing early, but I also do not see them winning their region.  Tennessee has been as good as any team in the nation at times this year.  If they put it all together here and get a monster effort out of Grant Williams, they will get to the Final Four.

MIDWEST – North Carolina 

I wish I could have more shocking news for you this year, but it looks like the #1’s are the best.  I even think Virginia is the best, but I cannot in good conscience think all four #1’s will get through.  Carolina’s road to the Final Four looks fairly certain.  Perhaps, Kentucky can give them a game if Kentucky gets to the Elite Eight.

My National Championship pick is forthcoming after I screw up my own bracket.

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSING) 

  1. Bryce Harper is still hitless (if you don’t count getting hit by a pitch). Anyone getting nervous?  He is 0-8.  There are still 10 days until opening day.
  1. I am starting to feel badly for Saquon Barkley. The Giants just seem to be making themselves worse and worse with their trades and anyone who watched them last year knew that their real problem was the offensive line.  Remember how great running back Barry Sanders was on a very bad team – the Detroit Lions?  He never achieved team success.  Is Saquon the next Barry?
  1. One team’s displeasure can cause great anticipation from another team. For example – Odell Beckham to the Browns; Le’Veon Bell with the Jets; Joe Flacco to the Broncos; Michael Bennett to the Patriots; etc.  There’s excitement in the air, particularly in Cleveland where the air seems to disappear around the fifth game every year.
  1. I am not that familiar with “Fortnite”, but I know it’s the rage with younger people. Well, I heard it was also the rage in the Phillies locker room last season to the point where some players were playing it during the game.  Veteran Carlos Santana took care of that problem by taking a bat to the TV to make sure no one would play again.  Good for him!
  1. The Southern Lehigh and Bethlehem Catholic girls are in the PIAA state semifinals. Congratulations to the teams and their coaches.  Here is hoping they play for the PIAA state championship this weekend.  Go Spartans!  Go Hawks!

 

 

 

Gary Laubach About Gary Laubach

Gary began his broadcasting career with Twin County in 1972. Twin County eventually became C-TEC and then RCN. Gary holds the dual role of Director of Media Services and Sports Director/Broadcaster. He currently broadcasts about 140 sports and entertainment broadcasts a year, and oversees the scheduling of all sporting events for RCN.

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