Skip to content

Ohio State early favourite in March Madness

There are few things that I always think of whenever the month of March comes around.

There are few things that I always think of whenever the month of March comes around. It always meant it was the month that we'd get a week off of school (if you happen to go to school in southern Ontario), it's the Ides of March (another term to describe March 15-Julius Caesar) and it is also the month of basketball craziness in the United States of America. Upwards of 80 different teams begin competition for the NCAA Division I basketball tournament.

Among the favourites, according to the Selection Process which aired on national TV on Sunday, Ohio State, Duke Blue Devils, Kentucky Wildcats and Pittsburgh Panthers; each was voted as a number-one seed from their respective conference.

The NCAA selection committee released its newfangled, 68-team draw Sunday and included a whopping 11 teams from the deepest conference in the nation.

All 68 teams in the NCAA tournament are aiming for one destination -- the Final Four in Houston, set for April 2. At the Las Vegas Hilton, Ohio State was made an early 7-2 favorite to cut down the nets at Reliant Stadium after the title game on April 4. The tournament got a slight facelift this year, including the addition of three more at-large teams that will open the tournament in what the NCAA is calling the "First Four." Those games -- UAB-The University of Alabama at Birmingham (22-9) versus Clemson (21-11) and Southern Cal (19-14) versus Virginia Commonwealth (23-11) -- will take place Tuesday and Wednesday.

Those, along with every other game of the entire tournament, will be aired in their entirety on four networks. As is always the case on Selection Sunday, there were plenty of head-scratchers -- a list of teams that came out of nowhere to make it and other virtual shoo-ins that didn't. Among those snubbed were Virginia Tech, which has come close but missed for four straight years, and Colorado, which beat tournament teams Texas and Missouri once -- and another one, Kansas State, three times.

Some tidbits:
Louisville and Morehead State are 130 miles apart in Kentucky, but will travel to Denver for their second-round matchup.

UNLV coach Lon Kruger leads the eighth-seeded Rebels against his old team, Illinois, in an 8-versus-9 matchup in the Southwest.

Mountain West Conference champion San Diego State (32-2) is in the same region as Michigan, meaning Aztecs coach Steve Fisher may have to face the school he left in controversy.

Last year's national runner-up, Butler, closed out an up-and-down season by winning its conference title and was rewarded with a No. 8 seed. Butler (23-9), the team from the 4,500-student campus that came two points short of winning it all last year, will play Old Dominion in its first game.

If there's anything you'd like to see covered by Game 7, please forward your suggestions to the Yorkton This Week sportsdesk by phone (306) 782-2465, fax (306) 786-1898 or email me at jeff@yorkton this