Details are now emerging that the 2018 March Madness is going to be an interesting one where everyone involved from the top seed Virginia to those who barely made it like Arizona State feel as though they’re on the bubble. The printable 2018 March Madness Bracket came out on Sunday when many people are asking, is the College basketball in trouble? The answer to this question will be known in the coming days.
The brackets were announced in a usual fanfare that involved the biggest office pool in United States. Xavier, Kansas and Villanova joined Virginia as top seeds, but they’re also grouped together with other 64 teams. This competition also comes at the time when the season is under investigation following allegations of bribes and payoffs which have made big headlines in the recent past.
The tournament will start on Tuesday with the opening games featuring various UCLA bubble teams and St. Bonaventure, then followed by a full swing on Thursday and Friday in eight different sites across the country. The Final Four will be on March 31st and April 2nd in San Antonio. Soon after the finals, a commission led by Condoleezza Rice, the former secretary of State will be expected to release a report from an investigation that was triggered by a shocking FBI probe that has seen a number of agents, assistant coaches, companies employees and others charged in federal courts.
This tournament has seen at least a dozen teams facing FBI investigation or named by media reports where coaches are alleged to be involved in illegal payoffs and other improper benefits during the recruitment of players which breaks the rules of the amateur-sports code that guides the student-athletes and NCAA. Arizona has not been spared in this mess. Reports indicates that their coach Sean Miller was caught through wiretaps discussing with a freshman Deandre Ayton about a $100,000 payment, although he has strong denied this accusation.
According to NCAA selection committee chairman Bruce Rasmussen, those investigations did not play any part in this season’s bracket-filling process. However, its hard to imagine that there were no sighs of relief for some NCCA officials when a few of the so-called bubble teams were finally left out in the 2018 bracket. A good example is Louisville which lost their coach Rick Pitino and Tom Jurich, their athletic director in the culmination of this scandals.
More certain after the party is over, everyone is expecting major changes. And according to John Tauer, a championship-winning coach with St. Thomas at Division III in Minnesota, this will not be a small blip, it runs deep enough and will involve enough officials in programs.
The region we need to carefully watch is the Midwest where top seeds such as Kansas, Michigan State and Duke are battling it out. It will require the likes of Trae Young, the most electric player in the country who help Oklahoma to No.10 seed when they were down 2-8 . The games in 2017 November and December count in the same way as the games in 2018 February and March, according to Rasmussen.
Snubbed – St. Marys have missed the tournament despite their 28-5 record. This was their only big win in the season at Gonzaga. Louisville is yet another highly-rated team that will miss the competition, backing the narrative that selection teams relied heavily on other factors.
Place to be – Definitely at the Boise. It feature No.5 seed Kentucky and the No.4 Arizona, both teams have won conference tournaments. Not forgetting Gonzaga, the defending national runner-up which is a team to watch and a major contender. They can use the home-court advantage when playing against South Dakota State or Ohio State.