The most wonderful time of the year

By Tyler Dixon

As of 3:30 p.m. Thursday, three NCAA Tournament games were complete. All three games were upsets.

Thursday through Sunday is the most exciting time of the year for me. It’s constant basketball and every game is a crapshoot.

I always find myself skipping classes the first two days of the tournament, not on purpose, it just happens. For me, March Madness starts the Sunday before the tournament. Selection Sunday is an hour-long roller-coaster ride. Whether the team is a number one seed or on the bubble, every team wants to know where they will be going.

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With the new format, 68 teams get to hear their names called. The new term for the ridiculous new first set is the First Four. This season, the 11-seed games were entertaining. North Carolina State University and the University of Tennessee earned the right to enter the field of 64.

The first day of the tournament is filled with elation, despair and agony, and that’s just the first half of the game.

In a recent  Chicago Tribune column, a columnist (gimme the name) said what March is really about the players we remember after the tournament.

It’s about Kemba Walker, who lead the University of Connecticut on an improbable run to win the 2011 National Championship. It’s about Peyton Siva, who helped the University of Louisville Cardinals win it all last season.

When we hear certain teams have reached the tournament, we assume they will be good. It’s perfectly acceptable to put Izzo and Michigan State University in your final four. Freshman Andrew Wiggans will try and help Self get his first National Championship since Mario Chalmers hit a ridiculous shot and the Jayhawks beat Derrick Rose and the University of Memphis in 2008 for the title.

March Madness is about Shaka Smart and Virginia Commonwealth University. From now on, it doesn’t matter if we know anything about VCU or not, we assume their defense is good.

This season’s tournament it up for grabs. The University of Florida is the overall number one seed for good reason — they get hot at the right time and have a solid foundation. Their head coach, Billy Donovan, has experience and  won back-to-back national championships in 2006-07.

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Wichita State University is the “it” team people are talking about. Either a person really likes the Shockers or they don’t, there’s not much in-between. I’ve seen Wichita play live three times this season and can confirm they have what it takes to go far.

I am going to stick with the Gators, my championship choice a few months ago. Florida has a lot in common this season with the years they won the championship the last two times. The other side of the bracket is a different story; a few teams could emerge to the final game. The University of Wisconsin Badgers, Duke University, the Shockers or Louisville could make it there.

It doesn’t matter who wins each game, it’s about the road to the Final Four and the chance to play in the house that Jerry Jones built, not to mention the stories  made in the process. It’s about that team getting its one shining moment and the chance to cut down the nets.

Tyler Dixon can be reached at [email protected], 536-3311 ext. 256 or @tdixon_de on Twitter. 

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