Even after all the upsets and ripped up brackets, it’s still the power conferences that advanced in the NCAA tournament.
The PAC-12, Big 10 and SEC each had three teams advance, the Big 12 and AAC had two, the ACC, Atlantic 10 and Mountain West had one apiece.
Only Dayton and San Diego State have football teams that are not or who have never been from BCS automatic qualifiers’ conferences.
Louisville has been in the automatic qualifying Big East, then was out this past season as a member of the lesser AAC, and then will be back in again when it joins the ACC next year.
Connecticut was also a member of the Big East before getting dumped into the AAC. Where they go next is anyone’s guess.
Meanwhile both schools have more than a couple NCAA championships in their basketball trophy cases. They each have recent BCS bowl game appearances, too. They are as much a part of the royal basketball family as anyone.
Of course San Diego State has risen in the national spotlight since head coach Steve Fisher arrived there, so they aren’t much of a surprise, either.Mike Kryzewski might have knocked the Atlantic 10, but they have been one of the top conferences for years.
So say goodnight to Mercer, Stephen F. Austin, North Dakota State and Harvard. Warren Buffett saved himself a billion dollars thanks to your heroics, but none of you could parlay your one tourney win into a second. Pat yourselves on your backs for some fine years, but the truth is you got beat by better teams.
Now the closest thing we’ll have to a sleeper will be the South Regional Semifinal winner of the rare 10/11 matchup between Dayton and Stanford.
In case you’re wondering, a 10/11 match up has only happened one other time. Eleventh seeded VCU beat 10th seeded Florida State on their way to the Final Four in 2011.)
The three remaining 1 seeds, Virginia, Florida and Arizona, all had impressive second games. They quirks of the bracket seeding didn’t do them any favors as they all play well-regarded fourth seeds in Michigan State, UCLA and San Diego State respectively.
Second seeded Wisconsin came off the mat to defeat Oregon. The other remaining second seed, Michigan coasted to victory. Third-seeded Iowa State had a thrilling but shaky win over North Carolina. They might have to duplicate that effort when facing Connecticut on Friday.
UCLA, Baylor, Tennessee and Kentucky are all playing their best ball of the season right now even though they are all coached by guys who are scoffed at by the college basketball in-crowd. Go figure.
Defending champion Louisville was one of the most popular pre-tourney picks to win it all. Now just figure out which team that will be.
Chris Andrews has over 30 years of experience as a bookmaker in Nevada. Check out his new website at www.againstthenumber.com and www.sharpssports.com. You can follow him on Twitter@AndrewsSports. Contact Chris at [email protected].