Final: North Carolina over UCLA. With the help of junior guard Nigel Williams-Goss, this year's Gonzaga team is probably the best in program history. Last year, the 22% of participants that thought Michigan State would win were bamboozled.
As context, the future NCAA TV dollars of $1.1 billion per annum overshadow NBC Universal's total National Hockey League media rights package (currently $200 million per year) by more than 5-to-1, demonstrating that three weeks of basketball is still worth a lot more to US broadcasters than an entire National Hockey League season.
What to watch: The Ducks' seeding may have been impacted by loss of sixth man Chris Boucher, who tore his ACL in the Pac-12 tournament. Both sides are very happy and with the NCAA Tournament firmly locked for the next 15 years, it's hard to imagine anyone else televising the event. No. 10 Wichita State (-6), 7:10 p.m., CBS: This is a fascinating matchup, not only because of what Wichita State went through with the Selection Committee - they were vastly underseeded - and not only because that negligence from the committee means that a No. 7 seed is a six-point underdog in the first round, but because of Indiana.
Michigan. Is there any school that has America's attention right now?
Some games that look really interesting: Michigan-Oklahoma State, which will feature nearly no defense but two explosive offenses; Dayton-Wichita State, a battle of two mid-majors who've found plenty of tournament success under Archie Miller and Gregg Marshall; and Creighton-Rhode Island, which might bring an upset opportunity for the Rams. The Bulldogs have been ranked number one for a good portion of the year, but I would still watch a Michigan State/North Carolina game before I watch any game with Gonzaga in it. The tournament's first week is about glorious chaos. Everybody knows what gets the viewership up for The Big Dance.
No. 2 Kentucky vs. However, it was used after IN beat Syracuse IN the 1987 National Championship and has been a staple of the tournament ever since. "No matter what level you play, knowing how to win, knowing how to finish off a game in crunch time and things like that, translates to whoever you play".
Roy Williams. The former Kansas and current North Carolina head coach is a flawless 26-0 in first round games in the NCAA tournament. In fact, those four have combined for 26 National Championships and 59 Final Fours. UC Davis beat North Carolina Central by four points Wednesday in a game that went down the final few possessions before USC overcame a double-digit deficit to prevail against Providence. They are a No. 1 seed for the 16th time, extending their NCAA tournament record.
Cinderella special: (an upset pick): Lots of people, including myself, are high on Conference USA champion Middle Tennessee State as a 12-seed against fifth-seeded Minnesota in the South Region. Similarly, Louisville remained a #2 seed despite losing in the ACC Tournament, while Kentucky remained in a strong position in the #2 slot by winning the SEC Men's Basketball Tournament. That was the year the Eagles, seeded 15th out of 16 teams in their region, upset Georgetown 78-68.
Kent State: The Golden Flashes finished fourth in the MAC East, four games behind Akron.