If the past four days of basketball were any indicator, we're about to be treated to an NCAA tournament full of One Shining Moments. From
If the past four months of basketball were any indicator, we're also about to be treated to a Rock Chalk Final Four. There are good teams scattered all over this year's tourney, but only Kansas has been truly great over the course of this season.
The Jayhawks are my overwhelming favorites to cut down the nets in Indianapolis come April 5. Or at least they were, right up until CBS unveiled the bracket.
For reasons known only to the 10 people in that room, the selection committee tapped Kansas its No. 1 overall seed, placed it in the Midwest, then inexplicably stuck it with the most loaded field of any region, hands down -- Ohio State, Georgetown, Maryland and Michigan State. And like some sort of cruel joke, the No. 6 (Tennessee) and No. 7 (Oklahoma State) seeds happen to be the two teams that beat the Jayhawks this season.
Congrats on that 32-2 record,
Self would assuredly love to trade places with Duke coach
But take a closer look at Kansas' field and you'll find a common denominator. It's not necessarily the teams themselves that should scare Self -- it's their star players.
St. Louis is going to be brimming with star power no matter which teams advance there. Likely National Player of the Year Turner, Georgetown center
But so, too, will a Kansas team whose collective future earnings surely fall somewhere in the nine-digit range, with point guard
Which brings us to the central issue when it comes to filling out your entry pool for the 2010 tournament. If March is the time when stars tend to rise, which do you trust more: A flashy outfit like Kentucky (a.k.a. Lottery Pick U.), or a more businesslike approach like that of zone-you-to-death Syracuse? Do you see guys like Ohio State's Turner or West Virginia's Butler near-singlehandedly carrying their teams like they did during their conference tourneys? Or do you see them falling at the feet of a more balanced squad like Self's Jayhawks or Krzyzewski's Blue Devils?
It's a tough call.
It's easy to knock Kentucky because it's young -- but youth hasn't kept Cousins and
It's easy to knock Ohio State because it's so darn thin -- but the Buckeyes' six-man rotation hasn't shown a whole lot of fatigue in winning 13 of their last 14. Though they did blow a 14-point lead at West Virginia.
I could go on and on, but there are flaws with every team in this field, Kansas included. The Jayhawks have a maddening tendency to take their foot off the gas for extended periods. Though once they come to, they tend to immediately go on a 17-2 run.
I think I still like Kansas. But let's review the entire bracket to make sure.