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Mike Tranghese is a college basketball junkie.

As a young man, Tranghese was part of Dave Gavitt's inner circle which created the Big East basketball conference.

He was part of history in 1985 when the Big East earned an unprecedented 3 spots in the Final Four.

He has served as chairmen of the NCAA tournament selection committee, perhaps the most influential group in college athletics.

Now, in semi retirement, Tranghese remains an avid fan of the game, involved in a secondary role in several areas.

"Haven't seen anything like it'' Tranghese was saying earlier this week when asked for a mid season state of the game evaluation. ""There are between nine and 12 teams who could win national championships. Getting any team to win six (tournament) games (and a national  championship) is going to be difficult.

Tranghese, as he has been his entire career, which spans more than 40 years, is heavily involved with Providence College and his old conference.

But even he has been amazed which has seen such teams aa Creighton and UConn rise--and then fall--to national championship threats with perplexing losses.

He also can only shake his head in amazement when he sees a team such as Seton Hall stun UConn 67-66 in a game in which Seton Hall had the lead for no more than 20 seconds or when 9-10 DePaul upsets league leader 
Xavier (15-4) 73-72.

""What seems clear to me in the Big East is that you are going to lose on the road,'' said Tranghese. "There are NO guarantees.''

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Tranghese, who also does work for the Southeastern Conference, sees similar trends across the country where an SEC bottom feeder such as South Carolina can win by double digits against a struggling Kentucky team (in Lexington), which then goes on the road to beat then SEC leader Tennessee in Knoxville.

What is also clear is that if you go across the country conference by conference and you will find ""upsets''  "head scratchers'' in almost every conference, where this week's No 1 team is  next week's NCAA tournament bubble team, or at least trending that way.

Take the pre-season rankings which had North Carolina ranked No 1 in many polls and Kentucky was in Top 5. 

If the tournament selection process were this weekend. Neither team is ranked in the Top 25.

Gonzaga, which may be the most consistent tournament team in college basketball, is facing a stiff challenge from Saint Mary's in the West Coast Conference and right now is not even projected as a No. 1 seed.

The parity could be explained by a variety of reasons, with the transfer portal chaos, allowing teams to restock almost instantly a prime factor.

If you take a conservative viewpoint and allow 12 teams to have legitimate Final Four aspirations, the  list would look like this:

Houston, Texas, UConn, Purdue, Kansas, Tennessee, Virginia, Arizona, UCLA, Gonzaga, Kansas State, Baylor, North Carolina, Creighton,  and Marquette.

We are slightly past the halfway point of the regular season and crunch time is still weeks away, but there is little doubt that the drama of the first half will continue right to the Final Four in Houston  in April.