In a few short weeks, we’ll all be sitting around our television screens, watching Cinderella dance and witnessing giants fall. This is the time of year when 19-year-olds become heroes, if only for a day, and grown men weep bitter tears as they see their dreams dashed for another year, all while millions hold their breath as a last second shot sails towards the basket.
No other sporting event captures the American imagination like March Madness, the annual tournament that crowns a college basketball champion. From the chaos of the early rounds to the pulse pounding excitement of the final, the entire country catches basketball fever.
This year’s tournament is more open than ever before, with up to a dozen teams with realistic shots at the title, and even more waiting in the wings to play spoilers. As you make your bracket, keep some of these sleepers in mind.
The Longhorns have a long history as a Jekyll and Hyde team. They often play down to the level of their opponents, which accounts for some troubling losses to less than stellar teams. However, when pressed, the Longhorns can challenge some of the best teams in the NCAA, as evidenced by their upset of North Carolina earlier this season. The team has the talent to win big games, but questions remain about their willpower and focus. With a seasoned coach on the bench to counter some of these problems, the Longhorns could make a run into at least the Sweet 16.
For years, schools from mid-major conferences slipped under the radar and then made waves in the tournament. Gonzaga, Wichita State, and Florida Gulf Coast all recently shocked the basketball world with tournament upsets, and Monmouth is positioned to do the same this year. They’ve taken down several tourney-bound teams already in the regular season, and Justin Robinson is the type of special player who can carry his team to several victories.
Defense and rebounding win championships, and the Mountaineers play a gritty game that will give high flying tournament offenses a challenge. They have one of the best turnover ratios in the nation, giving them a tremendous advantage in the number of shots taken. They may not be the highest scoring team fighting for a tournament spot, but if they get in, they will be a headache for any opponent.
When fighting for a tournament invite, it’s not how you started the season, but how you end it. Though Notre Dame suffered some early season setbacks, recent wins over Iowa and Duke catapulted them into the tournament discussion. The Irish also play in a strong conference, which should help to offset the weakness of their non-conference schedule, but only if they’re able to pull off some wins at home. They’re a bubble team with a lot to prove, making the last few games of the regular season do or die for the Irish.
American Social Restaurant and Bar
At American Social Restaurant and Bar, we pride ourselves in creating a relaxed and festive environment where diehards and casual fans alike can enjoy exceptional burgers, washed down with some of the best beer in Florida.
We have three American Social locations, one in Las Olas, one in Tampa, and the other at our downtown Miami restaurant. Whether you want to grab your friends to catch the last few games of the regular season, cheer your favorites in the conference tournaments, or watching the high drama of March Madness, at American Social we always have a seat, multiple televisions and great food and drink waiting for you!