Sunday, March 11, 2018

Sports: College Basketball (Conference Tournaments)

College basketball is about to get really interesting and unfortunately, this is my first time checking in on what has been a pretty exciting season. From the state of my conference brackets, I am not going to do well this year, as always, but this year is especially unpredictable with clear frontrunners falling in surprising upsets throughout the year. I have a few teams that I would like to see go far but I will have to roll the dice on a lot of picks. The conference tournaments give me a chance to watch teams I may have not seen before and get a better idea of who might be this year's champion. 

Big Ten Tournament
The Big Ten tournament started a week early so they could use the same stadium as another conference. Featuring the second place team in the nation Michigan State, the competition was high though I'm curious if any of these teams will make it into the Final Four. I picked Purdue to make it all the way and they did well making it passed a surging Rutgers and then defeating Penn State to make it to the Big Ten championship. Michigan survived overtime against Iowa and moved on to take out Nebraska. They were on a collision course with Michigan State took out Wisconsin in their first game. In a surprising upset, Michigan beat Michigan State to head to the finals. Michigan took the championship for another year beating Purdue 75-66.

ACC Tournament
The ACC is stacked with great teams so the tournament was full of competitive matchups. Probably the biggest surprise in this bracket was Boston College taking out Georgia Tech, then NC State before being stopped by Clemson. I had Notre Dame ending their run at Duke after beating Pitt and Virginia Tech. Syracuse passed Wake Forest but then fell to last years National Champions North Carolina. The Tar Heels made a run through Miami and Duke all the way to the ACC Championship. Virginia beat Louisville after the Cardinals took out Florida State. They then beat Clemson and defeated North Carolina in the championship 71-63.
SEC Tournament
I had no idea what would happen in this tournament but wanted either Florida or Kentucky to make it all the way. I did pick Georgia to make a run until they got stopped at Kentucky while Alabama surprised me with an upset over Auburn. In the bottom of the bracket, my predicted South Carolina run was stopped short by Arkansas who went on to defeat the Florida Gators. Mississipi State didn't make it beyond their game against Tennessee who took out Arkansas. Kentucky beat Alabama and came through with a big win against Tennessee 77-72 in the SEC Championship.

Big 12 Tournament
I was operating under the impression that Kansas might hold something back for the big tournament where they have usually started as a high seed but not come through in a few years. However, this year they beat Oklahoma State who benefited from the great fall of Oklahoma. Kansas then took out the in-state rival Kansas State who beat TCU. Texas beat Iowa State but then lost to Texas Tech. West Virginia beat Baylor, then Texas Tech to face Kansas in the Big 12 Championship. Kansas asserted their dominance with an 81-70 over West Virginia.

Big East Tournament
I don't normally pay attention to the Big East conference but with two teams in the top three, I decided I'd check it out. I predicted a top matchup between Villanova and Xavier but Providence had other plans. Xavier did make it past St. Johns before losing to Providence who beat Creighton before. Villanova beat Marquette and then Butler who upset Seton Hall. The Big East championship was a great competitive game that went into overtime with Villanova eventually triumphing 76-66.

PAC-12 Tournament
The PAC-12 only has one team that is guaranteed a spot in the tournament but I still thought some upsets might happen. The first mess up in my bracket cam from Oregon State upsetting Washington. Other than that top-ranked teams moved ahead leading to Arizona facing UCLA and USC taking on Oregon. I was wrong about anyone stopping Arizona despite the controversy of their coach being caught on tape by the FBI. Arizona beat UCLA and USC to take the PAC-12 title.

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