Garret Epperson/ Contributing Writer
It’s March, ladies and gentlemen, and the basketball madness has officially begun. With the conference tournaments just wrapping up this past weekend, there’s already been a surplus of drama with impossible shots, buzzer beaters and even game winners.
University of Connecticut
Going into the American Athletic Conference Tournament, the Huskies were actually on the outside looking in at the field of 68. A matchup versus Cincinnati gave University of Connecticut the opportunity to make a statement and they sure did.
Down three in the third overtime of the game, Jalen Adams hoisted a shot from almost full court to tie the game. The momentum carried the Huskies through the fourth overtime and to eventually win the AAC tourney, earning an automatic bid into the NCAA tournament.
With head coach Kevin Ollie, a compliment of scoring guards, and a 7-foot rim protector, expect them to be a tough out in this tournament.
University of Kentucky
As always, coach John Calipari has a team with an abundance of talent and size that looks like it’s capable of making a deep run.
Led by sophomore point guard Tyler Ulis, this team has the ability to go as far as the Final Four. The Wildcats have a rotation of four big men that all move well on both the offensive and defensive end, which proved to be useful just last weekend winning the Southeastern Conference tournament.
But the most intriguing prospect is Shooting Guard Jamaal Murray. This athletic Canadian Freshman can absolutely fill it up on the offensive end of the floor. Expect them to cause some trouble in the NCAAs.
University of Virginia
Although they may not be the most entertaining team to watch as they rank as the slowest team in the division one college basketball, they are among the most efficient teams both offensive and defensively. Coach Tony Bennett has a full complement of seniors led by Malcolm Brogdon who will not produce any lottery picks in the NBA, but certainly understand the game at the highest level and play the game the right way sharing the basketball.
I watched them play live versus University of Miami in a game they about a month ago, but I was thoroughly impressed. They are a battle tested team with leadership all over the place, so I don’t expect them to go quietly into the night.
University of Miami
The hometown Hurricanes have had an outstanding year with their veteran transfers combined with underclassman talent.
Although we finished second in the league and third in the conference journey, Head Coach Jim Larranaga seems to always prepare well for a deep tournament runs.
This Miami team has a lot more talent than the George Mason team that Larranaga took to the Final Four 10 years ago. The Canes have played a difficult non conference schedule and have wins over teams in conference teams such as Duke, Univeristy of Virginia, Notre Dame, University of Pittsburgh and Syracuse who are all in this tournament.