Hoop fans are in for a real treat this weekend as the NCAA Tournament gets underway at regional venues across the country. This year more than ever, the tournament is wide open with no real overall favorite.
So if you are at home and will be watching closely, what should you be looking for? Let’s start with the local teams.
We know right off the top that one of our local teams in the tournament will be eliminated after the first round. That’s because #1 seeded Virginia will play #16 seeded Hampton. The Cavaliers (26-7) will play the Pirates (21-10) around 3:10 p.m. Thursday in Raleigh, North Carolina. Hampton won the MEAC Championship Saturday in Norfolk and are playing in the “Big Dance” for the second straight year. This will be a huge up-hill battle for the Pirates since in the history of the tournament, no #16 seed has ever defeated a #1 seed. If the Cavaliers beat the Pirates, they’d face the winner of #8 seeded Texas Tech vs. #9 seeded Butler on Saturday.
Joining UVA and Hampton in the tournament is VCU. The Rams are hoping they can reclaim the magic of 2011 when they surprised the nation and made it to the final 4. VCU is a #10 seed and they will face Oregon State Friday at 1:30 p.m. in Oklahoma City. VCU has made it to the tournament 6 straight years, but this year they are guided by first-year head coach Will Wade.
It should be fun to see how far the local teams will get. Do you think Hampton has much of a chance to knock off UVa? How far will the Cavaliers get this year? Can VCU find the magic and shock the brackets once again? All these questions will be answered in the next few days. If you are a sports fan, get ready for some great basketball action!