We finally made it to the NCAA college basketball tournament. March Madness! The first weekend is when the real madness happens, with four days of non-stop action lasting from Thursday through Sunday. And then, just like that, the field is already reduced to the Sweet 16, and we have to wait until the following Thursday for the next rounds to take place. Before the "real" tournament begins, there are the 4 play-in games. This year, the games will be between Farleigh Dickinson and Prairie View A&M, Temple and Belmont, North Carolina Central and North Dakota, and finally St. John's and Arizona State.
Those 4 games take place Tuesday and Wednesday, and then the field of 64 teams will commence on Thursday. To me, these games don't mean much. They are a way for fans to watch college basketball on days where normally there would be no college basketball, but considering no "First Four" team has ever won their next game, it really doesn't mean much, although I am sure for the school and the players it gets them 15 minutes of fame. But as we learned last year, with Virginia falling to a 16 seed in the first round, anything can happen, and so I am sure eventually one of these play in teams will win a round or two, especially because they won't all be 16 seeds. For instance, the winners of the Belmont-Temple and St. John's-ASU games will each get an 11 seed.
The winner of that ASU- St. John's game will get to play 6th seeded Buffalo, so come to think of it, I think Buffalo will be the answer to a future trivia question of "What was the first NCAA team to lose to a play-in team?" My prediction is Duke vs. Virginia. Duke is the #1 overall team this year, and they should be.
They dominated this season, except with Zion out, but Zion is back, so they will be tough to beat, but I think VA has a chip on their shoulder from what was probably the most embarrassing loss in NCAA basketball history last year in the first round, and as I've said all along, it will be tough for Duke to beat them thrice this year!