The March Madness tournament kicks off this week as what I call the greatest playoff ever determines the 2008 men's NCAA college basketball champion.
It's always a great thing to see the upsets, the buzzer beaters and the Cinderellas I can't imagine a better way to spend my two weeks… except maybe a date with Alicia Keys.
Back to focusing on basketball. Who belongs in this tournament, who should excel in this tournament and who could win it all? To be completely honest, I'm not sure. But then again, nobody is and that's what makes this tournament so special. It is unpredictability.
I present you my breakdown of the tournament.
The No. 1 seeds
The Memphis Tigers, UCLA Bruins, Kansas Jayhawks and overall No. 1 North Carolina Tar Heels could not have been better choices for top seeds in this tournament.
The Tar Heels have been a credible threat since before the season began when they were preseason ranked No.1. In fact, the four No. 1 seeds were the preseason top-4.
The fact that they have maintained that strength of being the best teams in college basketball the whole season shows how much these teams wanted it, and it will be a dog fight to determine which one of these teams will stand out, pending a No.1 seed does make the Final Four.
The team to watch in this tournament
If there is any non-power conference team to watch out for, it is the Davidson Wildcats.
The 26-6 team finished the Southern Conference with a 20-0 record and is seeded No. 10 in the Midwest bracket. What stands out about this team as a potential Cinderella is how they played against two NCAA giants in the Tar Heels and the Duke Blue Devils.
They fell short against both teams, but they held on until the end. I can see them potentially beating the No. 7 seed Gonzaga Bulldogs in the opening round to possibly meet the No. 2 seed Georgetown Hoyas.
If Davidson's leading scorer Stephen Curry, who averages 25.1 points per game, plays as well as he has done all season, there could be a chance they could topple Roy Hibbert and the rest of the Hoyas as this year's giant killers.
Albeit a small chance, but if George Mason can do it two years ago, who is to say the Wildcats won't pull off the same feat?
Best opening round match
There's no game that is more intriguing to me than the No. 6 seeded USC Trojans against the No.11 Kansas State Wildcats.
Both teams not only come into the tournament with at-large bids, but they also come with two potential first-round draft picks in freshmen O.J. Mayo of USC and Michael Beasley of Kansas State.
Besides junior Tyler Hansbrough of North Carolina, these two newcomers have been the talk of Player of the Year contention since preseason.
Beasley finished the regular season amongst the top scorers in the nation with 26.5 points and 12.4 rebounds per game.
Mayo was also no slouch, recording 20.8 points per game. Although his rebounding is nowhere as impressive as Beasley's at 4.6 boards a game., his outside shot is what stands out, averaging 41 percent from 3-point range.
The winner of this game is going to get a better edge, pending that these two will enter the NBA draft in June.
The teams that should be furious at the selection committee.
Two teams that stood out in not making the tournament this year are the Dayton Flyers and the Arizona State Sun Devils.
Ranked No. 32 in the RPI poll, the Flyers are the highest ranked team snubbed out of the tournament this year. Although they finished 8-8 in the Atlantic 10 Conference, it's their non-conference performance that should have put them in the tournament. They had two major upsets against the Louisville Cardinals on the road and a 25-point blowout win against the Pittsburgh Panthers - both teams were top-25 ranked at the time.
Arizona State deserves the biggest hug of all.
They got the shaft with an RPI ranking of 83. Although their non-conference schedule was weak, they were able to defeat the Xavier Musketeers. They also had wins against USC, the Oregon Ducks, and the Arizona Wildcats twice.
The Wildcats and the Ducks had worse records than the Sun Devils, but the committee must not have paid attention to the Pac-10 Conference records as both Oregon and Arizona got in over Arizona State.
Who is going to win?
Every team that has a top-4 seed has a great chance to win this thing. Although I won't say who I think will win, I can say who I like in the Final Four.
In the East region, it is a crap shoot. I think it is the toughest of all the regions, but North Carolina is the No. 1 overall seed for a reason. I see them winning this obstacle course. In the Midwest, I'm liking the Jayhawks.
Although they are known for choking, they will save that for the Final Four against the Tar Heels.
The Texas Longhorns have the best shot of winning the South, despite Memphis being the No. 1 seed. The Longhorns have such a great overall team with D.J. Augustin and A.J. Abrams, who are arguably the two best guards in the country. Those two have precise 3-point shooting (both shooting 39 percent) and it could be what stands out for this strong No. 2 Texas team.
Finally the West will be won with Duke. Who can argue against that? UCLA does have a talented bunch, but the Blue Devils were still coached by Mike Krzyzewski, last time I checked, and they will make sure that UCLA freshman Kevin Love suffers heartbreak in the regional final.
My Final Four are North Carolina, Kansas, Texas and Duke.
Let the games begin.
Juan Carlos Reyes is a sports reporter for the Record Star. Readers may contact him at 361-387-4511 or via email at email@example.com.