March to Madness

March 14, 2002, midnight | By Calvin Anderson | 18 years, 10 months ago

For most people this is a happy time. Spring is right around the corner, the days get a little longer, it's a bit warmer, lacrosse season is here, and best of all the greatest month of college basketball has finally arrived. This is a time where sports fans all across the nation go broke by betting on the outcome of the Big Dance. Some take the underdog approach, some stick with the Vegas prognosticators, and some just close their eyes and point.

Every March people just give their money away like stickers at the doctor's office. Picking the outcomes of sports games is nearly impossible and the greatest analyst can be wrong hence the Super Bowl and the World Series. There are usually teams that you can depend on to go deep into the tourney, like Duke and usually UNC but this year there are a lot of teams that have stepped up their level of play and some like UNC and Michigan State that have failed to meet expectations. This will make for a very competitive tourney that will be hard to predict.

Teams such as Duke, Kansas and of course Maryland will all be serious contenders for the national title but teams like Marquette and Alabama who weren't on anybody's top ten preseason poll may end up deep into march. Also teams like Cincinnati that were regular season surprises should go deep into the tourney. With Steve Logan leading the Bearcats they could very easily break into the final four.

The Atlantic Coast Conference should have a repeat of last year with Maryland and Duke playing for a championship bid, except this time Duke is not invincible. Without Shane Battier, the Devils have become mortal. Even Jason Williams has been slumming of late, missing key free throws in tight games.

One of the biggest surprises of this season has been Kansas, led by the versatile forward Drew Gooden. In Roy Williams's three-guard system, the Jayhawks have more speed and outside shooting than most teams can contend with. Williams' plan from the beginning of the season has been to get Gooden or junior power forward Nick Collison the ball nearly every possession. Obviously this plan has been successful, because the big men are getting their touches and points, and when they are doubled-teamed, they can dish it out to their superb three-point shooters.

Western Kentucky has had a cinderella season, earning a 9th seed in the tourney and a 28-3 final season record.

Cal's Call: The Final Four teams will be Maryland, Duke, Oklahoma and probably a wildcard team like Oregon who has had its flashes of brilliance throughout the season. This big dance will be without UNC for the first time since 1974, but that won't take away from the quality of the basketball in this year's tournament. There is a possibility that Maryland and Duke, arguably the two best teams in the nation, will meet for the third time in the tourney. The Terps are going to win it all this year. They've compiled one of the best regular season records in the country and have had one of the best seasons in Maryland history. This is Maryland's year; the football team started and the b-ball team will continue the trend.

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Calvin Anderson. Calvin Anderson was born in Washington D.C. on January 3rd 1986. He now lives with his mom in Takoma Park Maryland. Calvin is the man behind the infamous column Cal's Call. In addition to writing his column he enjoys playing sports including lacrosse and basketball … More »

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