NCAA Men’s tournament just over 5 weeks away

NCAA Men’s tournament just over 5 weeks away

NCAA Top 25 Rankings

With the NCAA Men’s tournament just over 5 weeks away, the rankings continue to be a game of ‘musical chairs’.  Just yesterday, Notre Dame made the bottom of the list, and last night was soundly beaten by number 9,

Syracuse 63-47.  Indiana returned to the no. 1 spot after blowing out Purdue by 37 points and defeating former no. 1 Michigan, 81-73.

The top five for the week of February 4th are 1) Indiana, 2) Florida, 3) Michigan, 4) Duke, and 5) Kansas.

The two teams receiving the most attention who are “on the bubble”, are Oklahoma State, after their defeat of Kansas Saturday night, and a team I reported about last week, Belmont.

CBSSports.com’s Jerry Palm has Belmont pegged as a No. 12 seed in the NCAA tournament. They’re dangerous primarily because of their backcourt.  Guard Kerron Johnson, and shooting guard Ian Clark are the main reason, says coach Rick Byrd.  In November, he told USA Today:

“To be completely honest with you, I thought we were way better the past two years overall because of our post play, which we lost from last year. And looking back at some of our older teams, we had so much depth. But as you know, in the NCAA tournament it has so much to do with matchups, and a lot of the teams that catch lightening in a bottle are teams with real great guards. I think we have two senior guards (Ian Clark and Kerron Johnson) who could carry us to an NCAA win. We beat Stanford this year, and I don’t think our team last year or the year before would have beat Stanford. But we won that matchup with our guard play.”

Guard play, combined with a tough defense and a superior ability to shoot three pointers, makes them a feared opponent.

Will the Belmont Bruins be THE Cinderella team this year?  Will there be several Cinderella teams?  I, for one, can hardly wait.  Who will rise to the moment and dominate their brackets?  Soon, we’ll know.

James Turnage

Columnist-The Guardian Express

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