Frank’s Sport Court: March Madness

Frank Passalacqua, Sports Co-Editor

March is one of the worst months of the year. The grass is brown, the weather is cold and everything is muddy. However, the NCAA gives us a special something to look forward to- March Madness. Queue Muse in the background and you’ve got a month full of college basketball.

Even though it does not officially kick off until March 19th, there is still time to predict the final seeds and prep the bracketology that many fans bet thousands and thousands of dollars on.

The past few years really haven’t been all too unpredictable to say the least. The top four seeds usually make it with #1 winning it all. Honestly, nothing too exciting. What college basketball fans always love to see are those random sleepers coming in to make noise.

Everyone who follows March Madness remembers the 2006 fairy tale story of George Mason.

The 11th seeded George Mason Patriots were 23-7 on the season before tearing through the NCAA. They beat #6 Michigan State, upset #3 UNC led by freshman Tyler Hansbrough, #7 Wichita State, and the top team in #1 UConn who was 27-3 on the year behind Rudy Gay.

George Mason would then go on to lose to #3 Florida State in the National Semifinals, who later won the 2006 NCAA Championship with Joakim Noah as the star.

Everyone wants to see the top teams get knocked off their horse by a nobody. What is fun about seeing the Patriots atop the NFL every year? Nothing.

For this year’s sleepers, I like two teams. The No. 12 seed Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders and the No. 11 seed Belmont Bruins are teams that I think are capable of pulling off some “George Mason Magic” in 2013.

Belmont’s guard Ian Clark is one of the nation’s most underrated and underappreciated players. The Bruins’ leading scorer is averaging 18.1 points per game while shooting an astounding 54.3 percent from the field, including a 46.2 percent rate from beyond the arc.
Clark is joined by dead-eye shooters Trevor Noack and J.J. Mann to create one of the nation’s most prolific offenses. Despite playing at a relatively controlled pace, the Bruins score 77.0 points per game and have the fourth-best field goal percentage in the nation.

Middle Tennessee is a team that reminds me a lot of George Mason. The Blue Raiders are filled with a bunch of players mainstream fans have never heard of—and very possibly won’t hear from again after this March.

What the Blue Raiders lack in star power, they make up for with effort and depth. Coach Kermit Davis uses a rotation that has 10 players who receive double-digit minutes per game and eight guys who average more than five points a night.

As for now, we can only wait and see who makes it to the Big Dance, but speculation is always fun.