And boy have we gotten that this year.
The season tipped off the day before Thanksgiving, November 25th, and it has been a nonstop basketball frenzy ever since.
Due to the delayed start, games are on every single day of the week. Not only are they on every day, but games usually start around 3-4 PM, so we have at least eight hours of college basketball every day, all week. And even more on the weekends.
As a pure fan of basketball and a senior in college who’s at home taking online classes due to COVID…
This has been a blessing in disguise. I’ve never felt more ready to fill out my bracket come March Madness.
For the first few weeks, teams were able to fit some non-conference games into their schedule. We saw the likes of Gonzaga vs. Iowa, Texas vs. Villanova and UNC, and much more. But since that, it has been strictly conference play the rest of the way, minus a game or two.
This has led to a very different type of season for teams. A strict schedule like this with the combination of no fans in their home arenas has led to something college basketball fans like myself crave…
Upsets, Upsets, and More Upsets
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Upsets have happened since the beginning of the sport, but this year feels different. If you keep track of college basketball during the week, it feels like Top-25 teams are losing to unranked conference foes at least once a night. Sometimes, even more.
We’ve seen top teams like Villanova, Texas, Iowa, and Wisconsin all fall to unranked teams throughout the season. And that’s just naming a few.
#1 Gonzaga and #2 Baylor haven’t moved in the rankings since the beginning, but the rest of the Top 25 has shifted drastically over the last two months.
Obviously, being unranked doesn’t always mean you’re not a good team, as we’ve clearly seen this season.
However, the no-fans aspect has 100% contributed to these upsets. You have places like Cameron Indoor Stadium and Allen Fieldhouse, typically difficult-to-impossible places to play for visiting teams, entirely fan-less.
This season has really shown us which conferences are deep and which ones aren’t. For example, you have the WCC with Gonzaga running over every single team in every single game. And then, you have the Big Ten and Big 12.
The Big Ten and Big 12 are projected to have nine and seven teams in the March Madness Tournament, respectively. That’s absurd.
To put that in relative terms, each region in the bracket has 16 teams. These two conferences combined could fill up one region.
These deep conferences are showing us how hard it is to win games, even for really good teams. It’s proven a lot for sleeper teams as they’ve stamped resume-building wins heading into March.
It has also made even better cases for a team like Baylor, who’s undefeated in Big 12 play.
COVID-19 Impact, Looking Ahead
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While this season has been a blast, it’s also tough to see games canceled as they have been. Throughout the season, teams including #2 Baylor and #3 Michigan have had to take extended breaks due to COVID-19.
These pauses can sometimes stretch towards almost a month-long and have proven to make returning teams a bit rusty the first game back.
Baylor and Michigan definitely want to return sooner rather than later to get a few games in before March.
We’re just about in the home stretch towards conference tournaments and March Madness.
ESPN’s Joe Lunardi updates his Bracketology every few days, and the brackets have changed every single time in more ways than one.
This is a sign we’re in for a wild next few weeks heading into Selection Sunday.
For a college basketball fan like myself, that’s all I could ask for. This season’s been arguably the most fun one I’ve watched, and it’s only going to get better.
Lifelong sports fan fulfilling a childhood dream. I’ll talk sports all day. Passion and hot takes are my thing… there’s always a story. Yankees. NY Giants. Knicks. Texas Longhorns. Yes… being a Knicks fan is rough, but my time will come (hopefully). Senior at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut.