2016 NCAA Tournament: Something to look forward to


ncaa tourny
The NCAA Championship trophy is presented to the winner of the annual tournament that runs from mid-March to early April. 68 teams will compete for the championship. (USA TODAY Sports)

Caleb Bailey, Sports Editor

No matter if you are a diehard college basketball fan or just a casual watcher of the sport, everyone has their eyes glued to the television screen when it comes to March Madness.

We are just more than a month away from one of the most exciting times of the year, but this year has a different feel to the field. If you go down and look at the teams competing for a spot in the Big Dance, anyone will know that not one team has been dominant.

At this point in the year, the SMU Mustangs are the only team with just one loss on their plate. Even though they are are having one of the best years in program history, they are unfortunately banned from postseason play due to mounting NCAA violations.

The Duke Blue Devils, defending national champions, entered the 2015-16 season with high hopes by boasting the number one recruiting class in the country. However, they have lost four of their last five games and have not looked good doing so.

So what teams could be looking at a deep run into the NCAA Tournament this year? The Oklahoma Sooners are one team that should be considered a favorite. They currently hold the spot for number one team in the country, trading places with Kansas and Michigan state.

They also retain point guard Buddy Hield, one of the best players in the country. Hield is easily the frontrunner for the John Wooden Player of the Year Award but could not do it without talented players like Isaiah Cousins and Ryan Spangler backing him up.

Then there’s a team who is used to being at the top: the second-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels. After an exit in the Sweet Sixteen in 2015, Roy Williams’s club looks poised to be a top seed in March and make a run at their sixth national championship.

We cannot neglect to consider non-national power teams that could make noise in the tournament. Some of those teams include Hawaii and the Grand Canyon.

The Rainbow Warriors are led by powerful offense with four players averaging double-digit points per game, led by Stefan Jankovic with 15.1 points.

The Antelopes are led by Joshua Braun and Grandy Glaze, who average 17.5 and 14.3 points per game respectively. This team has only been playing Division I basketball for three seasons and are looking for their first tournament appearance at this level.

The NCAA Tournament is just around the corner and it is going to be a fun time for everyone involved. What teams will make an earlier exit than expected and which ones will begin their Cinderella story?
March cannot get here fast enough.