March Madness is upon us

Bracketology has brain washed us. It’s infected our vocal cords, spread to our brains and killed off the cells once used for simple mathematic skills.

— Joe Sarro, sports reporter

Well, it’s mid-March.

A typical college student is stressing about midterm grades or recovering from a St. Patrick’s Day hangover, but for the college basketball die-hard fans out there, the anticipation is unbearable.

We’re heading into the greatest four weeks of the American sporting calendar. We’d like to bring a booming public health crisis to your attention and that is the NCAA college basketball tournament.

Bracketology has brain washed us. It’s infected our vocal cords, spread to our brains and killed off the cells once used for simple mathematic skills.

Heading into the tournament, the most talked about and surprising topic are the No. 1 seeds.

Syracuse, yeah remember them? The team that looked unstoppable back in January and early February? Well their late season collapse has free fallen them to the No. 3 entering the tournament.

Then there’s Florida, which is well deserving of the No. 1 seed. The Gators haven’t lost since December, ran the table in the SEC regular season and captured the conference championship over Kentucky. They’re the hardest working team in the tournament and possibly the best passing team.

Arizona is the No. 1 seed in the West. No debate there. They’ve been a top-10 team for most of the season.

The No. 1 seed in the East is Virginia. They worked hard to win the ACC tournament, but are in no way shape or form ready to be the top seed. Even though Duke lost in the championship, the Blue Devils should have entered as No. 1.

Then there is the last No. 1 seed, the one team that has caused much debate around the college basketball universe, and that is Wichita State.

Wichita State got a No. 1 seed after the Shockers shocked the world by finishing the season 34-0 and winning the Missouri Valley Conference. They are placed in the Midwest region and could potentially face the 2012 national champion Kentucky, provided the Wildcats get by Kansas State.

34-0. How many teams can say they finished unbeaten?

In the past 34 years, only two teams have swept their entire slate. The last time someone won its first 30 games was 23 years ago. Wichita State is the lone team this season with the goose egg in the loss column.

Critics have said the Shockers should not be awarded a No. 1 seed due to its weak schedule. Playing in the Missouri Valley Conference doesn’t help the Shockers’ argument, but if it’s so easy to go undefeated in a mid-major conference, wouldn’t we see it more often?

The last time a team went undefeated was in 2004 when St. Joseph’s went 27-0 in the Atlantic-10, only to lose by 20 points to Xavier in the first conference tournament game. The Hawks battled back from the loss by advancing to the Elite Eight that season.

In a season with a ton of drama, just about every nationally ranked team has a bad loss or two, but Wichita state not only won every game on their schedule, they won by an average of 16 points this season.

Some of the quality wins came when the team rallied back against Missouri State after being down by as many as 19 points. The Shockers signature win came early in the year, when they beat then-unranked St. Louis by five.

The Shockers also bring more physicality to the court. They have some of the best stats in the nation in rebounding and defending. Wichita State ranks ninth in the country in total rebounds and rebounding margin. They also allow only 59.9 points per game to opposing teams, which is good enough for twelfth in the nation.

Whether you think this team is for real or not, you have to give them credit for some of the accomplishments they’ve achieved. But for now, basketball fans are in tourney mode. The NCAA selection committee has made its decisions on Selection Sunday, and now we must sit back, relax and hope we have the winning bracket.

Happy March Madness everyone.  May the odds be ever in your favor.