Every year, people say how crazy the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament is.
Well, this year it’s actually true.
Yes, from Middle Tennessee’s stunning upset of Michigan State to Texas A&M’s mind-blowing final-minute comeback against Northern Iowa, the first few days of the NCAA Tournament have been epic and unforgettable.
“They’ve been historic,” CBS college basketball analyst Steve Lappas said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “Think about the Wisconsin win yesterday, the A&M win – down 11 with 30 seconds to go. Middle Tennessee doing what they did to Michigan State, who was the team everybody thought was going to win it. I was not surprised. I’ve said all year that this NCAA Tournament this year was going to be the craziest one ever because we saw the parity that we had in college basketball all year. Why should we even be surprised that this is happening? The only thing that didn’t happen that could happen was a 16 beating a 1. I kind of thought maybe this year is the year it’s going to happen because it’s such a great year in college basketball. So it is an unbelievable tournament and definitely no surprise.”
The ACC, which played second fiddle to the Big 12 all season, is now the talk of the NCAA town, with six teams in the Sweet 16. Even crazier, all six teams – Duke, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Miami, Syracuse and Virginia – have a chance to advance to the Elite Eight. The only ACC team to lose was Pitt, which lost by four points to Wisconsin, which is also in the Sweet 16.
Still, Lappas doesn’t believe the ACC’s strong showing in the tournament thus far necessarily means it’s the best league in college basketball.
“No, I’m not a big believer in that,” he said. “I think you got to judge a conference over the long haul, what it is during the regular season. I think the NCAA Tournament, a lot of it is match-ups. Look at Syracuse. Syracuse gets Middle Tennessee to advance. That’s a break. So I don’t want to judge (a conference based entirely on the tournament). The ACC’s a great league. I don’t think there’s any doubt that everybody says the Big 12 and the ACC are the two best leagues in the country this year. But am I ready to say it’s a better league than the Big 12 because there are more of them standing? I’m not ready to say that.”