The Madness Begins: The NCAA Men’s Basketball Title Is up for Grabs

The Madness Begins: The NCAA Men’s Basketball Title Is up for Grabs

The experts have been wrong all season long.

So what can you expect as the NCAA men’s basketball season wraps up and we head into conference tournaments and the “Big Dance”? 

It’s anyone’s guess. That’s why they call it March Madness

It’ll be a fitting end to a season in which the nation’s best teams have played a near-weekly game of musical chairs atop the rankings (and a few have fallen flat on their bottoms).

Unpredictable has been the theme of the season. When the first games tipped off in November, Kansas sat atop the preseason rankings, buoyed by the offseason acquisition of the nation’s top transfer player, Hunter Dickinson. And though Dickinson has had a strong season, averaging 18 points and 11 rebounds per game, the Jayhawks’ chemistry never quite developed as expected.

Now they’ve fallen out of the Top 10 and are tied for fourth place in the Big 12.

Houston, which began the season ranked No. 7, has been sitting comfortably at the top of the rankings since late February. Their last loss came more than a month ago when they lost to … well, Kansas.

In all, five teams — Kansas, Arizona, Purdue, Connecticut and Houston — have held the top spot in the rankings.

With conference tournaments set to begin and the NCAA Tournament following immediately after, this is when college basketball becomes must-watch television. 

And here are a few teams to keep a close eye on …

3 Teams Who Could Win It All


While Dickinson got all the hype in the transfer portal, one name flew under the radar.

Guard L.J. Cryer transferred from Baylor to Houston, and he may well be the transfer who has made the biggest impact on his new team. Cryer leads the Cougars, averaging 15.5 points per game and shooting nearly 40% from beyond the 3-point line. 

Cryer and backcourt partner Jamal Shead have Houston playing its best basketball of the year heading into tournament time. The Cougars surprised many by becoming the class of the Big 12 in their first year in the conference.

Coach Kelvin Sampson, in his 10th year at the school, has his team peaking at the right time, poised to make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament.


No NCAA men’s basketball team has repeated as national champions since the University of Florida in 2006 and 2007, but it could happen again this year.

UConn won the national title last season, tearing through the tournament as a No. 4 seed, ultimately defeating No. 5 seed San Diego State in the final.

This year, the Huskies spent six weeks at No. 1 but fell from the top spot after losing by 19 points to No. 15 Creighton. The loss could serve as a wakeup call for UConn, led by a pair of experienced seniors in Tristen Newton and Cam Spencer, a Rutgers transfer.

The Huskies are one of the most balanced teams in the nation, with five players averaging double figures in points, including dynamic freshman Stephon Castle. That depth could be critical in the tournament. 

North Carolina

Though currently residing outside the Top 5, don’t discount ACC regular season champion North Carolina.

The Tar Heels have five wins over Top 25 teams this season. Like UConn, they’re an experienced group whose starting five includes three seniors and a junior. Senior guard R.J. Davis leads the team in scoring with 21.5 points per game while fellow senior Armando Bacot averages 14 points and 10 rebounds per game. 

Coach Hubert Davis has his team playing well and carrying momentum into the postseason. With North Carolina’s blend of outside shooting acumen and aggressiveness under the basket, the Tar Heels are versatile enough to win any style of game — a trait which makes them a dangerous team in any bracket.

A Cinderella Contender

University of Richmond

An annual highlight of the NCAA Tournament is watching the pure joy of a little-known, easily overlooked team becoming the talk of the tournament.

A year ago, Fairleigh Dickson became just the second No. 16 seed to defeat a No. 1 seed when they beat Purdue in the opening round. But the Knights’ Cinderella run was short lived, and they bowed out in the second round.

And who could forget Loyola Chicago reaching the Sweet 16 in 2018 with Sister Jean, the team’s 98-year-old chaplain, cheering them on (and becoming a national treasure)? By the way, Sister Jean is now a spry 104 years old, and Loyola Chicago is one of the top teams in the Atlantic 10.

But it’s another A-10 team that we’re putting on Cinderella alert. The Richmond Spiders, guided by longtime coach Chris Mooney and led by high-scoring senior guard Jordan King, could surprise college basketball fans this year. 

The Spiders lost both of their games against Top 25 teams this year, but each was a close, 5-point loss.

They could make noise in the tournament this March. And if they don’t, rest assured that some other team will. The next few weeks are going to be pure, joyous madness.

Keep up with the festivities when you have DIRECTV. 

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