March is in full-swing now. The weather is warming, the snow has melted in most places south of Canada, and all of the college basketball conference championships are over. The NCAA Tournament will begin in earnest on Thursday (the First Four begins on Tuesday, but no B1G teams will be involved), giving you just enough time to recover from your St. Patrick's Day hangover.
#1 Seed Wisconsin Badgers
Double B1G champs Wisconsin earned a top seed, and although they are in the West bracket, starting in Omaha is not bad at all. Coastal Carolina is first up for the Badgers, who then will see either Oregon or Oklahoma State. Wisconsin will likely see North Carolina in LA, followed by a possible Elite Eight game with the likes of Arizona or Baylor. Bo Ryan's team could see Kentucky in the Final Four, something many fans and college basketball pundits have been clamoring for all season. A solid draw for this team overall, expect them to impress in the tournament.
#4 Seed Maryland Terrapins
Mark Turgeon's squad ends up as the 4 seed in the Midwest bracket, meaning that if they can make it to the Sweet Sixteen they will be looking at a possible match-up with the undefeated Kentucky Wildcats. However, before they get that far, the Terps will have to beat a very good mid-major in Valparaiso. The Crusaders went 28-5 in the regular season, and will be fairly close to home. Their second round game will be against either (5) West Virginia or (12) Buffalo, both are 23-9 on the season. This seed seems a bit low for Maryland, but not as surprising as some of the seeds this season. Being sent to Columbus is less than ideal for an east coast team, especially when just about every in their bracket is closer to the Midwest than them.
#7 Seed Michigan State Spartans
The Spartans will travel to Charlotte as the only B1G team in the East bracket. 10-seed Georgia last stepped on the court in the SEC tournament semifinals and failed to impress against Arkansas. On the other hand, MSU has looked very hot lately, taking Wisconsin to the brink today, and should be confident going into their first round game. As a 7-seed, their 2-seed is Virginia, a tough team that will make you work for every point you score and can make 40 minutes feel like 40 days. If they can survive the Cavaliers they could meet (3) Oklahoma before a possible game against (1) Villanova. Michigan State has an argument that they deserved a 5 or 6, but if they get past Virginia, it could end up looking like a lucky draw for a team that always seems to play their best in March.
#7 Seed Iowa Hawkeyes
Iowa garnered a 7 seed in the South bracket, and will play in Seattle. The Hawkeyes will get to play Davidson, the A-10 regular season champion in their first season. If they get past the Wildcats, they will likely play a very tough Gonzaga squad in the second round. The Zags will be playing very close to home, and were the regular season and tournament champs in the WCC. If Iowa makes it to the Sweet Sixteen, they will travel to Houston and could face (6) SMU or (3) Iowa State. This seed seems about right for Iowa after their tourney loss to Penn State, and I think they could really put up a fight in this bracket.
#9 Seed Purdue Boilermakers
The Boilers were a bit of a surprise at the 9-seed line, and they get to face an AAC in Cincinnati. The Bearcats are close to home playing in Louisville, but look vulnerable after losing to UConn in their conference tourney. Unfortunately for Matt Painter's team, they will have to beat UK if they want to get to the Sweet Sixteen. Purdue will need a lot of luck to get past the Wildcats, but they are one of the few teams in the country with the size to match-up with the bigs of Kentucky. Boilers have to feel lucky to get a 9-seed, but extremely disappointed in their draw.
#10 Seed Ohio State Buckeyes
OSU can't be happy with this seed, but their focus will be completely on VCU and the West bracket by the end of the night. The Buckeyes will get the Rams in Portland with one of the best 2-seeds in Arizona awaiting the winner. D'Angelo Russell can carry this team at times, but they will need help from his teammates if they want to get any tourney wins. I would have guessed Ohio State would be an 8 or 9, but they have enough raw talent to make it to the Sweet Sixteen and further if it all comes together.
#10 Seed Indiana Hoosiers
The Hoosiers got a better seed than most expected and can finally breathe after a couple of days of hand-wringing. A first round game against Wichita State won't be easy. The Shockers aren't the team that went undefeated for most of last season, but they have a ton of talent and I'm not sure anyone in the tournament would feel confident going up against this team. In the second round, Kansas will likely await the Hoosiers in Omaha. The Midwest bracket contains every single Indiana team in the tournament and is not going to be easy for anyone, including Kentucky. However, Indiana has good shooting and could certainly surprise a couple teams.
The B1G got as many bids as the Big 12, and more than any other conference. A lot of seeds seem a little low, with the exception of IU and Purdue, but, in the end, this conference has been Wisconsin and a bunch of solid teams all year. Maryland has looked like an elite teams at times this year, but a 4-seed isn't bad for the Terps. Wisconsin looks like the only team that is a true Final Four threat, but this is March and our conference is filled with talent. I am willing to bet the B1G has at least one big upset win in them, if not two or three.