March Madness makes its return

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Photo by Brigham Berthold

On Sunday, the 2017 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament field will be revealed. As the much-anticipated selection show approaches, let’s look back at the many storylines of how we arrived here and what to look forward to in the weeks to come.

For the local teams, each squad had its ups and downs. UVU defeated both BYU and New Mexico State in thrilling road contests, but suffered some puzzling losses and underachieved on the whole. The Cougars spoiled top-ranked Gonzaga’s perfect regular season, yet failed to take down the likes of San Diego and Pepperdine.

The University of Utah was a three-point shot away from stunning UCLA, but fell on the road against an Oregon State team that was twenty games under .500. Weber State picked up quality in-state wins, but sputtered down the stretch. With mediocre basketball throughout the state, it seems that winning a conference tournament will be the only way into the big dance for the Beehive State.

Although a local team may not find a way into the tournament, fans in the state will not be shut out, as Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City will host first and second round action. However, the cheapest lower bowl tickets available on the secondary market for all three sessions is currently $519 per seat. On second thought, maybe local fans will be shut out of the NCAA Tournament.

Boasting star-studded lineups, Oregon, Arizona, UCLA and Gonzaga appear on paper to be contenders, giving the west coast the best chance it’s had in years of taking home a title. Each team has questions that will be answered as the tournament progresses. Can Gonzaga overcome its regular season ending loss to BYU? Will the crazy talk of Lonzo Ball’s father affect Ball and his team? How will Arizona and Oregon follow up double-digits losses in the 2016 NCAA Tournament? Hopefully this year the talk is of “west coast bias,” not east.

When filling out a bracket it can be hard to pick against higher seeded teams, but each year a team does the unthinkable. Last season it was No. 15 seed Middle Tennessee State, who shocked No. 2 seed Michigan State. Meanwhile, No. 10 seed Syracuse made an impressive run to the Final Four. Upsets are a part of what makes March mad, so stay tuned for this year’s thrillers.

Although the NCAA Tournament may not have the best layout in determining a champion, it is second to none in entertainment. Whether you are cheering for your school or simply rooting against Duke, every one of the 67-game slate is must see TV and this year will be no exception.

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