Little in the world of sports is as compelling and unique as major upsets during March Madness. Most of the Þeld of 65 is comprised of automatic bids given to every athletic conference champion regardless of talent pool, from the Atlantic Coast juggernaut to the lowly Southland. Universities a fraction of the size of the University of Calgary dream of earning a rare moment of international fame, often against a program that they would have little business playing otherwise. Blowouts are the norm, but inevitably every year some little-known David will slay Goliath, and keep these "Cinderella" teams in for another round.
Low-ranked underdog teams from obscure conferences are comprised of players passeed up by major conferences and walk-ons, with little scholarship money dispersed among them. They are faced with future professional hoopsters as opponents, painstakingly recruited and developed by major programs. Underdogs have the by having nothing to lose, comprehensive scouting and national exposure of their opponents (while their obscurity impedes scouting against them).
Teams to look to for upsets include Gonzaga University, located in Spokane. The ‘Zags had unexpected runs deep into the tournament the past two years and face the talented, but poor-defending and erratic Virginia. Also, streaking Brigham Young could upset Cincinnati who looked mediocre in their conference-Þnal loss last weekend. Ivy League champion Princeton plays an unorthodox ball-control oVense that can mitigate their talent inequities. Hoop colossus North Carolina, upset by plebeian Weber State two years ago, should be wary. The glass slipper may also Þt Xavier, Oklahoma State and Northridge, or any team stars align correctly on game night.
The chances for an upset are in every hard-fought game. With hustle and a little luck, it appears as if any seemingly impossible challenge can be conquered. March Madness will bring such a miracle at least once; another factor making it such a spectacular event. After all, what’s "madness" without something seriously out of the ordinary?