I'm A Believer - The Madness Is Real

Every March, sports fans are treated to the absolute insanity of college basketball. Yes, I could rip into the fact that these kids aren't paid one cent and that the monolithic NCAA disgracefully profits off of this free (i.e. slave) labor in 2018. But when you see the passionate intensity with which these kids play the game, you can forget about all that…at least for the month of March. As of April 1st we can discuss these fools.

This past weekend has to be defined by one game and one game only: Virginia getting absolutely annihilated by UMBC. In what may go down as not only one of the greatest upsets in NCAA history, but maybe in all of sports history, the Retrievers turned us all into #believers, if only for 48 hours. There were so many subplots to this story but the one that I can't get over: the Retrievers' star guard Jarius Lyles' parents are Virginia alumni. If that doesn't make you believe in Sporting Gods I don't know what will. Unfortunately, the Cinderella dream was all too brief, but that can't take away what these kids accomplished here: history, plain and simple.

The downfall of the number one seeds was the trend of the weekend. Virginia and Xavier were embarrassed, while Kansas needed a hell of a lot of help to sneak by Seton Hall. The only number one seed that's playing the part are those Wildcats out of Villanova. They crushed Radford by 26 to open their tournament and then, after a somewhat troublesome first half against Alabama, relied on their junior guard Mikal Bridges to end up on top by 23. Villanova looks like the team to beat.

But forget about the number one seeds; this is March Madness and that means one thing: where oh where is Cinderella? Well, the glass slippers have a southern twist this season as the South Region made NCAA history by not having one top four seed in the Sweet Sixteen. That's right, the South is down to a fifth seed, seventh seed, ninth seed and eleventh seed. Personally, I'm going to take a risk and ride with the eleventh-ranked Loyola-Chicago given the fact that they have played and beaten the best teams thus far.

Now, there is one glaring gap left in this weekend review and I would be remiss if I didn't mention the Duke Blue Devils out of the Atlantic Coast Conference. The ACC came into this tournament with several legitimate contenders and now only one remains. Duke has looked untouchable thus far after absolutely dismantling Iona and Rhode Island. That being said, a lot of experts have given Syracuse a damn good shot to take them out. I'm not quite a believer, yet. After all these upsets, you've got to figure that we'll eventually regress back to the mean and the good teams will end up in the Final Four. That being said, who knows with this year's tournament?

The Sweet Sixteen is set. The Final Four is on the horizon. Every single bracket out there has been blown to smithereens (show me a time-stamped perfect bracket and I'll scrounge up a cool million for you myself, Nostradamus). Good luck, amigos.