What do you remember about the 2016 Men’s NCAA Tournament? Do you recall anything other than the title game?
Villanova beat North Carolina, 77-74, in the greatest final two minutes of any national title game in the tournament’s history.
What’s his name from North Carolina hit one of the most amazing shots ever to tie the game at 74 with 4.7 seconds to play. It would have been replayed in highlight reels until time ends if it had been a game winner.
Instead, Kris Jenkins with an assist by Ryan Arcidiacono nailed a 3 to win Villanova its second title. Rollie Massimino cried in the stands. (See video above. Massimino coached ‘Nova in 1985 when he and Ed Pinkney led it to its first title.)
The first week of last year’s tournament was pretty spectacular. There were upsets. There were Cinderellas. There were buzzer beaters. There were players never heard of before who cemented their places in lore.
There were some great first round upsets last year. Such as, Yale beat Baylor, Stephen F. Austin knocked off West Virginia, and my favorite, Middle Tennessee beat Michigan State.
MTSU is back this year as a 12-seed and I think no one wants the Blue Raiders. Richard Pitino and Minnesota is the mark this year. There are always 12s that beat 5s in the first round. The best bet for that to happen this week is this game. Actually, I can see all four 12s winning. UNC-Wilmington, Princeton and Nevada could break brackets.
With my bracket, I took each game one at a time. This led to Duke, Notre Dame, North Carolina and Louisville in the Final Four. I picked the Blue Devils to beat the Tar Heels in the title game.
I hit on Duke winning basically by a process of elimination. I don’t believe Villanova will repeat and I don’t have faith in Gonzaga as a No. 1 seed. Really, I don’t like my bracket.
If Notre Dame does not slip against Princeton in the first round, I think the West Region bracket sets up well for the Irish.
In the East Region, where ‘Nova is No. 1, I think that bracket is good to Duke. I do like the potential for SMU to be a spoiler.
In the Midwest Region, Louisville has a team that could be perfect for winning in the tournament. That being said, Michigan, the Cards possible second-round opponent, seems to be a team destined to stun fans.
North Carolina and Kentucky should be in the South Region final.
In the end, I think the Tar Heels have the best team, but I just can’t bet against Duke in the title game.
James Brown is digital director for Commonwealth Broadcasting. He spent 20 years covering high school sports in Kentucky and Mississippi. You can listen to his show Brown Sports Bag on ESPN 1230 AM in Glasgow at 4 p.m. each Monday. He is joined by veteran basketball coach John Butler. Follow him on Twitter @JbrownESPNKY.